The first High Arctic Explorer (July 31- August 11, 2020) follows the itinerary below.
The second High Arctic Explorer (August 11- August 22, 2020) will run in reverse.
DAY 1: KANGERLUSSUAQ, GL
Kangerlussuaq is a former US Air Force base and Greenland’s primary flight hub. Here we will be transferred by Zodiac to the Ocean Endeavour.
With 168 kilometres of superb scenery, Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world. We begin our adventure by sailing down this dramatic fjord, crossing the Arctic Circle, southbound as we go.
DAY 2: SISIMIUT COAST
West Greenland’s complex coastal waterways include glaciers, islands and fjords against a towering mountain backdrop. The waters are relatively warm here, due to the West Greenland Current and the sub-Arctic location.
People have lived in the Sisimiut area for 4,500 years. For the first 2,000 years, the people of the Saqqaq culture occupied the area. 2,500 years ago, new people brought the Dorset culture to the Sisimiut area. They lived here for 1,500 years and were followed by the people of the Thule culture—the ancestors of the current population. All these cultures came from Canada. The people primarily lived on fish, birds and mammals such as whales and seals.
DAY 3: ILULISSAT
Ilulissat translates literally into “iceberg”, an apt name for this site at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord—a unesco World Heritage Site. The icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, source of many of the icebergs in the North Atlantic.
Here, we will cruise in our fleet of Zodiacs to appreciate the icebergs. We will also visit the town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbour.
Day 4: Western Greenland
Greenland’s west coast is simply stunning. From mighty mountains to the tiniest tundra flowers, our stop in this area will offer many outstanding features of interest. Hikers, walkers, photographers, and contemplators will all be equally delighted.
Day 5: At Sea — Davis Strait
Our onboard presentation series will continue as we steam across Davis Strait towards Canada. This is an excellent time to enjoy workshops, watch a documentary, and get out on deck
looking for whales, seabirds and marine wildlife.
Day 6: Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
Mittimatalik is a busy Arctic community in a beautiful setting. The views of nearby Bylot Island are stunning. We will have a chance to explore the town. The cultural presentation at the Community Hall is not to be missed—arts and crafts may be available here, too.
Day 7–10: Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) & Devon Island
We will spend four days exploring Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), one of Canada's newest National Marine Conservation Areas. Narwhal, beluga, and bowhead whales transit and feed in this area. We’ll cruise by ship and Zodiac in search of wildlife.
On the northern border of Tallurutiup Imanga lies Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth at over fifty thousand square kilometres. The island’s geology is stunning. Flat topped mountains, glacial valleys, and a substantial ice cap give Devon Island its unique character.
We’ll visit a number of the bays – hiking the tundra, discovering the botany, cruising a glacier face, and wildlife spotting from ship and from shore. Once home to Inuit and their ancestors, we will visit archaeological sites with expert interpretation to learn about the human history of this now abandoned island. We’ll also catch a glimpse of recent human history as we visit the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Hudson's Bay Company site at Dundas Harbour.
DAY 11: BEECHEY ISLAND
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out from England with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, attempting to sail through the Northwest Passage. Franklin’s crew overwintered at Beechey Island where three of his men died.
Numerous search parties later used Beechey as a depot and rendezvous. Amundsen, Bernier, and Larsen all visited Beechey. Thomas Morgan of HMS Investigator was buried there in 1854 alongside Franklin’s men. The graves, and the ruins of nearby Northumberland House, are a haunting memorial.
DAY 12: QAUSUITTUQ (RESOLUTE), NU
Qausuittuq, or “place with no dawn,” is named for its dark winters. During our time in the summer months we will experience the midnight sun, a time of no darkness.
The end of our journey is characterized by shoreline gravel flats, rocky coastal bluffs and deposits of glacial moraine. More significant is the origin of the hamlet. In 1953, Inuit from from Inukjuak, Québec, and Mittimatalik were relocated, under false pretenses, by the Canadian government with the aim of asserting Canadian sovereignty.
Today the community is home to just under 250 people and is an important staging point for High Arctic research, tourism, and military activities.
Here we will disembark the Ocean Endeavour, and take the charter flight to Ottawa, ON.