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Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears.

Pathways to Franklin

Example 10 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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This voyage appeals to both lovers of wildlife and the dramatic history of early polar exploration. Trace the routes of the early explorers who sailed – and perished – in these waters as they sought a way through the fabled Northwest Passage. Your itinerary includes a visit to one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the world, and you enjoy frequent sightings of seals as well as beluga whale. The mythical narwhal inhabits these waters, and you can also hope to encounter polar bears at special locations that have been discovered over the years.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Resolute
Day 2 : Beechey Island | Prince Leopold Island
Day 3 : Somerset Island: Fury Beach
Day 4 : Somerset Island: Fort Ross
Day 5 : Conningham Bay
Day 6 : Cruising south
Day 7 : Pasely Bay
Day 8 : Peel Sound
Day 9 : Aston Bay
Day 10 : Disembark in Resolute


  • Discover the mystery of Franklin's ill-fated Northwest Passage voyage
  • Observe one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Canadian Arctic
  • Land at historic sites such as Fury Beach and Fort Ross
  • Venture into Conningham Bay, one of the best places to see polar bears


Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Take a zodiac tour to see polar bears. Ice Bridge near Baffin Island Remains of early Arctic exploration on Baffin Island Walking through vast arctic landscapes. Inuit woman

Day 1 Embark in Resolute

Depart Edmonton on your charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which was trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip made it a strategic outpost during the Cold War. On arrival, meet your expedition team and prepare for your zodiac ride to the ship. After a welcome cocktail, weigh anchor and depart Resolute in the early evening.

Day 2 Beechey Island | Prince Leopold Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Beechey Island holds great historic importance in the story of the Northwest Passage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a vital role in the discovery by carrying underwater search equipment on their ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries, and sponsors. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling location for history buffs. Through the afternoon sail across Barrow Strait and approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. This is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars, and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic zodiac cruising. The sea ice around Prince Leopold Island is a great place for spotting ringed seals - and wherever you find ringed seals, you usually find polar bears.

Day 3 Somerset Island: Fury Beach

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Overnight sail south into Prince Regent Inlet and wake up along the southeastern shore of Somerset Island. The objective is to go ashore at Fury Beach, named after the HMS Fury, a Royal Navy sloop used in two Arctic expeditions by Commander Edward Parry. During her second expedition, she was damaged in the ice while overwintering and abandoned here in 1825. Her stores were unloaded on the beach and left as a future supply depot for future Royal Navy expeditions into the Arctic.

Day 4 Somerset Island: Fort Ross

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Continuing to the southern end of Prince Regent Inlet, find the historic site of Fort Ross on Somerset Island. A former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost, fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors. A transit of Bellot Strait is a thrilling experience as the currents roar through this narrow channel. You are now in the heart of the Northwest Passage. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for numerous marine mammal species including harp seals, bearded seals, and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain and Officers and capabilities of the ship becomes apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation.

Day 5 Conningham Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cross the Franklin Strait and arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales Island. This is a known hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on beluga whales, often caught in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy looking polar bears!

Day 6 Cruising south

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Pushing further to the south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus in September 2014, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait, are just coming to life thanks to the ongoing efforts of Parks Canada’s marine archaeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition. On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of metal, cutlery, buttons, and a skeleton here and there tell a story of a desperate race south in the hope of a rescue that never came. Aim to travel very near the location of the wreck of HMS Erebus.

Day 7 Pasely Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Pasely Bay on the Boothia Peninsula is another fascinating historic location. The RCMP vessel St. Roch spent a winter here in 1942 frozen into the sea ice. The ship was the first Canadian vessel to ever transit the Northwest Passage. One of the ship’s crew passed away while in this location and was buried by shipmates along the shoreline.

Day 8 Peel Sound

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Track northwards through the Franklin Strait and into Peel Sound. The area is known for its heavy sea ice concentrations, and is only open to vessel navigation for a short period each year. The high ice-rating of your expedition ship means that it is well equipped to take on the challenges of this route through the heart of the Northwest Passage. Franklin sailed his two expedition ships through Peel Sound in the summer of 1846 before becoming beset in the ice.

Day 9 Aston Bay

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
An exciting last day is planned in Aston Bay. A deep inlet of Peel Sound, this location often features heavy concentrations of ice and is a known hotspot for wildlife activity. Explore in the zodiacs and aim to make a shore landing searching for wildlife. This evening, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and the chance to reflect on what has been a superb 10 days of exploration in this pristine Arctic wilderness.

Day 10 Disembark in Resolute

  • 1 Breakfast
By morning, anchor in Resolute. Make your way ashore by zodiac and bid farewell to your crew. A charter flight returns you to Edmonton where your journey comes to an end.

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
Main Deck Triple Cabins
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Triple Share
Deck 3. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day) and one upper berth. Shared facilities, in cabin washbasin, writing desk/chair, ample storage, and two portholes.
Twin Semi Private Cabins
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Twin Semi-Private
Deck 4. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage. Facilities are semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
Twin Private Cabins
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Twin Private
Deck 3, 4 and 5. Two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), a writing desk/chair, bookshelf and tall wardrobes with internal shelving storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have a window that can be opened.
The Superior Cabins.
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Deck 3. Two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair and ample storage. Facilities are private and all cabins have portholes that can be opened.
Shackleton Suites
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 4 & 5. One double bed, one sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities. Large window that can be opened.
One Ocean Suite
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 5. One double bed, one sofa bed & separate sleeping quarters, up-graded bedding, a writing desk/chair, IPod alarm clock, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, mini bar. Private facilities with tub. Windows overlooking the bow.


- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

This itinerary includes:
  • Extensive pre-departure information package
  • Onboard Information Folder
  • Educational presentations from experienced guides such as ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammals experts
  • Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer. Extended photography workshops available on select departures
  • All zodiac and landing excursions
  • Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
  • All meals during the voyage prepared by One Ocean Expeditions chefs
  • Welcome reception & welcome dinner
  • One Ocean Expeditions Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
  • Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
  • Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
  • Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
  • Natural essential oil amenities
  • Services of English speaking medical officer
  • Use of multimedia room to download images. Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers
  • Windproof / waterproof jacket and bib pants
  • Comfortable insulated rubber boots
  • Water resistant binoculars
  • Waterproof backpack
  • Trekking poles available on shore
  • Transfers from/ to designated meeting points to/from the ship
  • Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
This itinerary does not include:
  • 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • International and national airfares
  • Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
  • Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival / departure cities
  • Meals & transfers in arrival / departure cities
  • Personal expenses
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Massages from registered therapist
  • Personal laundry charges
  • Postage, telephone calls & email set up
  • Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
  • Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
  • Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
  • Gratuities to staff and crew

* This voyage operates domestically within Canada and is subject to a compulsory 5% goods and services tax (GST).
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).
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