Embark in Kangerlusauq, GreenlandKangerlussuaq, the start of our voyage, is appropriately named. The word means 'The Big Fjord' in Greenlandic, which aptly describes the amazing feature found here - a fjord measuring 168km long!
Sisimiut, GreenlandThe 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.
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 the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord on Zodiac. The Icefjord is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the most active and fastest moving in the world.
Karrat Fjord, Greenland
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.
Melville Bay/Upernavik Fjord
*2015-Continue your travels westward to Melville Bay. Details about this port call are forthcoming.
*2016- Today explore historic Upernavik and the magnificent fjord located right by the town. Upernavik or "the spring place" is populated by 1,100 people, most of whom make their living in the fishing industry; thus, a few small fish processing plants line the harbor. Part of the population relies on polar bear hunting and sealing.
Upernavik's location on the small island facing the open sea makes Upernavik unusual in comparison with other Greenlandic towns. Its location on the side of a hill provides a fantastic view of the Davis Strait.
Kap YorkThe 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.
Smith SoundSpend 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. Only 48-72km wide and 88km long, Smith Sound is often packed with ice and provides favorable conditions for wildlife viewing.
Aujuittuq (Grise Fjord)Aujuittuq means "place that never thaws." That's apt for this peaceful hamlet, 1,150km above the Arctic Circle - Canada's northernmost civilian community. We'll 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.
Coburg IslandAt 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.
At Dundas Harbour, 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, take a Zodiac cruise though this scenic bay and marvel at icebergs, freshly calved from the glacier at the head of the bay.
Beechey IslandIn 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. Come explore this infamous site and pay homage to the temerity of past explorers.
Bathurst IslandGood 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.
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.'
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.
Banks IslandHome to two thirds of the world's population of lesser snow geese, two federal Migratory Bird Sanctuaries were founded in 1961. Arctic mammals are also abundant here, as muskoxen number around 40,000. And, incredibly, the first grizzly-polar bear hybrid found in the wild was sighted on Banks Island in April 2006 near Sachs Harbor!
Prince of Wales Strait
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.
Ulukhaktok (Holman)The large bluff that overlooks Ulukhaktok was the source that provided the slate and copper used to make ulus and give the community its name. 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. Over the years they have managed to attract players from the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Eskimos, as well as golfers from other countries.
Disembark in Kugluktuk (Coppermine)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. Disembark here and spend time exploring on your own or transfer to the airport to continue your homeward journey.