Canada C3 – Overview of an epic expedition

Canada C3 – Overview of an epic expedition

c3thumb.jpgFor those who don’t know, I’m off on an epic sailing/learning adventure up above the Arctic Circle, around the Coast of Alaska called Canada C3. This blog post is to give a bit more context on what I’m doing!

What is Canada C3?

The Canada C3 project ( is a Canada 150 initiative. It has a ship called the “Polar Prince”. It consists of a 150-day sailing voyage around Canada from Toronto to Victoria, through the Canadian North. The journey is divided into 15 legs, and each leg has different participants. The voyage’s purpose is to explore what is Canada, and to look at some important themes and to grow as a country. Those themes are climate change, reconciliation with our indigenous people, inclusion, and youth.Very important topics indeed.


Leg 12 – The “Long Way”

I was very fortunate to be on  “Leg 12 – Tuktoyoktuk (NWT) to Prince Rupert (BC) / sail around Alaska”. This leg is nicknamed the “Long Way” as it’s by far the longest leg (21 days vs average 7-8 days for other legs), and the name “Long Way” references the long way we have to go build the Canada we want to build (more on that on another day)

The Physical and the Internal Journey

I would like to describe “my” journey in some blog posts. I’m using author James Raffan’s concepts of the two complimentary journeys that occur in any expedition: the physical journey and the internal journey. Much like Luke Skywalker had his physical journey (flying with Han in the Millenium Falcon, destroying death star, meeting yoga etc.), these things led to an important “internal” journey, that led his transformation from a small farmer’s boy on Tatooine to the legendary Jedi.

Physical Journey: The Sea Adventure

Our physical journey is an epic sea adventure. We are sailing around Alaska, going to places that were only far off places on a map – Tuktoyoktuk, Beaufort Sea, Bering Strait, Nome. We are all very aware t

hat there are very few people that will ever get the opportunity to do what we’re doing… EVER! And that’s very cool.

The sea journey is generally comprised of 4 epic components: 1 – The ship; 2- The sea; 3 – The crew; 4- The Ports of Call.

Physical journey – Part 1 – the Ship

The ship – although an “inanimate object” – is always referred to as a “she”, as though she has a life of her own. There is

 always a strong emotional bond between humans and these metallic objects. This relationship is a very close and intimate one. She becomes “our girl”. She is in charge of our lives, and as well, need to take care of her. The ship itself offers so many lessons, intrigue, and points of interest. What interests and fascinates me is how she runs; what happens behind the scenes daily; the engineering; the use of space (nooks and crannies!); the navigation & controls; the interplay between below deck and above deck and between all 6 levels of the ship.  The elements of the ship are interesting in and of themselves, and how the ship runs offers so many metaphors and lessons. I simply love it. This is one component.

Physical journey – Part 2 – the Sea

When you’re out in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by water on all sides, the only word that comes to mind is “masterpiece”. Think Renaissance painters, or the most expert painter you can imagine. The only thing is that it’s not a static painting, but a dyn

amic, ever-changing and flowing one. The sea has no shortage of awe-inspiring elements to it. It’s no wonder there are so many sea stories, as the ocean can be a calming force and also a destructive one. The sea is every changing, each day, each hour offering a new combination of water, waves, wind, wonders. As examples, 3 days ago, before supper, we came across an estimated 4-5 whales as we saw spout after spout pop up and tails whipping behind. We ooo’d and ahhh’d at the majestic-ness of these formidable animals. Another example is our first day at sea from Yukon to Alaska, as waves were crashing off the bow of the ship and splashing in spectacular fashion giving us an astounding spectacle. And the list goes on!


al journey – Part 3 – The Crew

In life, most of would say the most important thing is people. IMO, life is life when there are other people to experience it with. The crew is an integral part of the seabound adventure. And what a crew we have! They are broken down into 3 groups 1 – the Professional crew (they run the ship – captain, engineer, mates, sailors etc.); 2 – The Canada C3 organizing team (expedition planning, customs, comms, etc.) and 3 – the participants (Canadians of many walks of life). In total we have 52 people. Everyone is passionate, knowledgeable and personable. I am truly thankful to be part of this crew. So it is with this crew that the experiences above are made special.

Physical journey – Part 4- The Ports of Call

It’s interesting. We often think ONLY of the ports of call when looking at the expedition. As you can see, it’s only 25% of the experience. That being said, the ports of call are amazing, unique, exclusive and fascinating. We are going to places that most people rarely go (Hershel Island, Point Hope, Nome, Unalaska) and I’ve seen some amazing places, people and things that I did even fathom existed! This aspect is obviously amazing and complements well the sea life.

So that’s short overview of the “physical” components of a journey! I hope to write a bit more on some of these elements, and describe perhaps some elements of the accompanying “internal” journey! Please feel free to ask questions, (reply to the post on FB, or comment on WordPress).

Also, it is my plan to have a Canada C3 “Facebook LIve” event on my return, somewhere in Charlottetown, let me know if you have questions/comments about that.

Hope you are all well!

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