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Northwest Passage: Calgary to Toronto | Sylvia Earle

17 Days FROM USD 17,116 20 % off!

Overview

The icy and labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries. It’s now your turn to experience them for yourself on this enchanting 17 day cruise. You’ll get a glimpse into the world that captivated early explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen, and Larsen by exploring a portion of the fabled Northwest Passage. 

Visit the final resting places of some of the heroic explorers to have ventured here and experience the archipelago of islands and channels that form Canada’s High Arctic region. Along the way, we hope to meet local indigenous people who call this remote wilderness home, and encounter enigmatic Arctic wildlife, including walrus, beluga whale, polar bear, musk ox, and the elusive narwhal. Pack ice always threatens to halt our voyage through the passage, adding a compelling element of adventure that is integral to any genuine expedition. Even if we have to slightly change course, we’ll still show you some of the best of both Greenland and Canada.

Please note that this voyage can also operate in reverse. 

Optional Activities : Kayaking

Trip Code: ACAUCNW

Travel Style: Expedition Cruise

Location: Greenland, Canada

Ship: Sylvia Earle

Flights: We offer a range of flight options to meet your cruise. Contact us today to discuss.

CRUISE ITINERARY

Upon check-in at Delta Hotel Calgary Airport, reception staff will provide you with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number to allow us to deliver your luggage to your cabin. At our voyage briefing, enjoy a welcome drink and meet fellow expeditioners, before spending the night in preparation for your charter flight to Cambridge Bay.

Arrival in Calgary

Board our charter flight to Cambridge Bay, a hub of the Canadian Arctic, and transfer to the harbour, where Zodiacs shuttle you aboard for embarkation. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening meet your expedition team and crew at the Captain’s Welcome Dinner.

Fly Calgary to Cambridge Bay and Embark

In true expeditionary style, our itinerary for the following days is entirely dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following are places we hope to visit:

King William Island

In 1859, a Franklin expedition tent camp was discovered at Cape Felix. Remains attributed to the Franklin expedition have been found at 35 different locations on King William Island and on nearby Adelaide Peninsula. South of Cape Felix, in Victoria Strait, we hope to visit Victory Point and get close to where the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were abandoned in 1848.

Coningham Bay

Across from Victoria Strait, Coningham Bay lies on the shores of Prince of Wales Island. This is a polar bear hotspot where the majestic creatures come to feast on beluga whales that are often trapped in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy-looking polar bears!

Prince Regent Inlet, Fort Ross

Sailing down the east coast of Somerset Island, you might spot beluga whales and narwhals as they feed on the large numbers of arctic char that enter Creswell Bay in late summer. An important bird area, the bay also attracts such species as black-bellied plovers, king eiders and white-rumped sandpipers. At Fort Ross, see an abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading outpost founded in 1937, which closed in 1949 because supply ships could not get through the thick sea ice. Enjoy guided walks on the tundra.

Prince Leopold Island, Port Leopold

On the southern side of Lancaster Sound opposite Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island— the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting pairs here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice. Nearby Port Leopold is a historic site where British explorer James Clark Ross wintered in 1848 while searching for the missing Franklin expedition. The ruin of a century old Hudson’s Bay trading post can be found there, and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, which come to moult in this part of the Arctic each summer.

Expedition Cruising - Day 3 to 6

At the western end of Devon Island lies Beechey Island. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island has many of Canada’s most important Arctic relics and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. Sir John Franklin’ first winter, 1845-46, was spent here during his attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage aboard HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results – the first three of his men died here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Beechy Island, Lancaster Sound

At a latitude almost 75° degrees north, we are now truly in the High Arctic. Here, nutrient-rich waters support an abundance of wildlife, giving the area the moniker ‘wildlife super highway’ of the Arctic. Devon Island is the largest uninhabited island on Earth and features stunning geology, with flat-topped mountains and glacial valleys giving Devon Island its unique character. We may explore Croker Bay or Maxwell Bay, both offering great opportunities for Zodiac cruising. Dundas Harbour offers walks on undulating tundra and the area is great for birdwatching. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a former Hudson’s Bay Company trading post and ancient semi-subterranean Thule dwellings can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Devon Island, Lancaster Sound

The picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, overlooking Eclipse Sound, is surrounded by scenic mountain ranges and numerous glaciers and fjords. Travellers come to marvel at the abundant wildlife hoping to see narwhals, beluga and orca whales, ringed and harp seals, caribou and the occasional polar bear. Explore churches and visit the Natinnak Center to see exhibits showing the culture and history of the local Inuit people. Husky dog pens are near the landing beach.

In the afternoon, we sail along the coast of nearby Bylot Island. Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot Island provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. A total of 74 distinct species of Arctic birds thrive on this island. Due to the richness of the wildlife with the beauty and diversity of the landscapes in the area, a large portion of the island was also included in the Sirmilik National Park, established in 2001.

Pond Inlet, Bylot Island

Sail around Sillem Island, with glacial features on all sides. A slow cruise offers the chance to see many glaciers, discharging cascades as well as a variety of seals and other arctic wildlife. Farther south along the east coast of Baffin Island lies Isabella Bay, an important summer and autumn feeding ground for a large population of bowhead whales. Stacked side-by-side, numerous soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord make for a majestic site as you sail by. One of the most isolated places on the planet, this big-wall playground attracts climbers eager to scale the sheer rock faces that seem to shoot straight out from the sea.

Sillem Island

After a morning at sea and farther south along the east coast of Baffin Island, we reach Isabella Bay, an important summer and autumn feeding ground for a large population of bowhead whales.

Isabella Bay

Explore the coast of Baffin Island farther south before crossing Baffin Bay to Greenland, when we may encounter Greenland’s famous icebergs. Keep watch for humpback, sei, sperm and fin whales, as well as various species of seals such as ring and harp seal. Our team of experts entertain us with informative talks about wildlife, geology and epic tales of early explorers such as Franklin and Amundsen.

Baffin Island, At Sea

This compelling island seems to have more in common with Iceland than Greenland. While most of the interior is mountainous and glaciated, its beautiful shorelines boast black sandy beaches, unusual basalt columns, hot springs and dramatic lava formations. On a guided hike, enjoy a diversity of Arctic flora. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, a hotspot for marine life including humpback, fin, minke and bowhead whales. The small friendly village has a fascinating historical museum.

Disko Island

Known as the ‘birthplace of icebergs’, this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere in the Arctic. Hike past the husky sledge dogs to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Icefjord and stand in awe of its immensity. Sermeq Kujalleq, also known as Jakobshavn Glacier, is the most productive glacier – not only in Greenland but the entire Northern Hemisphere. It produces 20 million tonnes of ice each day, all floating into the Ilulissat Icefjord and Disko Bay. Conditions permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise at the mouth of the fjord and kayak through sea ice and icebergs. An optional 90-minute helicopter flight over the icefjord is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ilulissat

Greenland’s second largest town, Sisimiut is located approximately 54 kilometres (33.5 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that during summer, you can experience the midnight sun here. The town is famous for the old blue church with the gate made of whale bone. In the cosy museum next door to the church, you will find an excellent reconstruction of an Inuit turf house as well as exhibits of local history and early life in Greenland.

Sisimiut offers hiking trails with various degrees of difficulty. The easier trails take you through the town itself, its outskirts and into the mountains, where you will find spectacular vantage points.

Approximately 4,500 years ago, the Saqqaq culture arrived from Canada and settled in the area. They lived here for approximately 2,000 years, after which they mysteriously disappeared from the area. The Dorset culture arrived around 500 CE and stayed until the 1200s until they were replaced by the Thule culture, and today, the majority of the population of Sisimiut are descendants of the Thule culture.

Sisimiut

After an overnight sailing along Sondre Stromfjord we arrive in Kangerlussuaq, where we disembark. Farewell the crew and expedition team, and transfer to the airport for our charter flight to Toronto. Spend the night at Westin Toronto Airport Hotel.

Fly Kangerlussuaq to Toronto

Check out of your room and continue your journey.

Important note: In the spirit of expedition travel, we encourage exploration and adventure offering flexibility in challenging environments. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to weather, sea, pack-ice and other conditions beyond our control.

Depart Toronto
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Pricing per person & date

Northwest Passage: Calgary to Toronto | Sylvia Earle from USD 17,116
Departing Ending Duration
10 Aug 2023 26 Aug 2023 17

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES

Kayaking

Kayaking

Important Information

  • Inclusions

    • All transfers mentioned in the itinerary. 
    • Welcome reception / pre-embarkation briefing on Day 1.
    • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Calgary on Day 1.
    • One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Toronto on Day 16.
    • Charter flight from Calgary to Cambridge Bay on Day 2.
    • Charter flight from Kangerlussuaq to Toronto on Day 16.
    • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service.
    • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
    • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
    • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell receptions including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
    • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
    • Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
    • Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
    • One 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket.
    • Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage.
    • Comprehensive pre-departure information.
    • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
    • Gratuities for ship’s crew.
       

    Exclusions

    • International or domestic flights – unless specified in itinerary.
    • Transfers – unless specified in itinerary.
    • Airport arrival or departure taxes.
    • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
    • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
    • Hotels and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
    • Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
    • All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.
  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request, contact us for more details. 

  • Itinerary subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions. 

  • Departure date, season and availability.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

We ensure that we have as little negative impact on the wildlife as possible and minimise disturbances. We also encourage the education and visitation of protection and conservation services, specifically associated with the area. You will also find that we visit many locations and landmarks of which we encourage you to explore yet advise you to remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in pre-departure information and en-route by guides and staff. Furthermore, in our further efforts of supporting the communities, a percentage of the funds generated from your tour (10%) will go back to our charities and assist us supporting the next generation and the environment they live in.

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

For more information visit our sustainability page.

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