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the arctic

In all we do, we seek inspiration and example. We look for and see in others, qualities and skills we admire and respect. We draw on and try to emulate the work ethic and humility shown by a few both near and far. Some we will never meet, some we'll encounter on a daily basis, and some we hope to cross paths with in the future. We stand on our own two feet, often by standing on the shoulders of others.


Dr. John Rae

1813 - 1893

Orcadian John Rae, fur trader, explorer, surgeon, author. Rae was an expert doctor and outdoorsman known for surveying parts of the Canadian Arctic while searching for the missing link in the first navigable Northwest Passage. Rae stood out from his contemporaries in his openness toward establishing stable relationships with and learning survival techniques from the Inuit residing in the areas he explored.

Hall of Clestrain. Oil painting by Orcadian artist Marion Yorston.
Catching up on the trail. Photo:Eric Brossier.
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Knud Rasmussen

1879 - 1933

Inuit Elders, guides and friends

Danish-Inuit explorer and ethnologist, born in Jakobshavn (Ilulissat) Greenland. In the course of completing the longest dog-sledge journey to that time, across the American Arctic, made a scientific study of virtually every Indigenous group in that vast region.


A personal thank you to all the Inuit Elders, guides and friends who have been my teachers and travel companions for so many years. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, wisdom and for your (endless) patience! I travel with appreciation and gratitude.

People talk and write about exploring and explorers. What does it mean “to explore”, to “be an explorer”? There is no correct, or easy, answer. In their own inimitable way, the Indigenous people of the North are the original inhabitants and explorers of the region. They led, others followed.

Site of the Thule Trading Station. Thule district in North West Greenland.
At the floe-edge with a bowhead whale. Photo: Milena Piel
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"Ice Elder"
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