Enjoy your first Zodiac-ride to Silver Cloud, waiting at anchor. Once all guests have embarked we will depart on our exciting expedition - “High Arctic Explorer”.
This evening, you will be introduced to your expedition leader and the expedition team. While we cruise the 100-mile-long Kangerlussuaq Fjord keep an eye for Peregrine Falcon, as this fjord is home to 130 pairs.
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, traveling by sled has been the primary means of winter transportation for centuries. You will see many dogs in town and we hope to meet the owner of a sled dog team and his dogs. He will tell us all about sledding and how the Greenlandic sled dog has been bred to be amongst the strongest working dogs in the world.
A nice hike around the town and into the outskirts will be offered. Stroll through the Sisimiut Museum with its 18th century wooden buildings and see some of the local handicraft, featuring native stonework and sealskin garments.
In the iceberg-laden waters surrounding the remote community of Uummannaq it is common to see whales, so be sure to join the expedition team out on deck during our approach. This area of Greenland is known for its huge basalt mountains, and this small hunting and fishing village rests at the foot of the heart-shaped Uummannaq Mountain, a name that translates to mean “in the shape of a seal’s heart”. Together we will take a guided walking tour of Uummannaq to see the granite church. Perhaps we will have a chance to listen to the local choir. During the walk we will learn how village life revolves around the halibut/fish-processing factory. The more energetic will have the opportunity to hike to what is known as the “summer residence of Santa Claus”.
Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the expedition team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. On board Silver Cloud a variety of diversions are available including lectures, spa treatments, a workout in the fitness center, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
Located in northern Baffin Island, Pond Inlet is a small, predominantly Inuit community with a population of roughly 1500 inhabitants. In 1818 the British explorer John Ross named a bay in the vicinity after an English astronomer and today Pond Inlet is considered one of Canada’s “jewels of the North”. Several glaciers and mountain ranges nearby make this one of the most picturesque communities.
Many archaeological sites of ancient Dorset and Thule peoples can be found near Pond Inlet. The Inuit had long hunted caribou, ringed and harp seals, fish, polar bears, walrus, narwhals, geese, ptarmigans and arctic hares, before European and American whalers came here to hunt bowhead whales.
Pond Inlet is known as a major center of Inuit art, especially printmaking and stone carving. View a variety of techniques and styles used in creating these unique pieces in the galleries in town.
Located in the northern part of Baffin Island, Buchan Gulf is an Important Bird Area with many Northern Fulmars nesting there. The area has several connecting fjords and spectacular scenery. In the water, narwhal and walrus have been seen, and polar bears are frequent visitors too. A tundra walk can be challenging, as the surrounding area consists of dense, spongy, thick moss carpets and might be boggy. There are several ancient Thule semi-subterranean winter home sites found in the area.
Found at the northern end of Baffin Island, Bylot Island runs 110 mi. from east to west and 60 mi. from north to south. Bylot is one of the largest uninhabited islands in the world. Vertical cliffs and numerous glaciers are found along the shore of Bylot Island. Polar bears are known to den here, while beluga and bowhead whales, narwhal and harp seals, as well as ringed seals frequent the area.
The Sirmilik National Park covers much of this area and harbors large populations of Thick-billed Murres (Brünnich’s Guillemots) and Black-legged Kittiwakes which we intend to see. The importance this area has for birds is shown in its designation as Important Bird Area (actually three different ones) and Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The southwest corner of Bylot Island’s southern end has moist lowland tundra that is ideal nesting habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds. More than 70 different species of birds can be found on Bylot Island. Canada’s largest breeding colony of Greater Snow Geese in the Canadian High Arctic is on this island.
Silver Cloud will cruise between Somerset Island and Prince of Wales Island in the Peel Sound. We will be following the track of two famous expeditions of the mid-19th century: Sir James Franklin’s and James Clark Ross’. The ice conditions will dictate how far the ship can go and we will look for polar bears on the ice and might take to the Zodiacs to get a closer look.
Silver Cloud will anchor in front of Beechey Island. Fringed by a narrow beach, windswept and barren, Beechey Island is associated with the tragic Franklin Expedition looking for the Northwest Passage. Three graves of members of the expedition as well as a cairn and some small buildings were found here during the search for the survivors of the expedition. Parts of Northumberland House, a supply depot and emergency shelter dating back to the 1850s and the Belcher Expedition, can still be seen on the island today.
We will go ashore to have a look at the remains of Franklin’s unfortunate stop and a monument that has been erected in memory of those who had perished on that expedition.
During lunch Silver Cloud will reposition to Devon Island. This is Canada’s sixth largest island and was first seen by Europeans in the early 17th century. The Thule culture had already settled there many centuries before and we will be looking for Thule qarmat homes. Other striking finds in this area are the many fossils of corals, crinoids and nautiloids that can be seen. Our team of experts will be leading and guiding you, looking for remains of the Thule, and for fossils and wildlife. Just across Lancaster Sound is Prince Leopold Island, a Canadian Important Bird Area, a federally listed migratory bird sanctuary, and a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site with large numbers of Thick-billed Murres, Northern Fulmars and Black-legged Kittiwakes breeding there between June and September.
Our second landing on Devon Island takes us ashore to the abandoned settlement of Dundas Harbor, called Talluruti in Inuktitut. Together we will explore the expanses of barren tundra while our onboard historian might describe the various attempts to settle the area over the years. In 1924 a Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment was established at Dundas Harbor. Three constables were stationed here to watch over the entrance into the famous Lancaster Sound—the gateway to the much sought after Northwest Passage. The remains of their outpost can still be seen. Birders will hope to see the Rough-legged Hawks that nest on the cliffs and we might catch a glimpse of grazing muskoxen.
With more than 76,000 sq. mi. Ellesmere Island is Canada’s third-largest and northernmost island. The Quttinirpaaq National Park makes up more than one-fifth of the island. Polar bears, arctic wolves, arctic foxes, ermines, muskoxen, Peary caribou, arctic hares, and collared lemmings are typical animals found on Ellesmere. In the waters we will look for ringed seal, bearded seal, and narwhal. Rare but not entirely impossible would be sightings of harp seal, harbor seal, and beluga, bowhead and killer whales.
Participate in onboard activities, attend a lecture by a member of the expedition team, or simply be on the lookout for wildlife this far north. A spa treatment, a visit to the sauna, a workout in the fitness center, there are many choices of how you want to spend the day. In the evening enjoy another special dining experience.
This afternoon, as we continue our exploration, we stop at Upernavik, one of the few settlements along the northern part of West Greenland. During our visit we will have a look at the local museum and stroll through the brightly colored village.
During the morning Silver Cloud will ply the Disko Bay en route to our destination along Disko Island’s east coast. Our 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. mi. Disko Island is Greenland’s second-largest island. We hope to offer tundra walks and will enjoy a Zodiac tour of the rugged coastline and the many icebergs that get stranded here after breaking off from the Jakobshavn Glacier.
Just after sunrise, be out on deck to see the fjord of the northern hemisphere’s most active glacier – Jakobshavn – often surrounded by icebergs in all shapes and sizes and in varying shades of white and turquoise. Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces nearly 15 sq. mi. of ice each year. While here, we may have the opportunity to see a demonstration of ancient fishing methods and enjoy some locally caught and prepared fish. During our guided walking tour of Ilulissat, we will visit the local history museum, located in the former home of Greenlandic folk hero and famed polar explorer Knud Rasmussen. Another tour continues via fishing boat, as we navigate amongst the many icebergs at the fjord’s entrance.
Alternatively, guests have the option to purchase an exciting helicopter excursion to see the magnificent Jakobshavn Icefjord by air (seats are limited).
Participate in final discussions and attend lectures that recapture our experiences in Greenland and the Canadian Far North. Take time to go through your pictures and to edit them, but definitely you want to attend our videographer’s presentation of our journey.
Tonight our captain would like to invite you to the Farewell Cocktail and Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud via Zodiac.
Note: Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your expedition leader and captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather and wildlife activity.
* Itinerary may be subject to change