In the Footsteps of Franklin: Greenland & Canada’s High Arctic
Explore the best of Greenland’s west coast on this 13 day voyage, including one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world. Crossing into the Canadian waters en route to Resolute, you’ll encounter spectacular limestone bird cliffs and Beechey Island, the eerie site of the Franklin Expedition.
In the Footsteps of Franklin, you’ll visit historic islands in the Canadian Arctic, which once played important roles in the quest to find the Northwest Passage. You’ll visit the extreme north of Greenland, cruise through immense fjords and look for iconic Arctic animals including the beluga whales, narwhal, polar bear and walrus. Changing landscapes, small villages and plenty of wildlife make this the perfect expedition for history enthusiasts and photographers.
Expedition in Brief
- Unique Arctic wildlife — polar bears, walrus, whales, and massive sea bird colonies
- West Greenland and Canada’s High Arctic
- Traditional Canadian Inuit and Greenlandic communities
- Ilulissat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Beechey Island, Franklin Expedition is a National Historic Site of Canada
- Tundra hiking for all fitness levels
- Zodiac cruising
- Optional kayak adventure option on selected voyages
|Day 1||Copenhagen, Denmark|
|Day 2||Embarkation Day in Kangerlussuaq|
|Day 3 to 7||West Greenland|
|Day 8||Cobourg Island|
|Day 9 to 11||Lancaster Sound|
|Day 12||Disembarkation Day in Resolute, Fly to Toronto|
|Day 13||Flight Home|
Enjoy an included night in Copenhagen, Denmark and meet your fellow travelers.
Off to Greenland! Upon landing in Kangerlussuaq, you’ll be transferred to the port and then take your first Zodiac ride out to the ship, which will be anchored off shore.
Ancient archaeological sites, massive fjords and plenty of Zodiac excursions and tundra hikes await you in Greenland. Sisimiut has a small fishing village-feel to it with a great harbor for walking around and taking photos with a perfect mountainous backdrop. The town has a number of interesting buildings to explore, including some dating back to colonial times.
Get in touch with local customs here by enjoying a kayaking demonstration. Kayaks have traditionally been used for whale hunting and are still a crucial form of transport here after thousands of years. The only way between towns in Green- land is by sea or air as most settlements are on small islands.
The third largest town in Greenland is Ilulissat, which happens to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll undoubtedly be impressed by the massive Sermeq Kujaaeq fjord here, one of the fastest moving in the world. Ilulissat is a big dog-sledding town in winter, and the 6,000 sled dogs here outnumber the people. In Ilulissat, you’ll experience spectacular zodiac cruising and hiking for all fitness levels.
Heading further north into the Upernavik Archipelago, keep your eyes out for whales and seals, which are numerous in these waters. A couple of places we like to take you here are Upernavik and Kullorsuaq. At Upernavik there is an interesting museum (the oldest in Greenland) and a Viking rune stone was discovered nearby, making this the most northern discovery of any Viking artifacts in the world! Over at Kullorsuaq, you’ll find that things are very traditional. This small settlement sustains itself on fishing, whaling and sealing.
From Kullorsuaq, your journey north will take a day or more. Enjoy a day at sea, spotting seabirds and cetaceans, or you can spend your time taking in lectures by the Expedition Team or chatting with fellow shipmates.
Dundas and Qaanaaq are your next landings along the north western edge of Greenland. A great glacier and archaeological site dating back to 1916 are found at Dundas. It is also a perfect place for you to head out on a hike, taking in the sights, sounds and colors of the Arctic summer. Qaanaaq is one of the world’s most northern settlements. You can enjoy the colorful buildings here, which present a great contrast to the surrounding landscape. A visit to the local museum is a wonderful way for you to gain a deeper appreciation for what it takes to live this far north.
You’ll leave Greenland today as we sail over to Canada and visit Cobourg Island. This is an uninhabited island off the coast of Ellesmere Island and the waters here are home to bowhead, beluga and narwhal whales as well as seal and walrus. Polar bears may also been seen here!
Large cliffs present you with a thrilling Zodiac cruising excursion, as the island has been deemed an important bird area. Possible sightings include thick- billed murres, northern fulmars, black- legged kittiwakes, black guillemots and glaucous gulls.
Exploring the Canadian High Arctic, you’ll have numerous hiking and birding opportunities. The first of which usually takes place at Dundas Harbor on Devon Island. Your beach hike here will be high- lighted by visiting the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police post dating back to 1924. This area has been settled for thousands of years by the Palae-Eskimo, Thule and, now, Inuit. Don’t be surprised if your Canadian history walk is interrupted by walrus, which are some- times hauled out on the beach nearby.
Croker Bay is another spot where you’ll be able to get out and stretch your legs. It is home to many archaeological sites and was a popular stopping off point during the quest to discover the Northwest Pas- sage in the 1800’s. You may see a number of icebergs floating around in this area, after having calved off of a nearby glacier.
You’ll also visit Prince Leopold Island, exploring by Zodiac as the impressive cliffs are home to more than 500,000 birds. If you missed spotting any of the species at Cobourg Island, you’ll have a good chance of catching them here.
The Canadian National Historic Site of Beechey Island is the most significant place you’ll visit pertaining to exploration of the Canadian Arctic. A small grave site exists, with markers for men who died during Sir John Franklin’s expedition in 1845-46. Roald Amundsen also stopped here in 1903, on his successful voyage to the Northwest Passage.
Your final day of exploration in the Lancaster Sound will include a mix of history and wildlife. At Radstock Bay there is an ancient Thule site, including some very well-preserved subterranean homes. It’s an interesting place to visit and see how this pre-Inuit culture lived. This is also a good place for observing polar bears.
Named after the HMS Resolute, one of the ships sent to try to find Franklin’s ships the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. This is where you’ll say goodbye to the Sea Explorer and be transferred to the airport for your flight to Toronto, where you’ll have one last night to reminisce with your new friends about your Arctic adventure.
* Itinerary may be subject to change