Home » Ocean Endeavour: Out of the Northwest Passage
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An iconic journey, the Northwest Passage remains an adventure today. Sail the Queen Maud Gulf while stopping daily for hiking and Zodiac cruising, ensuring you get the most amazing up close and personal experience. Trace the routes of famous explorers such as Rasmussen and Peary as you call in at Greenland's northernmost community. Witness calving glaciers, explore deep fjords and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord.
Duration: 17 Days
*This is our proposed itinerary. It is highly probable that weather, sea, and ice conditions will not allow us to travel this exact route. Our Expedition Leader and the captain will determine our exact route day by day.
Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Coppermine reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—Kugluktuk, meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1st, 1996. The Coppermine River itself is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Copper deposits along the river attracted the first explorers to the area.
Because the tundra is close to the tree line, a variety of wildlife can be viewed in the area, including grizzly bears, wolverines and moose, as well as tundra wildlife, such as musk ox, caribou, foxes, and wolves.
Located between Victoria Island and the Arctic coast of mainland Canada, the Coronation Gulf is an extensive body of water that is linked to the Arctic Ocean via the Dolphin and Union Strait on the west and by the Dease Strait and Queen Maud Gulf on the east.
The gulf was named in 1821 by John Franklin in honour of the coronation of King George IV. The environment and Inuit cultural history of the region was studied by Rudolph Anderson and Diamond Jenness in 1916 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition. We will be exploring the area, and making an opportunistic expedition stop.
The HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel, built in Wales in 1826. She was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology and weighed 372 tons. The ship took part in the Ross Expedition from 1839 to 1843, and was abandoned during the legendary Franklin Expedition after becoming icebound during an attempt to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. Her sunken wreck had actually been designated a National Historic Site prior to being located in September of 2014 by a Parks Canada underwater archaeology team.
Here, adventurous travelers may have a chance to snorkel over the wreck. Those not wanting to get in the water may be able to view the wreck on screen where a member of Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team can interpret the wreck using an underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen, while looking for the Northwest Passage, sailed through the James Ross Strait and stopped at a natural harbour on the island's south coast. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903-04 and 1904-05 at Usqsuqtuuq (Gjøa Haven). There, he learned Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. He used his ship Gjøa as a base for explorations in the summer of 1904, sledding the Boothia Peninsula and travelling to the magnetic North Pole. Usqsuqtuuq offers a lot to its visitors, like the Northwest Passage Territorial Historic Park, where visitors can experience the voyages of explorers such as Frobisher, Ross, and Franklin. Also, there is a 9-hole golf course, known to be Canada’s most northerly course.
Although Usqsuqtuuq is becoming more modern, many traditional Inuit activities are still being enjoyed, including throat singing, drum dancing, and hunting.
As we head north up Peel Sound, we get into serious polar bear country and will be on the lookout for good spotting opportunities. Parry Channel is named after Arctic explorer William Edward Parry who got as far as Melville Island in 1819 before being blocked by ice at McClure Strait. We will be making expedition stops along the way among the spectacular landscapes, a perfect setting for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area.
Parks Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) worked together with the community of Resolute Bay to create this new national park on Bathurst Island. After a local contest, the name of the park was selected: Qausuittuq means “place where the sun doesn’t rise”. During the winter months, the sun stays below the horizon for several months at a time. It is a traditional Inuit hunting ground, a vast habitat for the endangered Peary caribou, and a pristine example of Arctic wilderness.
Ocean Endeavour passengers will be the first expedition vessel to visit the park since its opening in 2015. Parks Canada is excited to be providing this opportunity, and travellers will set precedent for travel to this region by exploring the untouched areas and helping to establish new criteria to govern future sustainable land use. Today represents an unparalleled opportunity to experience the true spirit of expedition, and become a part of Qausuittuq’s future.
In 1845 Sir John Franklin took his expedition of 129 men and two ships into the Wellington Channel. Not a soul returned from the fateful expedition. It was two years before search parties were launched. Aside from the bodies of three souls buried here, only relics were found as clues to the disappearance. The three graves found at Beechey Island left no indication as to the fate of the rest of the British party. In the autumn of 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage, and in 2015, her sister ship—the Terror—was similarly located.
Sirmilik National Park, located in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, is known as “the place of glaciers” in Inuktitut. It is composed of three areas: most of Bylot Island, Oliver Sound, and Baffin Island’s Borden Peninsula. Beluga whales, seals, walruses, Peary caribou, Arctic foxes, Arctic hares, and wolves all call the area home—and the park is a migratory area for narwhals. A major seabird colony is found in Baillarge Bay and Bylot Island, the latter of which contains a rare colony of greater snow geese. The local glacial activity is of particular note, as are the sedimentary remains they deposits in the sea, leading to stunningly opaque, azure waters. Though the area became a national park in 2001, it continues to be inhabited by the Inuit who continue to hunt and fish the area as their ancestors did.
Mittimatalik (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, including its excellent library and other facilities, and meet many local citizens who will gladly share their culture. We will be treated to a cultural presentation at the Community Hall—arts and crafts may be available here. Mittimatalik is a famously excellent region for viewing marine mammals, including the elusive narwhal.
Today there will be expeditions in the truest sense as we navigate the fjords of northeast Baffin Island. Baffin’s fjords are striking, affording stunning perspectives on geological processes. The Ocean Endeavour is the perfect vessel for exploring these hidden treasures of the north, as her manoeuvrability and shallow draft allows her to access regions that would be impassable to larger vessels. We will be on alert for changing weather and ice conditions and use our judgement as to which route along the coast will be the most spectacular. As ever, our team will be on deck for the duration, searching for wildlife and contextualizing the mighty landscape through which we travel.
Located on the Cumberland Peninsula, Auyuittuq National Park (“the land that never melts”) transitioned from a national park reserve to a full national park in 2000. It is home to little vegetation, although plants like mountain avens and saxifrage eke out lives on the barren terrain. Only twelve species of mammal call this remarkable area home due to the exceptionally low vegetation supply. Auyuittuq is noted for spectacular fjords, glaciers, and ice fields—it is these features that will be the subject of our visit as we take in the area over the course of a expedition day.
Today we will explore the eastern coast of Baffin Island or Qikiqtaaluk, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world, with a population of over 11,000. Named after English explorer William Baffin, it is likely that the island was known to Pre-Columbian Norse of Greenland and Iceland during the eleventh century, and presumed to be the Helluland of the Viking sagas.
The coastline of Baffin Island is highly indented, particularly on the east and north. Large bays such as those of Frobisher Bay and Cumberland Sound are the largest and cut deeply into the southeast coast. The island's immensity and bewildering coastline confused early explorers and concealed its geography until recent times. It was likely here that one of the great ice sheets that covered most of Canada originated some 18,000 years ago, and ice lingered on the island until almost 1500 years ago; vast areas are still sheathed in ice year-round. Today, the Penny Ice Cap and the Barnes Ice Cap are the largest ice caps on the island they are both remnants of the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered much of the North American continent. Both are currently in a state of retreat.
Today our presentation series will kick into high gear as we steam across the Davis Strait, bound for the spectacular Greenlandic coast. Expect to participate in workshops, engage in discussions and hear expert reflection on the journey thus far, and a look forward to the exciting trip finale that awaits.
Ilulissat translates literally into "iceberg", and there couldn't be a more fitting name for this stunning coastal community. Our visit will include time in the colourful town and a chance 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.
The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, many islands and complex coastal waterways. We will be making an expedition stop here to explore the Greenlandic landscape.
We will make our journey down spectacular Sondre Stromfjord, and early risers will have a chance to experience its beauty. Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery! Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, means ‘the big fjord.’
We will disembark the Ocean Endeavour and make our way to the airport to meet our charter flights home.
|02 Sep 2019 - 18 Sep 2019||$9995 USD|
|Category 1 - Quad||$9995 USD||Contact us|
|Category 2 - Triple||$11895 USD||Contact us|
|Category 3 - Main Twin||$13595 USD||Contact us|
|Category 4 - Main Twin||$15095 USD||Contact us|
|Category 5 - Main Twin||$16595 USD||Contact us|
|Category 6 - Comfort Twin||$18095 USD||Contact us|
|Category 7 - Select Twin||$19595 USD||Contact us|
|Category 8 - Superior Twin||$21095 USD||Contact us|
|Category 9 - Junior Suite||$22595 USD||Contact us|
|Category 10 - Suite||$24095 USD||Contact us|
|07 Sep 2020 - 23 Sep 2020||$9346 USD||15% Off!|
|Category 1 - Quad||
|Category 2 - Triple||
|Category 3 - Main Twin||
|Category 4 - Main Twin||
|Category 5 - Main Twin||
|Category 6 - Comfort Twin||
|Category 7 - Select Twin||
|Category 8 - Superior Twin||
|Category 9 - Junior Suite||
|Category 10 - Suite||
240 sq. ft, located on deck 4, interior cabin, 4 lower single beds, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, (separate shower room and powder room), TV, telephone.
200 sq. ft, located on deck 4, interior cabin, 3 lower single beds, 2 private bathrooms, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities., TV, telephone.
120 sq. ft., located on deck 5, 2 single beds, interior cabin, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone.
100 sq. ft., located on deck 4, 2 single beds, exterior cabin, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone, porthole window, unobstructed view.
115 sq. ft., located on deck 5, 2 single beds, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone, picture window, unobstructed view.
135-175 sq. ft, 2 single beds or 1 matrimonial bed, 2 porthole windows or picture window, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone.
145-190 sq. ft., 2 single beds or 1 matrimonial bed, window, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone.
180-210 sq. ft., 2 lower single beds or 1 matrimonial bed, picture windows, unobstructed view, sitting area, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone.
270-290 sq. ft, picture windows, unobstructed, matrimonial bed, private bathroom, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone, sitting area.
310 sq. ft., located on deck 7, forward-facing picture windows, unobstructed view, matrimonial bed & private bathroom, bathtub, hairdryer, bathrobe, towels, bathroom amenities, TV, telephone.