The Northwest Passage - Eastbound 15 DaysAboard: MS Fram
Travel in comfort through the fabled Northwest Passage on this fantastic itinerary sailing from Cambridge Bay in Canada to Kangerlussuaq in Greenland. Visiting remote and fascinating places such as Gjøa Haven, Conningham Bay, Fort Ross, Beechy Island, Baffin Island and Ilulissat, you will travel in the paths of the early explorers to discover a world of raw, daunting, yet exceptionally beautiful, landscapes and impressive wildlife. Travelling a route that few ships have the capability to navigate, this once in a lifetime expedition is certain to exceed your expectations.
- Sail through the fabled Drake Passage on the ultimate adventure
- Follow in the steps of famous historical expeditions and learn about their ventures
- Discover wild and remote areas of historical interest including Gjøa Haven, Conningham Bay, Fort Ross, Beechy Island & Baffin Island
- Visit the Illuissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Spectacular scenery at every turn
- Excellent chances of wildlife sightings including Polar bears, seals, whales including narwhals, musk oxen & Arctic hare
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Overnight stay in Edmonton pre-voyage including breakfast
- Transfer hotel to airport in Edmonton
- Economy flight Edmonton to Cambridge Bay
- Transfer airport to ship in Cambridge Bay & ship to airport Kangerlussuaq
- Excursion towards Icecap in Kangerlussuaq incl. BBQ after the voyage
- Economy flight Kangerlussuaq to Copenhagen post-voyage
- Wind and water-resistant jacket
- Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
- Professional English-speaking Expedition team that provide lectures as well as accompanying landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
So much to experience
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
With a lifetime of unforgettable nature and adventure based travel under his belt, Simon shares his passion, enthusiasm and hands-on experience to help create the perfect itinerary for every client.
Mike has more than fifteen years hands-on experience in the industry, travelling to some of the most incredible wild places on the planet. His far-reaching knowledge and invaluable skills will ensure that your wildlife travel adventure is a dream come true.
With countless travel experiences and an enduring hunger for adventure, Zoe knows exactly what’s needed to craft a holiday of a lifetime. Her experience and generosity of spirit are legendary and she’ll help you build an itinerary that will make all your dreams come true.
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Your exciting Northwest Passage expedition will begin in Edmonton, the capital city of the province of Alberta, where after having arrived independently you can make your way to your hotel for your included overnight stay. Edmonton is located on the North Saskatchewan River and offers many tourist attractions including Canada's largest living history museum and the longest stretch of urban parkland in North America. Spend some time at your leisure exploring the city before enjoying a good night’s sleep in preparation for the adventures that lie ahead.
Edmonton to Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island
After breakfast in the hotel you will join your transfer to the airport for your included flight to Cambridge Bay on the southeast coast of Victoria Island. Cambridge Bay is rich in archaeological history and blessed with abundant wildlife including fish, seals, geese, muskoxen and caribou. After a brief exploration of the area you will embark the MS Fram and after settling in to your cabin and exploring your new surroundings your ship will depart for your journey into the Northwest Passage.
Our first stop on our Northwest Passage cruise will be Gjøa Haven where you will be warmly welcomed to 'the finest little harbour in the world', so called by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who wintered here on the Gjøa Expedition. Gjøa Haven is a popular destination for fans of arctic history and along with Amundsen’s 2 years spent here collecting scientific data and learning from the local Inuit people about survival and travel in the Polar Regions, the John Ross expedition of 1829-1833 had previously visited this region and the ill-fated John Franklin expedition of 1845 perished nearby.
The local Inuit people, the Netsilik Inuit, are direct descendants of the ancient Thule people and they have lived in the area for over a thousand years. Today the settlement is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene and it is also home to excellent cultural venues including the Heritage Centre, the Hamlet Centre and the Northwest Passage Territorial Trail. The area is also a great place for wildlife with a large herd of muskoxen living on the island alongside numerous caribou, and birding opportunities are excellent with likely sightings of loons, geese, ducks, terns, jaegers, plovers, snow buntings and snowy owls.
Cruising the James Ross Strait
Today we will be navigating through the 180 km long and 50-65 km wide James Ross Strait towards Conningham Bay. Enjoy your informative onboard lecture and presentation programme which will cover everything from the wildlife and geology of the areas you are visiting to the history of Arctic exploration. You may also wish to spend some time on deck searching for sightings of seabirds following the ship. As we sail between King William Island and the Boothia Peninsula if conditions allow we make some landings to enjoy hikes across the tundra or small boat cruising in the waters below.
Conningham Bay & The Bellot Strait
A day of adventure awaits as we arrive at Conningham Bay and launch our small boats into the waters to explore the bay in search of belugas and polar bears which are known to frequent the area. After hopefully some memorable wildlife sightings we will re-board the ice-strengthened MS Fram to transit the narrow passage of the Bellot Strait. The Bellot Strait serves as the passage from Prince Regent Inlet to Peel Sound and Franklin Strait, and although sailing conditions may be fierce you are in excellent hands as your experienced captain will time your passage perfectly to avoid the strongest currents. Your ship was purpose built as an expedition vessel with a 1B ice class, ship-depth sounding database, extractable forward-sounding sonar and iceberg search lights, so although there may be ice in the water you will sail through with ease.
As we leave the Pacific Ocean and enter the Atlantic Ocean we recommend spending some time on deck in search of more wildlife sightings including polar bears.
After having sailed through the channel we will arrive at historic Fort Ross, a trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1937. We hope to spend some time exploring the area on foot and see the two small huts ashore that are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard, occasionally used by the local Inuit for shelter during hunting trips.
Beechy Island and Radstock Bay
Today we will arrive at Beechy Island, an area closely linked to the history of exploration of the Northwest Passage. Here we will go ashore to discover the region’s history including visiting the graves which lay testimony to the mysterious 1845 expedition of Sir John Franklin which resulted in the disappearance of 129 crewmembers. We will also see the remnants of Northumberland House which was built by the rescuers searching for Franklin and his men.
After exploring the area and learning about its intriguing historical associations we sail on to Radstock Bay to see the striking landmark of Caswell Tower, an imposing prominence of sedimentary rock rising from the sea. Here we can enjoy a short walk to a pre-historic Inuit dwelling site or a longer, more challenging hike to the summit of the tower which will reward in fantastic views of the surrounding area. This is also the location of a small station used seasonally for polar bear research.
Lancaster Sound and Devon Island
Next stop on our journey will be Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth, where we will come ashore at Dundas Harbour to see an abandoned settlement with an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police camp, some of the island’s numerous archaeological sites and an impressive Thule site.
West of Dundas Harbour we will visit Croker’s Bay to continue our search for wildlife. Here we are likely to see several marine species including walrus, beluga and even narwhal, along with polar bears and small populations of Arctic hare and musk ox. We will take a small boat excursion here to get up close to the action and for some photo opportunities of the two tidewater glaciers at the head of the bay.
Pond Inlet, Baffin island
Today we will sail further south to cruise the spectacular Arctic landscape of Eclipse Sound, before arriving in Pond Inlet, a traditional Inuit community on the northern tip of Baffin Island. Make sure to have your cameras ready as we sail through the scenic channel flanked by the peaks and glaciers of Baffin and Bylot Islands. Pond Inlet is surrounded by mountain ranges, with several dozen glaciers, scenic fjords and inlets, ice caves and drifting icebergs and is a fantastic place for spotting wildlife such as polar bears and large pods of narwhal. One of the highlights here will be a cultural performance by the local community and we will have the chance to visit the interesting visitor centre.
Crossing the Davis strait
Leaving Canada behind, we now spend 2 days crossing the Davis Strait towards Greenland. Whilst at sea you can continue to enjoy the informative and entertaining lecture programme, spend some time on deck looking for seabirds and attending briefings in preparation for your time in the wintry wonderland of Ilulissat.
Today is likely to be one of the highlights of your expedition as we reach Greenland and visit the stunning area of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that quite simple needs to be seen to be appreciated. This exceptionally scenic settlement is set against the most remarkable backdrop of enormous icebergs which have made their way down from the Jakobshavn Glacier and run aground at the mouth of the fjord just outside the town. There will be ample opportunities here for exploring the Icefjord including optional boat tours and helicopter flights offering exceptional aerial views of the wonders below. Alternatively we can also enjoy a short walk through the town which will lead us to a network of short trails that take you to the shores of the fjord. Or simply sit back and relax listening to the mystical sounds of the icebergs cracking and rumbling, echoing from one end of Ilulissat to the other.
As we sail towards Sisimiut we recommend spending some time on deck in search of sightings of the numerous whale species and marine animals which frequent the waters here including humpback, fin, minke and porpoise, as well as large numbers of seals.
As we come ashore we will explore this colourful and modern settlement which has retained its ancient traditions and is home to a small museum which is well worth a visit. Here we can take a hike in the hills to enjoy the beautiful views or spend some time shopping for local handicrafts and meeting the residents of this unique and scenic town.
Kangerlussuaq - Copenhagen
As we near the end of our expedition there is time for one more adventure as we sail through the 190km fjord to the town of Kangerlussuaq and disembark to enjoy an excursion to the Greenland Ice Cap. This vast icy wasteland stretches 1,500 miles north and reaches heights of up to 3,200 metres above sea level and offers phenomenal photo opportunities. In the late afternoon we will enjoy a barbecue meal surrounded by beautiful scenery before transferring to the airport for your late evening flight to Copenhagen.
After your overnight flight you will arrive in "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen" where your thrilling Arctic adventure will sadly come to an end.
A view from Above
Fram is a purpose built expedition ship with ice-strengthened hull, advanced technology and spacious outside decks for wildlife and scenery viewing.Public areas include large observation lounge, restaurant, bar, fitness room, sauna and outdoor jacuzzi. There is a mixture of suites and cabins
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