Join us in the Canadian High Arctic to travel the Northwest Passage!
Travelling between Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit this 12-night celebratory voyage departing on 25 August 2014 will retrace the deep-sea route followed by the RCMP vesselSt Roch, when the ship completed the first-ever transit of the legendary Northwest Passage in only one season. 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the transit commanded by Corporal Henry Larsen and we are honoured that Corporal Larsen's daughter, Doreen Larsen Riedel, will join us for this historic journey.
Along with the anniversary celebrations passengers can expect to be truly inundated and overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of marine mammals, polar bears and birdlife that appear during the voyage. They will literally ‘feel the history’ when we stop at the atmospheric Beechey Island, where the Franklin expedition over-wintered before disappearing forever; traces of the courageous men and their unsuccessful rescuers remain. Remote local communities, such as Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, will introduce passengers to both the modern and ancient aspects of the Inuit culture with opportunities to check out the local Inuit carvings, jewellery and other crafts available to buy from the local artisans.
13-day Arctic cruise with options for hiking and kayaking.
- Cruise above the Arctic circle from Greenland to Nunavut exploring the fascinating bays and inlets of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
- Trace the history of the explorers on their quest to find a shipping trade route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
- Opportunities to view massive icebergs, whales, seals, polar bears, walrus, musk oxen, and a variety of Arctic bird species.
- Visit a number of Inuit communities and explore their land on foot and by kayak.
Duration: 13 days Start Location: Edmonton End Location: NunavutDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Edmonton - Cambridge Bay
Charter flight from Edmonton, Alberta to Cambridge Bay to board the ship.
Day 2 : Victory Point, King William Island
Little is known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait, have left no trace. An abandoned lifeboat, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue - a rescue that never occurred. We visit Victory Point and continue to reflect on the quest for exploration that opened up the Arctic, while sacrificing some of its bravest explorers.
Day 3 : Prince of Wales Island
Marking the western shoreline of Peel Sound, the coastline of Prince of Wales Island is broken by numerous bays and coves. As we explore this region, we drop anchor in one or two of these bays and launch the zodiacs. A hike on the tundra, wildlife watching and photography will all be part of the attraction to this area as we learn about the history and wildlife of the area and the very important role that the culture played in both.
Day 4 : Bellot Strait and Fort Ross
We attempt the passage of the Bellot Strait entering at slack water, if possible, in order to avoid a current that can be more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an ample food source for marine mammals and we will keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears as we sail through. On exiting the strait, we will stop at Fort Ross, on the southern tip of Somerset Island. Fort Ross is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. Ancient archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation at this site by the Inuit and their predecessors.
Day 5 : Prince Leopold Island and Beechey Island
As we sail North out of Prince Regent Inlet, we pass by the incredible cliffs of Prince Leopold Island. A migratory bird sanctuary, Prince Leopold Island is home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and blacklegged kittiwakes. Totaling several hundred thousand birds Prince Leopold Island is one of the most important bird sanctuaries in the Canadian Arctic. Bird life will be on the wane here as we approach the end of the Arctic summer however we will keep our eyes open for the late season inhabitants of this colony.
We continue North across Barrow Strait on our way to the 75th North parallel and Beechey Island. Beechey Island holds great importance in our quest to complete the Northwest Passage. It is here that Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions that finished the charting of Canada’s northern archipelago. Roald Amundsen stopped at Beechey Island during the first successful complete transit of the Northwest Passage almost sixty years later.
Day 6 : Lancaster Sound and Devon Island
Lancaster Sound is in many ways the wildlife ‘super-highway’ of the Arctic. A massive outlet for water from the high Arctic archipelago, there is a mixing of water here that is rich in nutrients. Coupled with areas of open water for much of the year, Lancaster Sound is home to a diversity and concentration of wildlife that can be staggering, especially given the sparseness of the region. Our stops along the shore of Lancaster Sound will depend very much on ice conditions and weather.
Day 7 : Pond Inlet
We will visit the town of Pond Inlet and make our base at the Natinnak Centre, where a spectacular cultural exhibit will be the background of a display put on for us by the Elders and youth of Pond Inlet. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other local craft will be available to purchase from the local artisans. We will take time to meet the children of Pond Inlet and marvel at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate the challenges of the Inuit Games.
Days 8 - 10 : Fjords of Baffin Island
Almost unknown to outsiders, the fjords of Northeast Baffin are startling for their stark beauty. Sheer cliffs rising hundreds of metres out of the ocean, deep fjords piercing tens of miles inland and hanging glaciers plunging down into the water. An early morning ship cruise, a mid-morning paddle or zodiac cruise and a late afternoon hike will all be on offer depending on the conditions and our progress along the coast of Baffin Island.
By this time of the season, the Baffin Bay middle ice has all but disappeared however as it melts it recedes onto the East coast of central Baffin Island. We search for the remaining ice and the wildlife life that is present on this ice. Spotting scopes and binoculars will be trained ashore as we search for polar bear. The low light of sunrise is perfect for helping to spot the faint blow of a narwhal. Our expert guides and naturalists help you search for and identify the wildlife as we go.
Day 11 : Pangnirtung, Nunavut
A small town of approximately 1300 residents on the South coast of Pangnirtung fjord, Pangnirtung (or Pang as it is commonly known) is located on a coastal plain on the border of Auyuitiuq National Park. A gateway to this crown jewel of Canada’s northern parks, Pangnirtung is also known for its carving and weaving. A visit to Pangnirtung will include the Auyuitiuq National Park office and interpretation centre as well as the weaving studio and art gallery.
Day 12 : Monumental Island
A cliff towering from the ocean, Monumental Island is host to numerous bird species and is known to be an excellent place to spot both the gyrfalcon and the Peregrine falcon. From time to time, walrus have been known to haul out here in great numbers and we will keep our eyes peeled as we approach in the hope that we experience the sight and smell of a large haul out.
Day 13 : Iqaluit, Nunavut
We drop anchor off the beach in Iqaluit and make our way ashore by zodiac. Depending on flight times, we may have a chance to explore the capital of Nunavut before making our way to the airport.
DATES: Best time to go: August Departures: Aug 25, 2014 - Sep 6, 2014
(All prices are per person in US$):
$7,795 (Triple cabin shared bath)
$695 Sea Kayaking Option (space is limited -- must be reserved at time of booking)
Designed for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
Enjoy the sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team in our dining room, which can host all clients in a single seating with ample room.
Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way. The following guides may lead this trip:
Aaron Lawton developed the Polar program for One Ocean Expeditions (our partner in the Polar Regions), bringing a strong commitment to conservation in the Polar Regions to his work in operations development. An avid paddler, Aaron has been paddling or rowing some form of human-powered boat for most of his life. His experience encompasses wilderness guiding and instruction by canoe and sea kayak, varsity rowing and most recently a passion for Hawaiian-style outrigger canoe racing. Thousands of miles on the water have given him an appreciation and awareness for the subtle changes in the ocean due to local weather and global climate patterns. Aaron is truly Canadian having lived in the mountains of the Yukon Territory, among the wheat fields of Manitoba, in the orchards of Southern Ontario and along the briny coast of Nova Scotia, all by the ripe old age of twelve. Continuing this passion for new places, Aaron has worked in the outdoor industry on six of the seven continents. Over the last decade, Aaron has been expedition leader or kayak guide on about a hundred trips to the Canadian Arctic, the Antarctic Peninsula and Svalbard. In 2001, Aaron and his wife Cathy embarked on a 10-night unassisted sea kayak expedition along the Antarctic Peninsula. Aaron holds a degree in forestry from the University of British Columbia. This has led to a real appreciation for and understanding of ecology and the connectivity of ecosystems.
Andrew is the Managing Director of One Ocean Expeditions Inc. (our partner in the Polar Regions) and brings his passion for polar regions and their conservation into any discussion he can. An adventurer in his own right, Andrew is an accomplished ocean racing sailor. He led a team that won a race across the Atlantic Ocean in a 30-foot sailboat; he has sailed around Cape Horn in a Southern Ocean gale and competitively raced yachts and high performance dinghies all over the world. Andrew is also a published photographer and an avid snowboarder, spending his quiet time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Andrew grew up on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada and has brought his East Coast sense of humor with him all along the way. After earning a degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, he played a strategic planning role for a major Canadian player in the transportation industry. With around five years in the corporate world under his belt but searching for a life of meaning, Andrew decided to "run away to sea". What started as a three-month commitment to manage a ship transformed itself into a very successful entrepreneurial career in expedition cruising where he could apply his experience and his passion. With a reputation for innovation and attention to detail, Andrew has become well known in the expedition cruise industry for the high quality expedition cruise programs he develops. He is also noted for his attention to vital areas of safety and his commitment to environmental protection.