We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.
|Tour Provider||Bunnik Tours|
|Number of Days||
Private, Small Marine/Cruise
|07 Aug 2020||18 Aug 2020||Fully Booked||AUD $6,395|
We recommend extra nights pre/post tour
This trip commences in the historic port of Louisbourg (Cape Breton). Access is via Sydney (Nova Scotia). We recommend you arrive in either Sydney or Louisbourg at least one day prior to the voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays. There are group transfers from Sydney to Louisbourg (approx. 45 minutes) on the day of embarkation.
Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our adventure begins in Sydney, Nova Scotia. We transfer to the historic port town of Louisbourg. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We board the ship in the late afternoon and sail out past the lighthouse, across the Gulf of St Lawrence towards Newfoundland, Labrador and eventually - Greenland.[D]
This morning we are anchored off the tiny fishing community of Trout River, the access point into Gros Morne National Park. Our zodiacs take us ashore and we are transferred by bus for visit to the World Heritage-listed Tablelands. This incredible location is noted for its unique geology and exceptional scenery. Here, the Earth’s mantle is exposed on the surface – pushed up over millions of years by the movement of tectonic plates. We explore the boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows and may encounter the iconic moose as we explore the park. Continuing north through the park we enjoy a visit to the Discovery Centre, before arriving at Woody Point located in majestic Bonne Bay. We meet the ship here, re-boarding in the afternoon and continue our voyage northwards. [B,L,D]
Today tells a story a thousand years in the making. We board the zodiacs for a short cruise to the rocky shoreline. A millennium ago, Viking long-ships would have been found along this same beach. L’Anse aux Meadows is one of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is where Norseman, Leif Erikson, (son of Eric the Red) - is thought to have founded “Vinland” around 1000 AD. As we explore the reconstructed sod huts and Norse ruins with the site’s resident archaeologist, we see evidence that the Vikings discovered North America some five hundred years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. This evening we leave the coastline of Newfoundland, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle overnight. [B,L,D]
Overnight, we have arrived along a historic stretch of coastline, named the Wonderstrands. The location appears in the Viking saga of Eric the Red – which calls the location ‘furdustrandir’ - the Wonder Strands. Other than one rocky promontory, the beach is almost 50km long – a rarity on the famously rocky east coast of Canada. There are some excellent hiking options along the shoreline and hinterland while Zodiac cruising and exploring in the sea kayaks provides additional means of discovering the area. Resident wildlife includes black bear and timberwolf – it is not uncommon to see their paw prints when walking on shore. Puffin, razorbill, guillemot and gannets are also local inhabitants. [B,L,D]
The ancient rocks of the Canadian Shield (the exposed portion of the Earth’s crust) cradle the small coastal hamlet of Hopedale. This remarkable geological feature, estimated to be up to 4-billion-years-old greet us as we sail through narrow channels and weigh anchor off Hopedale. We venture ashore by zodiac to visit the Hopedale Moravian Mission – built in 1782 and said to be the oldest building east of Quebec. It’s a fascinating place and we learn of the influence of the early Moravian missionaries on the Inuit people of Northern Labrador. This location has been designated a Canadian National Historic Site. We plan a visit to the local museum for a deeper insight. The local Inuit produce wonderful carvings and other crafts which make wonderful souvenirs. [B,L,D]
As we sail into Saglek Fjord, we arrive at the southern gateway to the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve. The park covers almost 10,000 square kilometres of Northern Labrador. It is bordered by Quebec on one side, and the Labrador Coast on the other. It is home to Canada’s highest mountains East of the Rockies, and features breathtaking fjords, remnant glacial systems and stunning landscapes. The Inuktitut word Torngat, means “place of spirits” and the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for over 7500 years. This place represents a deeply spiritual connection for the Inuit. Polar bears hunt seals along the coast, and both the Torngat Mountains and George River caribou herds cross paths as they migrate to and from their calving grounds. Inuit continue to use this area for hunting, fishing, and travelling throughout the park during the year. There are some terrific hiking opportunities here explore the area on foot and along the shoreline in the zodiacs. Wildflowers are spectacular when in bloom and bears feast on local berries found among the sedges and grasses on the raised beaches along the shores of the fjords. [B,L,D]
Nachvak Fjord is exceptionally beautiful. The fjord is deep and narrow and stretches more than 20 kilometres. The rocky walls of the fjord soar almost 900 meters above us at several points. Many species migrate through the area during the short boreal summer. Numerous seal species may be encountered including ring, hooded, harp and harbour seals. Minke whales have been known to linger in the fjords, while larger species, including fin and humpback, tend to stay offshore. This is an outstanding location for landscape photography with endless subjects, a dynamic colour range interesting lighting. [B,L,D]
As we reach the far northern stretches of coastal Labrador, we learn of the remarkable events at Martin Bay. Here a German U-boat made the only known armed landing in North America during WWII. In 1943, U-537 sat at anchor here, while the crew man-handled ashore and established an automated weather station. This station remained undiscovered until the late 1970’s when a German historian came across a reference to it in the German naval archives. The equipment was collected by the Canadian Coast Guard in the early 1980’s and is on permanent display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Later in the day, we visit the Button Islands before sailing into southern Davis Strait. Named after Thomas Button who explored the area in 1612, the islands are in the middle of the upwelling of nutrients on the edge of the continental shelf. This action makes it a magnet for thousands of seabirds and other marine mammals. [B,L,D]
We awaken to the vast expanse of the Davis Strait, which separates Canada from Greenland. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. This is an important migration corridor for birds and whales and we keep our eyes out for signs of wildlife from the outer decks. Large icebergs of all shapes drift on the currents of the Davis Strait. These icebergs calve from the large glaciers that tumble down off the Greenland icecap and out into Baffin Bay, where they drift on the currents. Be sure to visit the ship’s bridge and watch the Captain and officers navigate our modern expedition ship. Enjoy the wonderful facilities onboard the ship, spend time with the photography guide or relax with a book or your journal. [B,L,D]
Nuuk is the small capital of Greenland, and home to a population of around 18,000 - almost a third of the entire population of the country. Built overlooking a beautiful fjord, the city was founded in 1728 by the Danes and today many historic buildings can be seen around town. The small city is a fascinating blend of both the historic and contemporary. TheNational Museum of Greenland is located right by the harbour and is home to a fascinating collection of artefacts, traditional costumes and textiles and other items including traditional boats, kayaks and dog sleds. Cafes and restaurants showcase local cuisine and there is even an emerging craft beer scene to discover. Nuuk is easily explored on foot and there will be plenty of options for you to choose from today. [B,L,D]
By morning we have navigated north and into one of the longest fjords on the planet. At the head of the fjord sits the town of Kangerlussuaq – a key outpost on the west coast of Greenland. An exciting day lies ahead as experienced guides take us to view and experience the vast expanse of the Greenland Icecap. Covering roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland the ice sheet measures approximately 1.7 million square kilometres. It’s the second largest ice mass on Earth after Antarctica. Our trip takes us through fabulous scenery and there’s a good chance of seeing musk ox, reindeer and local birdlife. Our guides will take us walking on the actual icecap itself, which is a major thrill. We return to the ship and tonight our chefs have prepared a special farewell dinner attended by the Captain of the ship. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate and reflect on a memorable journey. [B,L,D]
This morning we farewell our expedition team and make our way to the airport. A special charter flight returns us to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa where our journey comes to an end. A transfer is also provided from the airport to a downtown location for those staying on. [B]
Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship. Please ask us if you have any questions about this program.