We intend to sail into the heart of the Northwest Passage. Since the late 15th century, the search for this fabled seaway through the Canadian Arctic was the holy grail for hardy explorers. There are records of almost 40 expeditions that sailed these waters. The first recorded attempt was the voyage of John Cabot in 1497. The most famous journeys here were James Cook’s failed attempt to sail the passage in 1776, and the ill-fated Franklin expedition of 1845. The first to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage by ship was Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on an expedition that lasted from 1903 to 1906.
Ice conditions vary from year to year – one of the reasons this voyage is still one of a kind. Subject to favorable conditions, we hope to show you some of the following places:
Ulukhaktok, a settlement on Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic archipelago. Due to its remote location, the 460 people living here have had little to do with the rest of the world and remain traditional in many aspects of their daily life.
Cambridge Bay, located on Victoria Island, is called “Iqaluktuuttiaq” in Inuinnaqtun, meaning a “good fishing place.” The settlement is near the Ekalluk River, which is famous for giant char. The area is rich in archaeological history and blessed with abundant fish, seals, geese, muskoxen and caribou.
Gjøa Haven, which honors Norwegian explorer, Roald Amundsen, who overwintered here in 1903/04 and 1904/05 during the Gjøa expedition. He was in contact with the local Netsilik Inuit people, from whom he learned a great deal about survival and travel in polar regions.
Fort Ross, a trading post established in 1937. There are two small huts here that are maintained by the Canadian Coast Guard.
Beechey Island, closely linked to the exploration history of the Northwest Passage. The most notorious voyage was the British expedition led by Sir John Franklin. Two ships sailed into the passage in 1845, but neither the vessels nor any of the 129 crew were ever seen again. It is known that the Franklin Expedition over-wintered on Beechey Island in 1845-1846.
Dundas Harbor, an abandoned settlement on the south coast of Devon Island, with an old Royal Canadian Mounted Police camp and several archaeological sites. Come ashore to see the ruins of some of these buildings, along with an impressive Thule site.
Pond Inlet, a traditional Inuit community, located on the northern tip of Baffin Island, near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. Also called ’Mittimatalik’ in Inuktitut, the picturesque hamlet is surrounded by mountain ranges, several dozen glaciers, scenic fjords and inlets, ice caves, geological hoodoos and drifting icebergs.
We continue our journey sailing through amazing waters with unique nature and hopefully enough ice for excellent wildlife spotting.