- 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Winding your way around the remote islands of the Canadian High Arctic aboard Ultramarine, you’ll navigate the same icy inlets, channels and bays that fascinated legendary explorers of long ago as they searched for the fabled Northwest Passage, the great sea route at the top of the world.
Wildlife sightings are almost guaranteed, as many of the areas you hope to explore are home to a surprising number of birds and mammals that thrive in this challenging environment. You’ll likely see polar bears, muskoxen and several bird species, such as gyrfalcons and dovekies (little auks). If you’re lucky, you may even spot the elusive narwhal or arctic wolf, though sightings of these iconic creatures in the wild are rare, even in places where we have the highest chances of encountering them.
Coburg Island, for instance, is a wildlife reserve for such birds as snowy owls and peregrine falcons, while the impressive vertical cliffs of Prince Leopold Island are dotted with nesting seabirds like northern fulmars and black guillemots. The sheltered shores and steep cliffs of Arctic Bay, a hamlet located off of Admiralty Inlet, provide an ideal nesting habitat for various High Arctic birds such as snow geese, thick-billed murres (Brünnich’s guillemots) and kittiwakes.
Devon Island is another possible locale for wildlife encounters, as walrus, polar bears and muskoxen inhabit the area, which is also the location of the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost, established at Dundas Harbour in 1924 to curb foreign whaling and other activities. Nearby is a small cemetery, one of Canada’s most northerly, still maintained by the RCMP to this day. Another exciting excursion your Expedition Team might offer, conditions permitting, is the opportunity to fly up to explore the Devon ice cap, one of the largest in the Canadian Arctic.
At the western end of Devon Island, windswept Beechey Island might be small, but it’s steeped in history, as its flat beach and safe anchorage made a suitable stopover for Arctic expeditions. You’ll want to pay your respects to the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845–46 at the small marked graves of three crew members on the island, one of Canada’s most significant Arctic sites.
History buffs will be further intrigued by the chance to explore an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at Fort Ross, at the southern end of Somerset Island.
Nearby is the Bellot Strait. One of the goals of this expedition is to transit this famous channel, one of the most narrow and challenging of the passage. If we’re successful, at the midpoint you’ll sail past Zenith Point, the northernmost point of continental North America.
Those looking for even more excitement may have the opportunity to cruise by Zodiac along the face of an active glacier near Croker Bay, Devon Island and possibly even witness the wonders of calving ice, at a safe distance.