Northwest Passage

Follow the paths of Frobisher, Baffin and Franklin; explorers who sought the elusive Northwest Passage

Day 1: We fly from Ottawa to Nanisivik on Baffin's Borden Peninsula. Upon our arrival, we will be welcomed aboard by our Captain and crew before setting sail towards Prince Leopold Island.

Day 2&3: We'll take a Zodiac cruise along Prince Leopold Island's bird cliffs, which are home to thousands of thick-billed murres, kitiwakes, and glaucus gulls. Ice conditions permitting, we'll call at Beechey Island, an important historical site. Our naturalists will take you on a tour of the graves that mark the first winter camp of the doomed Franklin expedition. The 1845 expedition, headed by Sir John Franklin, was searching for the elusive Northwest Passage. All 132 men died after their ships were trapped in the ice. Lead poisoning from tinned rations is now believed to have been a factor in their deaths.

Day 4: From the Barrow Strait, we'll cruise east through Lancaster Sound. This evening we cruise the scenic Navy Board Inlet.

Day 5: We will start the day with an early morning Zodiac cruise in Milne Inlet, breeding grounds of the Narwahl. In the afternoon we'll visit Pond Inlet, famous for its soapstone carvings and other crafts. From here we hike to the Thule site at Salmon River. The Thule (pronounced Too-lee) built their houses in deep pits with rock slab floors, walls of piled boulders, and rafters of whalebone (most likely covered with animal hides). The Thule culture ended when extremely cold winters, in the late 18th century, extended the sea ice and made whaling from land too difficult.

Days 6&7: Our lecture series continues as we spend the next two days crossing Baffin Bay en route to Umanaq, Greenland. There will also be opportunities to watch for whales, seabirds, and icebergs from the comfort of the ship's deck.

Day 8: Today we visit Umanaq, a picturesque village set in the shadow of a red gneiss mountain, some of the oldest rock in the world. We'll see a unique church built from granite boulders. You'll also be able to visit the town's excellent museum, which is devoted to Greenlandic archeology and history. Here, we'll see the eerily well-preserved Greenland Mummies.

Day 9: This morning we'll arrive in Illulissat and cruise amongst gigantic, newly calved icebergs. Jakobshavn Glacier, the fastest moving glacier on earth, creates a new iceberg every five minutes - some so immense they rest on the ocean floor. We'll also visit a village fish market and make a hike to see some ancient Inuit ruins.

Day 10: We'll sail south along the west coast of Greenland towards Sondre Stromfjord, the longest fjord in the world. Our naturalists will help us to identify the many species of whales and seabirds that frequent these waters.

Day 11: This morning we cruise along Sondre Stromfjord. After breakfast we'll disembark at Kangerlussuaq and board our flight to Ottawa.

Note: As with all our expeditions, weather, ice, or other conditions may require that changes be made to our itinerary and certain shore excursions altered.