Summary : The colorful villages of Greenland invite you for a journey of untouched scenery, majestic fjords, and exceptional wildlife. Gaze in amazement as rare peregrine falcons hunt for prey while you venture north in search of the elusive polar bear. The waters may be icy but the culture of the local Inuit population will warm your memories for a long time after you disembark.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Enjoy your first Zodiac ride to Silver Cloud, waiting at anchor. Once all guests have embarked, a safety briefing will be conducted and you will depart.
This evening, you will be introduced to your Expedition Leader and the Expedition Team and attend a Zodiac briefing. Cruise the 100-mile-long Kangerlussuaq Fjord and keep an eye out for Peregrine Falcon, as this fjord is home to 130 pairs.
Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the northernmost town in Greenland where the port remains free of ice in the winter. Yet it is also the southernmost town where there exists enough snow and ice to drive a dogsled in winter and spring. In Sisimiut, traveling by sled has been the primary means of winter transportation for centuries. You will see many dogs in town and you might meet the owner of a sled dog team and his dogs. He will tell you all about sledding and how the Greenlandic sled dog has been bred to be among the strongest working dogs in the world.
A nice walk around the town and into the outskirts will be offered. Stroll through the Sisimiut Museum with its 18th century wooden buildings and see some of the local handicraft, featuring native stonework and sealskin garments.
In the iceberg-laden waters surrounding the remote community of Uummannaq, it is common to see whales, so be sure to join the Expedition Team out on deck during the approach. This area of Greenland is known for its huge basalt mountains, and this small hunting and fishing village rests at the foot of the heart-shaped Uummannaq Mountain, a name that translates to mean “in the shape of a seal’s heart”. Together take a guided walking tour of Uummannaq to see the granite church. Perhaps listen to the local choir. During the walk learn how village life revolves around the halibut/fish-processing factory. The more energetic will have the opportunity to hike to what is known as the “summer residence of Santa Claus”.
Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team, or relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. On board Silver Cloud, a variety of diversions are available, including lectures, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
Located in northern Baffin Island, Pond Inlet is a small, predominantly Inuit community with a population of roughly 1500 inhabitants. In 1818 the British explorer John Ross named a bay in the vicinity after an English astronomer and today Pond Inlet is considered one of Canada’s “Jewels of the North”. Several glaciers and mountain ranges nearby make this one of the most picturesque communities.
Many archaeological sites of ancient Dorset and Thule peoples can be found near Pond Inlet. The Inuit had long hunted caribou, ringed and harp seals, fish, polar bears, walrus, narwhals, geese, ptarmigans and arctic hares, before European and American whalers came here to hunt bowhead whales. Pond Inlet is known as a major center of Inuit art, especially printmaking and stone carving. View a variety of techniques and styles used in creating these unique pieces in the galleries in town.
Located in the northern part of Baffin Island, Buchan Gulf is an Important Bird Area with many Northern Fulmars nesting there. The area has several connecting fjords and spectacular scenery. In the water narwhal and walrus have been seen, and polar bears are frequent visitors too. A tundra walk can be challenging, as the surrounding area consists of dense, spongy, thick moss carpets and might be boggy. There are several ancient Thule semi-subterranean winter home sites found in the area.
Found at the northern end of Baffin Island, Bylot Island runs 180 km from east to west and 110 km from north to south. Bylot is one of the largest uninhabited islands in the world. Vertical cliffs and numerous glaciers are found along the shore of Bylot Island. Polar bears are known to den here, while beluga and bowhead whales, narwhal and harp seals, as well as ringed seals frequent the area.
The Sirmilik National Park covers much of this area and harbors large populations of Thick-billed Murres (Brünnich’s Guillemots) and Black-legged Kittiwakes. The importance this area has for birds is shown in its designation as Important Bird Area (actually three different ones) and Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The southwest corner of Bylot Island’s southern end has moist lowland tundra that is ideal nesting habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds, and more than 70 different species of birds can be found on Bylot Island. Canada’s largest breeding colony of Greater Snow Geese in the Canadian High Arctic is on this island.
Silver Cloud will cruise between Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island in the Peel Sound following the track of two famous expeditions of the mid-19th century: Sir James Franklin’s and James Clark Ross’. The ice conditions will dictate how far the ship can go. Look for polar bears on the ice and maybe take a Zodiac to get a closer look.
Silver Cloud will anchor in front of Beechey Island. Fringed by a narrow beach, windswept and barren, Beechey Island is associated with the tragic Franklin Expedition looking for the Northwest Passage. Three graves of members of the expedition as well as a cairn and some small buildings were found here during the search for the survivors of the expedition. Parts of Northumberland House, a supply depot and emergency shelter dating back to the 1850s and the Belcher Expedition, can still be seen on the island today.
Go ashore to have a look at the remains of Franklin’s unfortunate stop and a monument that has been erected in memory of those who had perished on that expedition.
During lunch Silver Cloud will re-position to Devon Island. This is Canada’s sixth largest island and was first seen by Europeans in the early 17th century. The Thule culture had already settled there many centuries before and we will be looking for Thule qarmat homes. Other striking finds in this area are the many fossils of corals, crinoids and nautiloids that can be seen. The team of experts will be leading and guiding you, looking for remains of the Thule, and the fossils and for wildlife, as just across Lancaster Sound is Prince Leopold Island, a Canadian Important Bird Area, a federally listed migratory bird sanctuary, and a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site with large numbers of Thick-billed Murres, Northern Fulmars and Black-legged Kittiwakes breeding there between June and September.
The second landing on Devon Island takes you ashore to the abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbour, called Talluruti in Inuktitut. Explore the expanses of barren tundra while your onboard Historian might describe the various attempts to settle the area over the years. In 1924 a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment was established at Dundas Harbour. Three constables were stationed here to watch over the entrance into the famous Lancaster Sound—the gateway to the much sought after Northwest Passage. The remains of their outpost can still be seen. Birders will hope to see the Rough-legged Hawks that nest on the cliffs and you might catch a glimpse of grazing muskoxen.
With more than 196,000 km² Ellesmere Island is Canada’s third-largest and northernmost island. The Quttinirpaaq National Park makes up more than one-fifth of the island. Polar bears, arctic wolves, arctic foxes, ermines, muskoxen, Peary caribou, arctic hares, and collared lemmings are typical animals found on Ellesmere. In the waters look for ringed seal, bearded seal, and narwhal. Rare but not entirely impossible would be sightings of harp seal, harbor seal, and beluga, bowhead and killer whales.
Participate in onboard activities, attend a lecture by a member of the Expedition Team, or simply be on the lookout for wildlife this far north. A spa treatment, a visit to the Sauna, a workout in the Fitness Centre, there are many choices of how you want to spend the day. In the evening enjoy another special dining experience.
This afternoon, continue your exploration, and stop at Upernavik, one of the few settlements along the northern part of West Greenland. During your visit look at the local museum and stroll through the brightly colored village.
During the morning Silver Cloud will ply the Disko Bay en route to your destination along Disko Island’s east coast. The exploration of the Disko Bay area will head to an area north of the village of Qeqertarsuaq, which is named after Disko Island’s local name meaning “large island”. With more than 3,300 sq. miles Disko Island is Greenland’s second-largest island. Enjoy a tundra walk or a Zodiac tour of the rugged coastline and the many icebergs that get stranded here after breaking off from the Jakobshavn Glacier.
Just after sunrise, be out on deck to see the fjord of the northern hemisphere’s most active glacier – Jakobshavn – often surrounded by icebergs in all shapes and sizes and in varying shades of white and turquoise. Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces nearly 35 km³ of ice each year. While here, you may have the opportunity to see a demonstration of ancient fishing methods and enjoy some locally caught and prepared fish. During your guided walking tour of Ilulissat, visit the local history museum, located in the former home of Greenlandic folk hero and famed polar explorer Knud Rasmussen. Another tour continues via fishing boat, as you navigate among the many icebergs at the fjord’s entrance.
Participate in final discussions and attend lectures that recapture your experiences in Greenland and the Canadian Far North. Take time to go through your pictures and to edit them, but definitely you want to attend the Videographer’s presentation of your journey.
Tonight our Captain would like to invite you to the Farewell Cocktail and Farewell Dinner.
Disembark after breakfast.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Kayaking will be offered complimentary and will run on a first-come-first-serve sign up basis. Guests cannot pre book the kayak tours. It will be run by two professional kayak guides. Participation requires good physical condition and right of participation is reserved. The kayak guides will make the final determination if a guest is fit to participate. Kayaking will be weather dependent.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (Le Champagne Restaurant excluded); butler service; kayaking; most wines, champagnes and spirits on the ship; tea, coffee, hot chocolate, water and soda; parka; onboard gratuities (except spa); port charges and handling fees; Vista and Veranda Suites receive one hour of included internet access per guest/per day; Medallion, Silver, Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive unlimited internet access; Royal, Grand, and Owner’s Suites receive laundry service throughout the voyage as well as dinner for two in Le Champagne (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage segment. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at Le Champagne Restaurant unless mentioned above as included; some alcoholic premium beverages; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; internet use not mentioned as included; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry (unless mentioned as included) and spa options; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services at Silversea Cruises, © Daniela Plaza (polar bear, orcas, Zodiac, village), © Richard Sidey (hike and lake), © Elliott Neep (gull)