Arrive in Kugluktuk, located at the mouth of the Coppermine River on the Coronation Gulf. Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut and the perfect place to begin your journey - because the tundra is close to the tree line, a variety of wildlife can be viewed in the area, including grizzly bears, wolverines and moose, as well as tundra wildlife, such as muskoxen, caribou, foxes and wolves. Set sail heading east.
The eighth largest island in the world, Victoria Island is found on the border between Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The main community to be found here is Cambridge Bay, with a population of just over 1,000. Depending on conditions, you crew may decide to stop at the community or make an outdoor expedition stop.
In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen sailed through the James Ross Strait and stopped at a natural harbor on the island's south coast while looking for the Northwest Passage. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903-04 and 1904-05 here, meanwhile learning Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. The harbor where he lived is now the island's only settlement, Gjøa Haven, which he called "the finest little harbor in the world." Today the population has blossomed from 110 in 1961 to 1,064 in 2006.
Bellot Strait marks the first meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific tides north of Magellan Strait. Surprisingly, the strait was missed by John Ross and wasn't discovered until 1852 by William Kennedy, who named the strait after his second-in-command, Joseph-Rene Bellot.
Fort Ross is an uninhabited former trading post in the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. Founded in 1937, it was the last trading post to be established by the Hudson's Bay Company. Situated on the Bellot Strait at the southeastern end of Somerset Island, it was operational for only eleven years as the severe ice conditions rendered it uneconomical and difficult to access. The former store was recently refurbished and strengthened, and is still used as a shelter by Inuit caribou hunters from Taloyoak, and as a refuge for researchers and small boat travelers passing through.
The tall cliffs of Prince Leopold Island are one of the top bird sites in the High Arctic both during the breeding and summering seasons. It is a breeding site for thick-billed murre, black-legged kittiwake, Northern fulmar, glaucous gull, and black guillemot.
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. Visit the island and pay homage to the temerity of these early explorers.
As the largest uninhabited island in the world, Devon Island supports significant concentrations of wildlife, including 26 species of seabirds and 11 species of marine mammals. At Dundas Harbor, you can find the lonely remains of an RCMP station dating from the 1920s. Walrus, polar bear, muskox and caribou have also been spotted here. At nearby Croker Bay, enjoy a Zodiac cruise though this scenic bay and marvel at icebergs, freshly calved from the glacier at the head of the bay.
Aujuittuq means 'place that never thaws.' That's apt for this peaceful hamlet, 1,150km above the Arctic Circle - Canada's northernmost civilian community. You are sure to be welcomed by the population of about 165 souls. Your activities here center on the school where you have a chance to meet members of the community and learn about their way of life.
Spend a day exploring north as the ship ventures into this fabled body of water that once served as the main route for explorers and adventurers searching for the North Pole. Only 48-72km wide and 88km long, Smith Sound is often packed with ice and provides favorable conditions for wildlife viewing.
Artistic talent runs high in this northern community. Visitors are often in search of the distinct art pieces that are created here. One of the hardest places to reach in the Arctic, it is easiest to visit by ship. Not only is it the northernmost civilian habitation on Earth, Qaanaaq is also the most northern palindrome on the planet! A well-appointed store offers outstanding hand-carved jewellery and art pieces.
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.
Melville Bay is a large bay off the coast of northwestern Greenland. Located to the north of the Upernavik Archipelago, it opens to the southwest into Baffin Bay. Its Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) name, Qimusseriarsuaq, means "the great dog sledding place."
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 also 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.
Venturing 250km north of the Arctic Circle leads one to the stunning coastal community of Ilulissat. Ilulissat translates literally to "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 we can observe the great fields of ice. Explore the the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as you cruise around by Zodiac. The Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier located here is one of the most active and fastest moving in the world and has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.
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.
Arrive in Kangerlussauq, which lies at the head of the longest fjord in western Greenland. Stay to explore the beautiful area on your own or transfer to the airport to continue your homeward journey.
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|Round-Trip Charter Flight: $2,395 per person|
Discovery Fee: $250