For this 15 day tour we start our cruise from Churchill, we travel North visiting the islands and harbors of the Canadian Arctic before crossing over to Greenland to explore the villages and fjords of this beautiful and stark land.
- Observe caribou, walrus and beluga whales in the wild
- Search for whales, seals and polar bears
- Learn of Canada’s Inuit and their lasting traditions
- Identify seabirds and witness a colony of 1 million guillemots
- Explore the historic whaling site at Kekerten
- Discover the cultures of remote Greenlandic towns
- Cruise into deep fjords to see spectacular glaciers
- See the famous Qilakitsoq mummies
- Meet a sledge dog team and their owners
- Visit the world smallest capital
Departing from Winnipeg, fly to Churchill and embark the Silver Explorer foryour exciting Expedition – “Exploring Nunavut & Greenland”. This evening, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and attend a Zodiac briefing in preparation for our adventures tomorrow.
During the summer months a truly spectacular sight can be beheld in Churchill. On the west coast of Hudson Bay thousands of beluga whales, having just given birth, gather together to feed in the brackish waters in front of the town. In the morning of our second day in Churchill, we invite you to join the Expedition Team for a Zodiac cruise into the mouth of the river in hopes of observing these white whales and their young. During lunch on board, the Silver Explorer departs Churchill for points north.
We arrive this morning at Arviat, the southernmost mainland community in Nunavut. To ensure all guests can enjoy an intimate experience of this small community, we will divide into morning and afternoon groups. Each group will split up into three smaller groups to participate in a rotation of three shoreside activities. We’ll enjoy a walking tour led by our local host with stops at the Kiluk Sewing Centre, the Community Hall, the Visitor Centre with exhibits on traditional Inuit life and artefacts from the Arvia'juaq National Historic Site, and to see a demonstration of traditional carving unique to Arviat. Locals Mark and Angie Eetak welcome us into their home for tea, bannock and a generous serving of stories about life in Arviat. For a third activity, we’ll visit a traditional camp for a cultural presentation. Following lunch on board, the afternoon group will head ashore to enjoy the same activities as the morning group. Arviat has strong artistic and musical traditions. Once all guests are back on board, we’ll be invited to attend a cultural performance by Qiggiqtiit before setting sail.
As we make our way across Hudson Bay, enjoy some time out on deck keeping an eye out for seabirds, dolphin, seals and migrating humpback, fin and blue whales, or listen to additional presentations by our expert natural history staff in The Theatre or in the comfort of your own accommodation. Enjoy a fine cognac at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship.
Though walrus do not form colonies, both Walrus Island and Bencas Island are well known for the walrus that frequent their shores. This morning we will cruise around the island by Zodiac for an up-close look at these remarkable creatures.
Without a doubt, Cape Dorset is the most famous Inuit art village in the Canadian North. Here we will visit the printmakers and carvers of the region and even have the option to purchase a souvenir of our visit. Travelling across the bay by Zodiac, we next explore Mallikjuaq Territorial Park where the remains of winter residences from thousands of years ago can be seen. Our local guide will explain in detail the aspects of daily life for his Thule ancestors.
This morning we enter the fjord of Douglas Harbour – a stunning site with its sheer cliffs that plummet into the sea. Be out on deck to search for the caribou herd that spends the summer months feeding on the tundra along the coastline. Conditions permitting, we plan to make a Zodiac landing and explore ashore with the Expedition Team. In the afternoon, relax in one of the onboard lounges, enjoy entertaining lectures and the insights of our knowledgeable lecture staff and perhaps participate in the friendly team competition of a hilarious Liar’s Club game.
Today we explore around remote Akpatok Island at the northernmost extremity of the Labrador peninsula. Steep and sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the icy waters. Encased in snow and surrounded with sea ice in the winter months, this uninhabited island lures hordes of wildlife, most notably the world’s largest population of breeding thick-billed murres, (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 female murres 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 favourite summer home for polar bears as they wait for the winter ice to form.
Later in the day, the Silver Explorer will reposition to the West in hopes that conditions will permit us to step ashore for an even closer inspection of the island – by foot.
Today the search is on for Ursus Maritimus, the polar bear, which the native Inuit refer to as Nanuk or Nanuuq. The Lower Savage Islands are a small group of islands off of the southeastern tip of Baffin Island, and a common location for polar bears to be found during the summer months. With plenty of land to roam while giving each other a wide berth, plus opportunity for the odd feed, it seems many bears locate here as the ice vanishes with the season’s warming temperatures. Our Zodiacs will allow us to cruise through the narrow channels between the islands to search for wildlife among the unusual rocky formations.
Kekerten and the surrounding Cumberland Sound were once a major whaling location and during our visit we will find remnants of this bygone era in the Kekerten Territorial Park. Join the Expedition Team and head ashore to explore the many features of this site, including the foundations of three storehouses built in 1857 by Scottish whalers, large cast-iron pots once used for rendering whale oil, blubber-hauling pins and the remains of a whaleboat ship.
Binoculars in hand, watch for, whales feeding in the rich waters and seabirds that will follow our passage. On board Silver Explorer, a variety of diversions are available, including educational lectures, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
This afternoon we arrive in Greenland’s first town (1728) and current capital, Nuuk, which means “the heartland”. Our leisurely walk through this picturesque harbour town allows us 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 we have the fantastic opportunity to see the famous Qilakitsoq mummies, and will, of course, leave time to visit Father Christmas’ post office with the world’s largest mailbox.
With a name that literally translates to “the rugged place”, we can expect dramatic landscapes. Tall, jagged mountains and deep, narrow fjords. One of the most impressive natural spectacles is the glacier-filled Evighedsfjord or “Fjord of Eternity” with its 6,500-foot (2,000-metre) mountains. Look for reindeer, which are numerous in this area.
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, travelling by sledge has been the primary means of winter transportation for centuries. Today we will meet a sledge dog team and their owners, who will tell us all about sledding and how the Greenlandic sledge dog has been bred to be amongst the strongest working dogs in the world.
Sisimiut is also renowned for its archaeological sites that date back to the year 1200, the time period of the prehistoric Thule. The staple diet in this region has always included walrus, seal and whale, and this is still true today. At a local restaurant we will have the opportunity to sample a variety of regional specialties as a local guide explains about traditional hunting methods and food preparations.
After breakfast, disembark the Silver Explorer and transfer to the airport for your charter flight to Copenhagen.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
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