Goddess of the sea

COGS grad selected for all-female expedition to snorkel 3,000 km Northwest Passage

Goddess of the sea

Kitrina Godding snorkels in Frobisher Bay as part of a training exercise in advance of the Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay. (Photo Credit: JoAnn Wilkins)

“Kitrina was selected to join the Sedna Epic because she’s determined and decisive. Her geological background and the marine mapping skills she acquired at COGS, will enable us to map the sea floor during the Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay, providing insights to ocean change in the Arctic.” ~ Susan R. Eaton, Leader, Sedna Epic Expedition

Fast Fact

The 2014-2018 Sedna Epic Expedition is a snorkel relay that will take 100 days to complete during the summers of 2018 and 2019. It will begin in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, and continue 3,000 kilometers to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Team Sedna will conduct oceanographic studies and deliver a variety of ocean outreach activities in communities along the route, documenting the impacts of global warming on the arctic ecosystem and on aboriginal peoples’ traditional ways of life.

When you set a goal to do something never before attempted, such as snorkeling all 3,000 kilometres of the frigid Northwest Passage, you want to have a strong team in place to succeed. Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) graduate Kitrina Godding can count an Emmy Award winner, one of Canada’s top modern-day explorers, two Women Divers Hall of Fame inductees and the first Canadian woman to climb the world’s Seven Summits on her team.

The all-female Sedna Epic Expedition Team—named in honour of the Inuit goddess of the ocean—is training, fundraising and preparing for the Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay, which will take place during the summers of 2018 and 2019. The team’s goal is to bring global attention to the Arctic’s disappearing sea ice and to document the impacts of ocean change. During the relay, Team Sedna will also deliver hands-on experiential ocean outreach in Inuit communities to empower young girls and women to tackle societal change and climate change in the north.

“There was a time when ships couldn’t sail the Northwest Passage because it was solidly blocked by ice,” says Kitrina, who specialized in Marine Geomatics at COGS. “Now we can swim it.”

Kitrina explains that due to it being a traditionally matriarchal society, Inuit men hunted and women led. "These girls will one day become leaders in their communities. Most of them had never been immersed in the ocean. We wanted to introduce them to snorkeling, exposing them to what’s happening in the ocean.” 

Diving in

In anticipation of the Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay, which will unfold during the summers of 2018 and 2019, Kitrina and the rest of Team Sedna have undertaken extensive training, fundraising and preparation work.

“This is a multi-million-dollar undertaking,” explains Kitrina. “We’re looking to inspire real change, and need to ensure that we are safe and prepared for the challenges we’ll face.”

Not your typical “ice-breaking” exercise, Kitrina’s first introduction to Team Sedna was participating in the Big5Dive this past summer—a world-record-setting plunge into the Great Lakes to celebrate Women’s Dive Day.

“That was an experience I’ll never forget,” says Kitrina who, along with other Team Sedna members, traveled to Michigan to dive five historic sites and shipwrecks in each of the Great Lakes, in under 24 hours.

Inspiring young women

A week later, Kitrina and the other newly-minted world-record holders travelled to Iqaluit, Nunavut, to join the rest of their teammates and conduct a much smaller, trial version of the planned Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay—testing equipment, conducting dives and monitoring sea life.

During the trial run, the Team Sedna delivered ocean outreach in Iqaluit, an Inuit community on Baffin Island. Joining forces with two Inuit advisors, they also selected 10 young women from the community to join the expedition and participate in a variety of activities including snorkeling and delivering ocean outreach to other youth.

Through their Aquariums and Robots Outreach Program, the sea women connected with several hundred Inuit youth, parents and community Elders. While the Sedna Team invited participants to engage with marine life through touch tanks and constructing underwater robots, Inuit Elders taught participants the Inuktitut names of the animals and shared Inuit legends.

“The dynamics of our planet are changing,” says Kitrina. “Through this mission we are introducing youth, girls and young women to careers in the ocean—in the sciences, the arts and exploration. These Inuit want to make a difference in their communities—to protect their culture and way of life. In turn, we are being given the chance to also learn so much from them.”

Kitrina says that working alongside the other women of the mission has been a rewarding experience: “These women, all of them, are incredibly accomplished and yet so humble. They have done things that most people couldn’t dream of and they’re sharing these experiences with the Inuit girls and young women—they’re role models for what the girls can become.”

19/10/16

“Kitrina was selected to join the Sedna Epic because she’s determined and decisive. Her geological background and the marine mapping skills she acquired at COGS, will enable us to map the sea floor during the Northwest Passage Snorkel Relay, providing insights to ocean change in the Arctic.” ~ Susan R. Eaton, Leader, Sedna Epic Expedition

Fast Fact

The 2014-2018 Sedna Epic Expedition is a snorkel relay that will take 100 days to complete during the summers of 2018 and 2019. It will begin in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, and continue 3,000 kilometers to Inuvik, Northwest Territories. Team Sedna will conduct oceanographic studies and deliver a variety of ocean outreach activities in communities along the route, documenting the impacts of global warming on the arctic ecosystem and on aboriginal peoples’ traditional ways of life.

Comments

Submitted comments are approved by the moderators of NSCCNow.