Arrive in Kangerlussuaq and enjoy your first Zodiac ride to the Silver Cloud, waiting at anchor. Once all guests have embarked we depart on our exciting expedition – “Art and Wildlife of the Arctic”.
This evening, you will be introduced to your expedition leader and the expedition team.
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 north of the village of Qerqertarsuaq, 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.
Be out on deck to see the northern hemisphere’s most active glacier, the Jakobshavn Glacier, while approaching Ilulissat (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Known as the birthplace of icebergs, the Ilulissat Icefjord produces several million tons of ice each day. Its entrance is often surrounded by icebergs in all shapes and sizes and in varying shades of white and turquoise.
The town of Ilulissat is known for its long periods of calm and settled weather, but the climate is a bit colder due to its proximity to the fjord. 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, which used to be the home of famous arctic explorer Knud Rasmussen. South of town are several trails leading to the Icefjord, one of them a boardwalk.
We will also navigate amongst the many icebergs at the fjord’s entrance in local fishing boats getting amazing views and impressions.
Alternatively, guests have the option to purchase an exciting helicopter excursion to see the magnificent Jakobshavn Icefjord by air.
Located just north of the Arctic Circle, Sisimiut is the second-largest as well as 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. The Greenlandic sled dog has been bred to be amongst the strongest working dogs in the world and can be seen all over town.
Sisimiut has been used by different cultures and groups for almost 4500 years. Ruins of early settlements can still be seen west of the town. The Sisimiut Museum houses part of its collection in Greenland’s oldest surviving church as well as in a peat house. For those interested in tasting some of the local delicacies, the museum has prepared Greenlandic soup, shrimps, and dried fish which you can taste while visiting the museum.
Another typical and iconic ‘vehicle’ of transportation in the Arctic is the qajaq (better known as ‘kayak’) and although most Greenlandic hunters or fishermen use modern boats, many still have a qajaq. We hope to see a qajaq demonstration in Sisimiut’s harbor.
This morning we arrive in Greenland’s first town (1728) and current capital, Nuuk; “the heartland”.
We will have ample time to explore one of the smallest capitals in the world. Our leisurely walk through this picturesque harbor 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 Savior. At the Greenlandic National Museum we have the fantastic opportunity to see an outstanding collection of traditional hunting gear, art, colorful traditional clothing and the famous Qilakitsoq mummies.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call in Canada and the adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked library, enjoy a fine cognac at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard Silver Cloud.
Our first foray into Canada begins in the town of Iqaluit, located at the head of Frobisher Bay, an inlet of the North Atlantic extending into south-eastern Baffin Island. The Bay is so long that it was first taken to be the possible entrance of a Northwest Passage. Iqaluit is the capital of Canada’s newest territory, Nunavut, Inuktitut for “our land”. Nunavut is the least populated, but largest of Canada’s provinces and territories.
After completing formalities associated with customs and immigration, we go ashore and explore the edges of Canada’s “true north”. Depending on the tides (Iqaluit has a maximum tidal range of almost 35 ft.) we will either have a dry landing on a pier or a wet beach landing.
Our ship’s experts along with local guides will take us around Iqaluit and will lead us through the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum and the Nunavut Legislative Assembly Building, both housing incredible collections of Inuit artwork. The museum shop has some very interesting local prints for sale. Even walking through town there are many opportunities to see various pieces of artwork.
We will also visit the Silvia Grinnell Territorial Park west of Iqaluit for walks and hikes.
Named in honor of Sir John Franklin’s widow, uninhabited Lady Franklin Island is 25 miles off of Baffin Island’s Hall Peninsula. There are at least seven smaller, unnamed islands off its northwest shore that lend themselves to be explored by Zodiac, while Lady Franklin Island offers an abundance of bears, ducks, seals, and walrus.
This morning you might want to attend a lecture about Northern art, and find out how and why the Inuit took to art. Silver Cloud will arrive in Kimmirut, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police post and Hudson Bay Company trading center, in the late morning.
The terrain of Kimmirut is among the oldest on the planet, sitting on a variety of metamorphic rock formations and the village receives its name from a prominent rock feature. Kimmirut’s harbor has very powerful tides, with water levels varying by as much as 36 feet.
We visit this village to see the local arts and crafts. The Kimmirut artists blend regional styles and locally available materials. The most predominant kind of art is stone carving, although there is also a tradition of scrimshaw etchings done on walrus ivory. In recent years creating jewelry has become of interest. The material used for this are the semi-precious stones found in the Kimmirut area.
A morning at sea allows us to make good progress towards our next destination and to attend a lecture, seminar or workshop while heading further west towards Kinngait (Cape Dorset).
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 special piece as a souvenir of our visit. Traveling across the bay by Zodiac we can also 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 ancestors.
Today we will be in spectacular Wakeham Bay and the area of the small village of Kangiqsujuaq. In line with our search for art, we want to see how the locals interpret the Dorset culture mask petroglyphs found south of the village. Apart from the village visit, tundra walks might be on offer.
Today we explore around remote Akpatok Island at the northernmost extremity of the Labrador Peninsula. Steep and sheer limestone cliffs jut out of the cold waters. Encased in snow and surrounded with sea ice in the winter months, this uninhabited island lures huge amounts of wildlife, most notably the world’s largest population of breeding Thick-billed Murres, also known as Brünnich’s Guillemots (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 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 favorite summer home for polar bears as they wait for the winter ice to form.
On our way south from Akpatok we will be traveling along the Torngat Mountains National Park situated on the eastern side of Labrador’s northernmost point, sometimes described as the “Eastern Rocky Mountains”. Torngat Mountains National Park covers an area of 3,700 sq. mi. and is dotted with remnants of several cirque glaciers and has an outstanding array of geological features. The steep cliffs provide some of the best exposures to the earth’s geologic history. Although polar bears can often be seen hunting seals on the ice we are still too early in the season, but herds of Torngat Mountain and George River caribou migrate to and from their calving grounds and Inuit use the area to hunt, fish and travel throughout the park. Red and Arctic foxes will be looking for lemmings and voles. Harlequin Ducks, Peregrine Falcons, Barrow’s Goldeneye and Short-eared Owls are found within the park. While Minke whales tend to linger in bays, humpback and fin whales like to stay offshore.
South of Torngat Mountains National Park, and permission pending, we would like to visit Hebron, an abandoned Moravian settlement declared a National Historic Site.
Silver Cloud will be following the coastline, looking for the different whales.
A leisurely day at sea can be used to exchange notes with fellow travelers. As we make our way along Canada’s scenic coast, spend some time out on deck keeping an eye out for seabirds, dolphin, seals and migrating humpback, fin or blue whales, or listen to additional presentations by our expert natural history staff in the lecture theatre or in the comfort of your suite. Enjoy a fine cognac at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard Silver Cloud.
Twillingate is the self-proclaimed ‘Iceberg Capital of the World’, although it is highly unlikely that we should see any icebergs at this time of the year.
Once ashore by Zodiac, you will be taken by local bus to the “Prime Berth Museum” first, which could be well described as a commercial fishing heritage site. You will hear about the glory “salt fish days” before the cod fishery moratorium in the middle of the eighties of the last century let the busy settlement shrink. Afterwards you will visit several historic buildings packed with artifacts near the shoreline. The excursion also goes to the museum, the former house of an Anglican priest, right next to the church. Almost all the objects on display here are from 1900 to the early 1920s including a giant bicycle from the turn of the century. Afterwards you will have a good view over the Notre Dame Bay and the outer isles at Long Point Lighthouse.
During the afternoon we will continue on toward St. John’s. Our onboard videographer will present his Voyage-DVD, a good opportunity to recall all the different impressions of Greenland, Baffin Island and the Canadian coast.
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
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