Fly to Edmonton and overnight at your included hotel. (D)
This morning fly to Kugluktuk, a traditional fishing hamlet and the most westerly community in the territory of Nunavut, where you will embark National Geographic Explorer and begin your Northwest Passage expedition cruise. (B,L,D)
The Northwest Passage: the legendary sea passage of the North American continent, representing centuries of effort to find a trade route from the Atlantic Ocean through the Arctic archipelago over the top of Canada. One of the world’s greatest maritime challenges, the route is located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The ultimate ice ship, National Geographic Explorer, follows nature’s path, dependent on ice and weather conditions.
Explore the ice-choked channels and glacier-carved islands that stretch for hundreds of miles—a stunning display of raw geology. Your crew takes their cues from nature: following wildlife, stopping for hikes on the tundra, and dropping anchor in a beautiful fjord or an iceberg-strewn bay to kayak or explore by Zodiac. You may encounter ringed seals, arctic foxes, musk oxen, walruses and polar bears, as well as beluga and bowhead whales, and perhaps even the rare narwhal. Learn about the Inuit peoples who have hunted and fished here for thousands of years. And hear heroic stories of the early explorers: Roald Amundsen, John Ross, William Edward Parry, and James Clark Ross among others. (B,L,D)
All eyes are on the Bridge as the Captain and his officers study the satellite ice imagery to decide whether ice conditions allow you to go south or north around Baffin Island. A narrow passage, filled with islands and clogged with ice even during the summer months which has made it impassable for most ships — the Fury and Hecla Strait is your quest.
The strait is named after the two ships of Sir William Edward Parry, who spent many years searching for the Northwest Passage. If conditions are right and you are able to navigate this exciting passage, then spend the following days exploring the islands of the Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait via ship, Zodiac, kayak and hikes ashore. Wildlife and excitement are plentiful.
If the Fury and Hecla Strait is impassable, sail to the north of Baffin Island, very familiar waters to your expedition vessel, filled with whales, birds and polar bears. The landscape is equally as stunning with great places to hike, kayak or Zodiac cruise, as well as plenty of late-season ice still to be found clinging reliably to parts of the eastern shore of Baffin Island. (B,L,D)
Voyage south along the coast, stopping at scenic Ikkudliayuk Fjord. At Hebron, see examples of Germanic mission architecture at the Moravian Mission, established in the 1830s. Pass through Mugford Tickle, flanked by the 4,000-foot Kaumajet Mountains. Continue to the fishing village of Battle Harbour and visit its 18th-century whaling buildings. (B,L,D)
In 1960, the remains of a Viking village established in the 11th century were discovered at L’Anse aux Meadows, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Walk among the Norse ruins and reconstructed sod huts and learn the saga of the Vikings in North America — nearly 500 years before Columbus arrived. (B,L,D)
Graced by cliffs, fjords, and a sweeping alpine plateau, Gros Morne National Park has been designated a World Heritage site for its spectacular geology. Take a walk with your geologist to learn about the forces that shaped this land and the ancient serpentine rock that illustrates the phenomenon of plate tectonics. Continue to Western Brook Pond, a pristine, glacier-carved fjord. (B,L,D)
A cluster of wispy islands isolated in the gulf of St. Lawrence, the Iles de la Madeleine are home to miles of dunes, grassy hills, and red sandstone cliffs. Local experts guide you across this landscape of caves and sea arches, while visiting colorful fishing villages and learning about Acadian culture. Weather permitting, set off to explore on a bike or in a sea kayak. (B,L,D)
Disembark at Saint Pierre Island, France’s oldest remaining overseas territory. Board our complimentary private charter flight to St. John’s. Continue on independently for homeward flights. (B)