Kangerlussuaq, the start of your voyage, is appropriately named. The word means 'The Big Fjord' in Greenlandic, which aptly describes the amazing feature found here, Sondre Stromfjord, measuring 168km long!
The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, myriad islands, and complex coastal waterways. Make an expedition stop here to explore the Greenlandic landscape. This is a day in the true spirit of expedition travel.
Venturing 250km north of the Arctic Circle, one finds the stunning coastal community of Ilulissat. Ilulissat translates literally into "iceberg," and there couldn't be a more fitting name.
Your visit includes time in the colorful town and a chance to hike out to an elevated viewpoint where you can observe the great fields of ice. You also have the chance to cruise in Zodiacs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The Icefjord is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the most active and fastest moving in the world at nineteen meters per day and calving more than thirty-five square kilometers of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.
Cruise one of Greenland's most spectacular fjords: Karrat Fjord. During ice breakup, narwhals and seals use the long leads created by high winds in this region to hunt the rich waters of the fjord.
The cliffs within the fjord should offer good opportunities to see colonies of dovekies. Time spent on deck today likely results in some good wildlife sightings, not to mention unbeatable photographic opportunities of the majestic rock faces.
To the north of the Upernavik Archipelago, Melville Bay opens to the southwest into Baffin Bay. Its Kalaallisut name, Qimusseriarsuaq, means “the great dog sledding place”. Ice does not clear from the bay each summer and it is totally isolated and uninhabited. Because of local winds and extensive ice, Melville Bay is the site of dramatic landscape views.
The rugged coastal environment at Kap York is rich in wildlife and is part of an extensive network of traditional hunting grounds. During the spring and summer months the skies and cliffs are dotted with millions of birds, primarily auks and murres. This district boasts the largest seabird population in northwest Greenland. Hike the tundra landscape and enjoy your own magnificent vistas.
Spend a day exploring as the ship ventures north into this fabled body of water that once served as the main route for explorers and adventurers seeking the North Pole. Adolphus Greely, Sir George Nares, and Elisha Kent Kane all traveled these waters with varying degrees of success. The Sound was named by William Baffin after Sir Thomas Smythe, promoter of voyages to find a Northwest Passage. Only 48-72km wide and 88km long, Smith Sound is often packed with ice and provides favorable conditions for wildlife viewing.
Aujuittuq means "place that never thaws." That's apt for this peaceful hamlet, 1,150km above the Arctic Circle - Canada's northernmost civilian community. Be welcomed by the population of about 165 souls. Activities here center on the school where you have a chance to meet members of the community and learn about their way of life.
At the entrance to Jones Sound is Coburg Island, whose spectacular seabird cliffs are a designated National Wildlife Area. Thirty-thousand pairs of black-legged kittiwakes and 160,000 pairs of thick-billed murres crowd the rocky ledges on this island almost completely covered by an ice cap.
The largest uninhabited island in the world supports significant concentrations of wildlife, including 26 species of seabirds and 11 species of marine mammals. It was first sighted by Europeans in 1616, though it was not inhabited for another three hundred years with the arrival of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The island’s geology consists of reddish Precambrian gneiss and Paeleozoic siltstones and shales; these, combined with its harsh climate, have drawn comparisons with the planet Mars.
In 1845 Sir John Franklin took his expedition of 129 men in two ships into the Wellington Channel. Not a soul returned from the fateful expedition. It was two years before search parties were launched. Aside from the bodies of three souls buried here, only relics were found as clues to the disappearance. Until recently, the three graves had left no indication as to the fate of the rest of the British party. In the autumn of 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage, a discovery that has re-galvanized interest in the fabled region.
Good soil conditions and a rare wetland environment produce abundant vegetation here, making Bathurst a major calving area for the endangered Peary caribou. Here, too, find Polar Bear Pass National Wildlife Area, a migratory route for polar bears from March to November. The north half of the island is the proposed Tuktusiuqvialuk National Park.
There is a long human history on the island, with evidence of Dorset and Thule habitation as early as 2000 BC. Before there were any permanent buildings at Bathurst Inlet, the area was home to the Kingaunmiut, the “people of Nose Mountain”. They constructed stone tent rings, meat caches, fox traps and drying racks, as well as hunting hides (taluit) and inuksuit (stone figures, “in the likeness of a man”). Few explorers reached this area—the first Franklin Expedition (1819–1821) came into Bathurst Inlet in the summer of 1821, travelling by large birchbark canoes, mapping the Arctic coast and seeking the Northwest Passage. They were also seeking the local Inuit but found no one; everyone had gone inland for the summer. Your morning excursion to Arctic Sound is at the northern reaches of Bathurst Inlet.
Melville Island was first visited by British explorer Sir William Parry in 1819. Not only did he discover the island - ice forced him to spend the winter in 1820 at what is now called 'Winter Harbor.' The island is named for Robert Dundas, second Viscount Melville, who was First Sea Lord at the time.
Melville Island is one of two major breeding grounds for a small sea goose, the Western High Arctic brant. DNA analysis and field observations suggest that these birds may be distinct from other brant stocks. Numbering only 4,000-8,000 birds, this is one of the rarest goose stocks in the world.
In 1820, Sir William Parry named Banks Island in honour of British naturalist and botanist Sir Joseph Banks. Two federal Migratory Bird Sanctuaries were founded here in 1961. The island is home to two thirds of the world’s population of lesser snow geese, and also supports barren-ground caribou, polar bears, and birds like robins and swallows. The first grizzly-polar bear hybrid found in the wild was sighted here in April 2006, near Sachs Harbour. Musk ox, numbering over 40,000, are the most striking of the abundant wildlife on the island.
Prince of Wales Strait is part of the Arctic Ocean, extending northeastward for 275 km from the Amundsen Gulf to Viscount Melville Sound and separating Banks and Victoria islands. It was discovered in 1850 by Robert McClure, the Irish explorer, who came within sight of the Viscount Melville Sound before heavy ice forced him to turn back.
It was named after Albert Edward, then the Prince of Wales. It was not navigated until the RCMP patrol of Sgt Larsen in 1944. It has since become the preferred route of large vessels making the passage.
Found on the west side of Victoria Island, The Hudson’s Bay Company post was opened at Prince Albert Sound in 1923, moved to Walker Bay in 1928 and finally to Ulukhaktok (Holman) in 1939. The large bluff that overlooks Ulukhaktok was the source that provided the slate and copper used to make ulus—traditional Inuit knives—and gives the community its name. Printmaking is popular in Ulukhaktok, as are beautifully intricate pieces carved from the horns of the abundant local musk ox population. The musk oxen also provide the community with qiviut, one of the warmest and most luxurious fibers in the world, used to make all manner of clothing and coverings. Ulukhaktok is also the location of the most northern golf course in the Americas and hosts the "Billy Joss Open Celebrity Golf Tournament" every summer.
Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River to the southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the western most community in Nunavut. Coppermine reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—Kugluktuk, meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1st, 1996. The Coppermine River itself is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Copper deposits along the river attracted the first explorers to the area. Disembark here and make your way to the airport to meet your charter flight home.
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|Discovery Fee: $250|
|Discovery Fee: $250|