Summary : Slow down life’s hectic pace on a two-week journey of watery wonderment. Marvel at the magnificent Jakobshavn Icefjord as it glistens beautifully in the pristine waters. Enjoy Zodiac tours and tundra hikes, bird spotting and absorbing the fascinating geological formations, and learn about modern Inuit art and culture.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, 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.
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.
Be out on deck to see the northern hemisphere’s most active glacier, the Jakobshavn Glacier, while approaching Ilulissat. Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces several million tons of ice each day. Its entrance is often surrounded by icebergs in all shapes and sizes and in varying shades of white and turquoise.
The town of Ilulissat is known for its long periods of calm and settled weather, but the climate is a bit colder due to its proximity to the fjord. 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, which used to be the home of famous arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen. South of town are several trails leading to the Icefjord, one of them a boardwalk.
You will also navigate among the many icebergs at the fjord’s entrance in local fishing boats getting amazing views and impressions.
Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the second-largest as well as 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. The Greenlandic sled dog has been bred to be among the strongest working dogs in the world and can be seen all over town.
Sisimiut has been used by different cultures and groups for almost 4500 years. Ruins of early settlements can still be seen west of the town. The Sisimiut Museum houses part of its collection in Greenland’s oldest surviving church as well as in a peat house. For those interested in tasting some of the local delicacies, the museum has prepared Greenlandic soup, shrimps, and dried fish which you can taste while visiting the museum.
Another typical and iconic ‘vehicle’ of transportation in the Arctic is the qajaq (better known as ‘kayak’) and although most Greenlandic hunters or fishermen use modern boats, many still have a qajaq. You may see a qajaq demonstration in Sisimiut’s harbor.
This morning arrive in Greenland’s first town (1728) and current capital, Nuuk -“the heartland”. There will be ample time to explore one of the smallest capitals in the world. Your leisurely walk through this picturesque harbor town allows you to take in Nuuk’s natural beauty, and also to see Inuit ruins, Hans Egede’s home, parliament, and the Church of our Saviour. At the Greenlandic National Museum have the fantastic opportunity to see an outstanding collection of traditional hunting gear, art, colorful traditional clothing and the famous Qilakitsoq mummies.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call in Canada and the adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, enjoy a fine cognac at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard Silver Cloud.
Your first foray into Canada begins in the town of Iqaluit, located at the head of Frobisher Bay, an inlet of the North Atlantic extending into south-eastern Baffin Island. The Bay is so long that it was first taken to be the possible entrance of a Northwest Passage. Iqaluit is the capital of Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, Inuktitut for “our land”. Nunavut is the least populated, but largest of Canada’s provinces and territories.
After completing formalities associated with customs and immigration, go ashore and explore the edges of Canada’s “true north”. Depending on the tides (Iqaluit has a maximum tidal range of almost 12 meters) you will either have a dry landing on a pier or a wet beach landing.
Your ship’s experts along with local guides will take you around Iqaluit and will lead you through the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Nunavut Legislative Assembly Building, both housing incredible collections of Inuit artwork. The museum shop has some very interesting local prints for sale. Even walking through town there are many opportunities to see various pieces of artwork.
Visit the Silvia Grinnell Territorial Park west of Iqaluit for walks and hikes.
Named in honor of Sir John Franklin’s widow, uninhabited Lady Franklin Island is 40 kilometers off of Baffin Island’s Hall Peninsula. There are at least seven smaller, unnamed islands off its northwest shore that lend themselves to be explored by Zodiac, while Lady Franklin Island offers an abundance of bears, ducks, seals, and walrus.
This morning you might want to attend a lecture about Northern Art, and find out how and why the Inuit took to art. Silver Cloud will arrive in Kimmirut, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police post and Hudson Bay Company trading center, in the late morning.
The terrain of Kimmirut is among the oldest on the planet, sitting on a variety of metamorphic rock formations and the village receives its name from a prominent rock feature. Kimmirut’s harbor has very powerful tides, with water levels varying by as much as 11 meters (36 feet).
Visit this village to see the local arts and crafts. The Kimmirut artists blend regional styles and locally available materials. The most predominant kind of art is stone carving, although there is also a tradition of scrimshaw etchings done on walrus ivory. In recent years creating jewelry has become of interest. The material used for this are the semi-precious stones found in the Kimmirut area.
A morning at sea allows to make good progress towards your next destination and to attend a lecture, seminar or workshop while heading further west towards Kinngait (Cape Dorset).
Without a doubt, Cape Dorset is the most famous Inuit art village in the Canadian North. Visit the printmakers and carvers of the region and even have the option to purchase a special piece as a souvenir of your visit. Traveling across the bay by Zodiac, explore Mallikjuaq Territorial Park where the remains of winter residences from thousands of years ago can be seen. Your local guide will explain in detail the aspects of daily life for his ancestors.
Today you will be in spectacular Wakeham Bay and the area of the small village of Kangiqsujuaq. In line with your search for art, see how the locals interpret the Dorset culture mask petroglyphs found south of the village. Apart from the village visit, tundra walks might be on offer.
Explore around remote Akpatok Island at the northernmost extremity of the Labrador Peninsula. Steep and sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the cold waters. Encased in snow and surrounded with sea ice in the winter months, this uninhabited island lures huge amounts of wildlife, most notably the world’s largest population of breeding Thick-billed Murres, also known as Brünnich’s Guillemots (Inuktitut name: Akpatok), estimated at well over a million birds. These auks flock to the bare cliffs of the island between June and September, and incubate their single pear-shaped egg on the cliff’s ledges. Glaucous Gulls can be seen soaring above looking for unguarded eggs and chicks, while Black Guillemots paddle around on the nearby sea. Akpatok Island is also a favorite summer home for polar bears as they wait for the winter ice to form.
On your way south from Akpatok, travel along the Torngat Mountains National Park situated on the eastern side of Labrador’s northernmost point, sometimes described as the “Eastern Rocky Mountains”. Torngat Mountains National Park covers an area of 9,700 km² and is dotted with remnants of several cirque glaciers and has an outstanding array of geological features. The steep cliffs provide some of the best exposures to the earth’s geologic history. Although polar bears can sometimes be seen hunting seals on the ice it is still early in the season for this. Herds of Torngat Mountain and George River caribou migrate to and from their calving grounds and Inuit use the area to hunt, fish and travel throughout the park. Red and Arctic foxes will be looking for lemmings and voles. Harlequin Ducks, Peregrine Falcons, Barrow’s Goldeneye and Short-eared Owls are found within the park. While Minke whales tend to linger in bays, humpback and fin whales like to stay offshore. Silver Cloud will be following the coastline, looking for whales.
South of Torngat Mountains National Park, and permission pending, visit Hebron, an abandoned Moravian settlement declared a National Historic Site.
A leisurely day at sea can be used to exchange notes with fellow travelers. As you make your way along Canada’s scenic coast, spend some time out on deck keeping an eye out for seabirds, dolphin, seals and migrating humpback, fin or blue whales, or listen to additional presentations by your expert natural history staff in the Lecture Theatre or in the comfort of your suite. Enjoy a fine cognac at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard Silver Cloud.
Once ashore by Zodiac, you will be taken by local bus to the “Prime Berth Museum”, which could be well described as a commercial fishing heritage site. You will hear about the glory “salt fish days” before the cod fishery moratorium in the middle of the eighties of the last century let the busy settlement shrink. Afterwards you will visit several historic buildings packed with artifacts near the shoreline. The excursion also goes to the museum, the former house of an Anglican priest, right next to the church. Almost all the objects on display here are from 1900 to the early 1920s, including a giant bicycle from the turn of the century. Afterwards you will have a good view over the Notre Dame Bay and the outer isles at Long Point Lighthouse.
During the afternoon continue on toward St. John’s. Enjoy the Videographer's voyage DVD, a good opportunity to recall all the different impressions of Greenland, Baffin Island and the Canadian coast.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
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.
Photo Studio: Unique to Silver Cloud, the Photo Studio offers a vibrant, creatively inspiring space where you can not only master the art of digital photography with Masterclasses, but also offers an editing suite where you can print images using state-of-the-art equipment plus a dedicated photo manager.
Ship accommodation; most onboard meals (La Dame 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 La Dame (one evening per voyage) and two hours of worldwide phone use from your suite, per voyage. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; meals on board at La Dame 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), © Richard Sidey (hike and lake)