Arctic Whale Survey Expedition Members

Arctic Whale Survey Expedition Members

Christopher Debicki is expedition leader and Nunavut projects director for Oceans North Canada. Before joining Oceans North Canada in 2009, he was executive director of Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik, a legal aid clinic in Nunavut, for five years. In 2007, he collaborated with the Nansen Institute in Norway to do oceanographic research in Greenland and sailed through the Northwest Passage as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on Inuit communities. He received his law degree from McGill University and also studied at the University of Manitoba, the University of Cape Town and Jagiellonian University in Poland. He lives in Winnipeg and is working on the creation of a national marine conservation area in Lancaster Sound.

Kristin Westdal is a biologist specializing in Arctic marine mammals who recently joined the Oceans North Canada staff. Between 2001 and 2005, she ran a kayaking operation in Hudson Bay that offered close encounters with beluga whales. She has worked extensively in Canada’s eastern Arctic researching narwhal, beluga and killer whales and has a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Manitoba. She lives in Winnipeg.

Outi Tervo is a Ph.D. candidate in marine biology at the University of Copenhagen. She has worked in Greenland for the last six years conducting research on the acoustic behaviour of bowhead whales and is former scientific leader of Arctic Station in Qeqertarsuaq, Greenland.

Alex Ootoowak is from Pond Inlet, Nunavut. He is an experienced hunter and diesel mechanic. Ootoowak is respected for his survival skills and ingenuity, including repairing the a-arm (front suspension) of a snow machine by lashing in a caribou fibula to replace the broken steel rod.

Knut Espen Solberg is the captain of the vessel. A polar researcher and adventurer, Solberg spent three years in the Northwest Passage and overwintered aboard a 42-foot sailboat in Admiralty Inlet. This journey cemented his reputation as one of Norway's greatest sailors and expedition leaders. He has been conducting Arctic research expeditions with his company Fotspor ever since.

Hans Martin Halvorsen is a crew member. He is a professional sailor and sail-maker by trade. He has extensive experience in racing and cruising, holding medals from national and international championships. He has spent several seasons in the Arctic and traveled more than 2,000 nautical miles in a 6.5 meter vessel in Northern Greenland and the Canadian Arctic.

Also on board: A two-member documentary film crew from Arcadia, a television production company based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

States of Innovation