Arrive in Resolute Bay today and embark the Ocean Endeavour in the early afternoon before setting sail. If you choose to take the optional charter flights the flight departs Ottawa (Ontario) in the early morning so we suggest you book one night pre-trip accommodation to ensure you do not miss the flight.
On Beechey Island we delve deep into Arctic exploration history where in 1845 an expedition of 129 men, led by Sir John Franklin, sailed two ships into the Wellington Channel. Not a soul returned from the fateful expedition and it was two years before search parties were launched. Aside from the bodies of three souls buried here, no other clues were found to explain the fate of the rest of the British party until very recently. In 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage, reigniting interest in this fabled region.
Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on earth and comprises over fifty
thousand square kilometres. It was first sighted by Europeans in 1616, though it was not settled for another three hundred years with the arrival of the Hudson's Bay Company. Because of its high elevation and extreme climate, Devon Island supports only a meager population of musk ox as well as some small birds and mammals. The Island is also known for the presence of the Haughton impact crater, created some 39 million years ago by a two-kilometre wide meteorite.
We will spend the day exploring the ocean wilderness of Lancaster Sound, which is a proposed Marine Protected Area. Large populations of marine mammals, including narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales transit and feed in this area. There is a great selection of landing sites available, depending on weather, wildlife, and sea conditions.
Today will be an expedition day in the truest sense as we navigate the waterways surrounding Northern Baffin Island. Wildlife will be on our minds the region is habitat for thick-billed murres and kittiwakes, among other seabirds. Baffin's mountains are striking, affording stunning perspectives on geological processes. Weather, ice, and opportunity will determine our route, and our team will be on deck for the duration, searching for wildlife and contextualizing the mighty landscape through which we travel.
Mittimatalik or Pond Inlet is a bustling Arctic community 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. The waters of Mittimatalik are renowned for wildlife viewing opportunities, including sightings of the elusive narwhal.
Our presentation series will continue as we steam across Davis Strait towards Greenland. While out on deck, keep your eyes peeled for minke and humpback whales amid potential pack ice, as well as the seabirds that are sure to mark our passage.
Today we will cruise one of Greenland's most spectacular fjords, Karat Fjord. During ice breakup, narwhals and seals use the long leads created by high winds in this region to hunt the rich waters. The cliffs within the fjord should give us good opportunities to see colonies of Dovekies. Spending some time on deck today should result in some good wildlife sightings, not to mention unbeatable photographic opportunities.
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 cling, anchored by cables and pipes.
Sailing 250km north of the Arctic Circle we find the stunning coastal community of Ilulissat. Translating literally into 'iceberg, Ilulissat could not be more appropriately named. We will include time in the colourful town and a have an opportunity 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 and, because of its relative ease of accessibility, has significantly added to the understanding of ice-cap glaciology, climate change and related geomorphic processes.
Warmed by the West Greenland current, the waters around Sisimiut are free of sea ice, making the area an important fishing and shipping centre as well as a habitat for marine mammals. The fish market and folk museum in Sisimuit offer an opportunity to experience modern, and historic Greenland side by side.
Our trip concludes today in Kangerlussuaq. Meaning 'The Big Fjord' in Greenlandic, the town is appropriately named, with the fjord covering 168km in length. It lies at the head of the longest fjord in western Greenland, and 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. If you choose to take the optional charter flights the flight departs Kangerlussuaq bound for Toronto (Ontario) in the early evening. We suggest you book overnight accommodation in Toronto.