Northwest Passage - West to East

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Thursday, August 28, 2014 - Thursday, September 11, 2014
Cam Gillies
Pierre Richard

Voyage from Greenland through the Northwest Passage!

The quest for a northern sea route to Asia obsessed Europeans for centuries. Long after its discovery, the ice-choked waters of the Northwest Passage forbade all but the hardiest navigators. Today the Northwest Passage remains a legendary route that few have the privilege of traveling.

Consider this modern-day voyage of exploration across the top of the world. Beginning in Kugluktuk, at the mouth of the Coppermine River, we'll journey into legend in contemporary comfort aboard the Sea Adventurer.

In Taloyoak, formerly known as Spence Bay, we trace the routes of the explorers, including the famed John Ross expeditions of the 1830s that pinpointed the Magnetic North Pole. At Beechey Island we'll visit the graves of members of the lost Franklin Expedition. On Devon Island, we'll find the Dundas Harbour RCMP historical site and scan the horizon for narwhal and walrus. 

We'll look for whales and polar bears on our passage through Bellot Strait. Crossing Baffin Bay towards Greenland, we'll cruise among icebergs at the Ilulissat Icefjord. Join us in tracing one warm line through a history both tragic and inspiring; a story of courage, determination, and epic endurance!



• Travel the route that obsessed explorers for centuries
• Enjoy the legendary hospitality of vibrant Inuit communities
• Find and photograph the wild creatures of the Arctic wilderness
• Experience the Arctic with our expert artists, lecturers and hosts
• Visit the historic graves of the ill fated Franklin Expedition
• Visit the largest uninhabited island on earth during our stop at Devon Island

Day 1 - Kugluktuk (Coppermine)

Located at the mouth of the Coppermine river to southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the western most community in Nunavut. Originally named Coppermine, it was renamed Kugluktuk according to its Inuinnaqtun name 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. 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.

Day 2 - Coronation Gulf

Separating Canada’s mainland the Arctic archipelago is the Coronation Gulf. Named by Sir John Franklin in honour of coronation of King George IV, the Gulf receives the Coppermine, Tree, Rae and Richardson rivers. It is host to several hundred islands and small islets.

Day 3 - Kent Peninsula

Expedition Day.

Day 4 - Queen Maude Gulf

The Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary contains the largest variety of geese of any nesting area in North America. The Sanctuary is one of the few nesting areas for both the Atlantic Brant (Brant bernicla hrota) and Pacific Brant (Branta bernicla nigricans). Almost the entire population of Ross' Goose (Chen rossii) nests here. The Gulf was named by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen in 1905 for Maud of Wales, the Queen of Norway. The Ahiak Caribou calve along the Queen Maud Gulf coast in Nunavut and spend the summers here. Here we may also find bald eagles, muskox and grizzly bears.

Day 5 - Gjoa Haven

In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen, while looking for the Northwest Passage, sailed through the James Ross Strait and stopped at a natural harbour on the island's south coast. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903-04 and 1904-05. There he learned Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. He used his ship Gjøa as a base for explorations in the summer of 1904, sledding the Boothia Peninsula and travelling to the magnetic North Pole. Amundsen finally left, after 22 months on the island, in August 1905. The harbour where he lived is now the island's only settlement, Gjøa Haven, which he called 'the finest little harbour in the world.' Today the population has blossomed from 110 in 1961 to 1,064 in 2006.

Day 6 - Taloyoak

The community of Taloyoak is the northernmost community on the Canadian mainland with a population of just over 800. The word Taloyoak means "large caribou blind" in Inuktitut, and refers to a stone caribou blind traditionally used by Inuit of the area to corral and harvest caribou. The foundation of the modern community began in 1948, when poor ice conditions forced the Hudson's Bay Co. to close its trading post at Fort Ross on the south coast of Somerset Island, some 250 kilometres north of Taloyoak. The post was relocated to its present location at Stanners Harbour, and Taloyoak - then known as Spence Bay - was born.

Day 7 - Bellot Strait

Bellot Strait marks the first meeting of the Atlantic and Pacific tides north of Magellan Strait. Suprisingly, 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.

Day 8 - Somerset & Beechey Islands

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. Such is the interest in this story, the Canadian government recently announced a new initiative to locate the missing Franklin vessels.

Day 9 - Devon Island

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 we find the lonely remains of an RCMP station dating from the 1920s. We have also spotted walrus, polar bear, muskox and caribou here. At nearby Croker Bay, we have a chance to Zodiac cruise through this scenic bay and marvel at icebergs, freshly calved from the glacier at the head of the bay.

Day 10 - Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)

We will sail through Milne Inlet, a narwhal breeding ground, enroute to Pond Inlet. This bustling Arctic community is surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the Eastern Arctic. We will have a chance to explore the town, as well as take in a cultural presentation at the Nattinnak Centre.

Day 11 - Karrat Fjord

In Karrat Fjord we will cruise one of Greenland's most spectacular fjords. 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 give us good opportunities to see colonies of dovekies. Time spent on deck today should result in some good wildlife sightings, not to mention unbeatable photographic opportunities.

Day 12 - Uummannaq

Despite being situated in the shadow of a mountain, Uummannaq is the sunniest place in Greenland! It is an impressive and imposing 1,175-metre hunk of red gneiss called Uummannaq Mountain. This mountain serves as the town's backdrop on which colourful, single-family homes desperately cling, anchored by cables and pipes. The famous Greenlandic mummies dating from the 15th century were found on the shore opposite Ummannaq.

Day 13 - Ilulissat

Venturing 250km north of the Arctic Circle we find the stunning coastal community of Ilulissat. Ilulissat translates literally into "iceberg", and there couldn't be a more fitting name. Our visit will include time in the colourful town and a chance to hike out to an elevated viewpoint where we can observe the great fields of ice. We will also cruise in our fleet of zodiacs in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord. The Icefjord is where we find the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the most active and fastest moving in the world at 19m per day and calving more than 35 square kilometers of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years.

Day 14 - Sisimiut

The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, myriad islands and complex coastal waterways. We will be making an expedition stop here to explore the Greenlandic landscape.

Day 15 - Kangerlussuaq (Sondre Stromfjord)

Lying at the head of the longest fjord in western Greenland, Kangerlussuaq has one of the most stable climates in the region though temperatures can range from -50C in the winter to as high as 28C in summer. Kangerlussuaq, which means 'The Big Fjord' in Greenlandic, is appropriately named, as it's 168km long!

Dates: August 28-September 11, 2014

Duration: 15 days

Vessel: The Sea Adventurer

Price: $7,295-$16,995 USD

Tour Starts: Kugluktuk

Tour Ends: Kangerlussuaq

Your Voyage Includes:

*All entry & park fees

*Your complete itinerary

*Team of resource specialists

*Educational program and pre-departure materials

*All shipboard meals

*All Zodiac excursions

*Service charges and port fees

Your Voyage does not Include:

*Commercial flights

*Mandatory medical / evacuation insurance

*Personal expenses

*Additional expenses in the event of delays or Itinerary changes

*Discretionary gratuities to ship's crew (approximately $10 - 14 per passenger per day)

*Visas, or inoculations, if required

*Physician's fees confirming you are fit to travel

*Possible fuel surcharges

*$250 Discovery Fund Fee


Category Amenities
Price (USD)
1 Quad Lower Forward, 2 upper 2 lower berth, porthole window. $7,295
2 Triple Lower Deck, 1 upper 2 lower berths, porthole window. $8,795
3 Junior Double, two lower berths, porthole window. $10,295
4 Double, two lower berths, midship, porthole window. $10,995
5 Main Double, two lower berths, porthole window. $12,595
6 Deluxe Double, two lower berths, midship, porthole window. $13,295
7 Superior Double, two lower berths, picture window. $14,495
8 Junior Suite, two lower berths, sitting area, picture window. $14,995
9 Suite, two lower berths, sitting area, picture window. $15,995
10 Owner's Suite, two lower berths, shower & bathtub, picture window. $16,995
All Discovery Fund Fee $250












Our small ship cruising programs allow you to experience the best of the natural world, while enjoying the comforts of our friendly floating hotel.  The ship generally makes crossing between islands at night, so every morning you awake to new vistas and discoveries.  Every day we offer a combination of interesting shore excursions and fun shipboard activities.  You can choose which elements of the program you want to participate in.  

Our excurions onshore will involve a relatively low level of exertion, but you will need a reasonable level of mobility to get up and down the gangway and climb into and out of Zodiacs (with assistance).  Some of our shore landings will be 'wet', requiring waterproof boots.  Once you have left the zodiac, you'll find our shore excursions accommodate both those who wish to enjoy a gentle stroll and those who prefer more active hikes.  Our onboard specialists will join us on these shore excurions to provide interpretation and narration to these wonderful landscapes and experiences.  

Each evening we will gather in the lounge to recount the days events and share memorable stories.  Our onboard musician will provide some lively entertainment during happy hour and the expedition leader will outline the following days's schedule.  Our resource staff of naturalists, historians, and other guest  speakers will give informative talks at various times throughout the voyage.  

Meals in the ship's dining room are a great opportunity to meet new firends and recount the day's adventures. Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice.  Safety is also a top priority with Eagle-Eye Tours – our team has extensive experience in the field, and all of our Voyages are run in conjunction with operators with the highest safety standards.

When the ship is underway, it is a wonderful time to join a naturalist on deck, take photos of the stunning scenery, or get caught up on some reading in the library.

We know that everyone travels for different reasons.  Over the years, however, we have found one common element among the guest who choose to travel with us - a thirst of knowledge and authentic experience.  Knowing this drives us to ensure the highest quality learning experience on our trips, by taking time to carefully design each trip we offer.  


Previous checklists from our Arctic Voyages:

2011 Arctic Voyage (pdf)
2008 Arctic Voyage
2006 Arctic Voyage (pdf)
2005 Arctic Voyage (pdf)


The Sea Adventurer Specifications Deck and Cabin Plan

Capacity: 118 guests

Registry: Bahamas

Overall length: 90m (295 feet)

The 122-passenger Adventurer, among the very few vessels in the world specifically constructed for expedition voyages to the far reaches of this remote land. Her ice-strengthened hull permits her to glide easily and safely through ice-strewn waters that are not accessible to conventional cruise vessels.

She has advanced communications and navigation equipment, and newly installed, state-of-the-art Sperry Gyrofin stabilizers. In 1998 the Adventurer had a $13 million conversion done in Scandinavia. She is a handsome expedition vessel, done in the style of great ocean liners when ships were ships. With lots of varnished wood, brass, and wooden decks, the ship has all new outside cabins, with lower beds and private facilities.

There is a Main Lounge, bar, Clipper Club, library/card room, gymnasium, sauna, gift shop, and beauty salon. American staff serves American and Continental cuisine. The ship has a fleet of 10 Zodiacs and a special loading platform. An ice class rating of A-1 allows the Clipper Adventurer to go to places larger cruise ships can only dream of, and she does it in comfort and style unsurpassed by other vessels her size.

Cabins: All cabins have a window with outside view. Each has private facilities and climate controls.