By Wildfoot Travel’s Dave Cheetham
The Northwest Passage is the sea route through Northern Canada’s Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. But what is it about this iconic journey that makes it such a magnet for the more adventurous traveller?
Here are ten good reasons why you should add this trip to your bucket list.
1. Venture Where Few Have Ever Been
Thick pack ice makes these waterways completely inaccessible for most of the year.
The ice begins to recede in July, making travel possible from July to September.
This inaccessibility makes this one of the most remote and unspoiled locations on the planet. For those with Wanderlust in their soul, there’s something exciting about reaching places where few have travelled.
The wildlife in this area is truly spectacular. July and August offer the best chance of wildlife activity and as the days are longer which allows more time to witness the natural splendour that surrounds you. Highlights on the list of wildlife you may encounter here include polar bears, Musk Ox, Puffins, Beluga whales, Narwhal and Walrus.
3. Northern Lights.
As the skies darken in September, the chances of witnessing the Aurora Borealis and its captivating colour display increase. Watching nature’s light show from the deck of an expedition ship is a truly moving experience and one that will stay with you forever.
The rugged and constantly changing landscape in Canada’s far north is quite breath-taking. As you travel through the icy waters, you will be able to feast your eyes on a mesmerising geological display that can only be found in the far north.
For over 300 years European explorers searched in vain to find a way through the ice and unlock a shorter trade route to China and the east.
In that time, hundreds of lives were lost and countless stories and legends were born. The British expedition, led by Captain Sir John Franklin, is a particularly harrowing and macabre tale.
It wasn’t until 1906 that legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen completed the journey successfully. Charting the way for others to follow.
Travelling through these icy waterways, you can visit many historic locations as you uncover the stories of determination, failure and triumph that are etched on these icy shores.
6. Photographic Opportunities
You’ll be the envy of all your friends when you return with incredible shots of marine wildlife, birdlife, icebergs, landscapes, seascapes, and of course, possible even the Northern Lights.
Travelling on a small expedition cruise ship with onboard scientists alongside other experts, you can enjoy both guided trips ashore and lectures on board. Depending on the voyage and the vessel you choose, you’ll learn about wildlife, conservation, geology, history, photography, climate change and the fight against global warming.
On the many trips ashore, you will visit several of the islands in this fascinating Archipelago, giving you opportunities to explore on foot. Walking leads to even better vantage points and richer, more intimate wildlife encounters.
Inuit culture is completely unique. Everything about life here is fascinatingly different, yet warm and welcoming. A glimpse of everyday life in the far north, is something that you will never forget.
10. True Escapism
If you are looking for tranquillity and an escape from the everyday grinding pressures of the ‘real world’, look no further. The icy silence and sense of wilderness here combine with amazing wildlife and the pragmatic, enduring local people to put our everyday lives clearly into perspective.