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Sylvia Earle - 126 Guests

Northwest Passage

Toronto - Calgary, Canada

The icy and labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries. 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.


 

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Stand in awe of Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Hike on Devon Island, the world’s largest uninhabited island, which features stunning geology, fjords and glacial valleys to explore
  • On Beechey Island, visit memorials and graves of explorers from John Franklin’s expedition
  • Keep watch with the hope of spotting iconic Arctic wildlife including musk ox, polar bears, beluga whales, walrus and perhaps narwhal

DATES / RATES

Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jul 20, 2024Aug 05, 202417,676 18,829
Aug 03, 2024Aug 19, 202417,676 18,829
Rates are listed per person
Start DateEnd DateFrom EURFrom USD
Jul 20, 2024Aug 05, 202417,676 18,829
Aug 03, 2024Aug 19, 202417,676 18,829


ITINERARY

Day 1 Arrive Calgary
Upon arrival at Calgary, follow the signs to our pre-voyage hotel; Delta by Marriott Calgary In-Terminal Airport Hotel located within the airport. Should you already be in Calgary, make your way to the hotel. Check-in is from 3:00pm.  
Please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk, located in the lobby. Our team will run through your embarkation day, answer your questions, and give advice on the local area. They will also provide you with cabin tags for your luggage.   
Day at leisure.

Accommodation: Delta by Marriott Calgary In-Terminal Airport Hotel (or similar)

Day 2 Embarkation, Cambridge Bay
Meet your fellow expeditioners in the lobby to board our transfer coach to the terminal. Please ensure that your luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Any valuables or personal items should be placed in your hand luggage, as your main bag will be transferred separately to the ship upon arrival at Cambridge Bay. We suggest you wear layers, take a jacket, and waterproof clothing, as the weather in this region can be volatile. You will receive your Aurora jacket once onboard the ship.
We board our flight bound for northern Canada, where the Sylvia Earle awaits. Here we meet the friendly folk of Cambridge Bay, who greet us with open arms and host our time spent in this isolated community with enthusiasm.
In the late afternoon we board our zodiac`s to transfer to the ship, where there is time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening, meet your expedition team at the Captain`s Welcome Dinner.

Days 3–6 Expedition cruising
NOTE: In true expeditionary style, our itinerary for the following days is heavily dependent on unpredictable sea ice. The following places are where we hope to visit.

Prince Leopold Island
On the southern side of Lancaster Sound from Beechey Island lie the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island, a historic site where in 1848, English explorer James Clark Ross overwintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition. Prince Leopold Island is the most important bird sanctuary in the Canadian Arctic, with approximately 500,000 birds nesting here in summer. Ringed seals are often spotted on the sea ice around the island and polar bear often lurk nearby. The shallow gravel beds attract beluga whales, who come to moult in this part of the Arctic each summer.
Cunningham Inlet
On the north coast of Somerset Island, when factors such as weather and whale behaviour align, you might see the amazing spectacle of hundreds of beluga whales shedding their skin on shallow sandy banks. The local scenery makes for excellent guided walks, where waterway trails lead to waterfalls and higher ground
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.
Bellot Strait
A deep and windy waterway bordered by steep slopes, Bellot Strait is characterised by strong, swirling, tidal currents that require navigation to be undertaken close to times of slack water (four times a day). Point Zenith, the most northern continental point of the Americas is located in the strait.

NOTE: Due to swirling currents up to 10 knots, Bellot Strait is better transited during eastbound voyages because if it is blocked, there is the alternative to continue north through Peel Sound. On a westbound voyage, it would be necessary to make a long detour back north through Prince Regent Inlet.

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 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!
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 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.

Days 7-8 Beechey Island, Devon 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. 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.
At the western end of Devon Island lies Beechey Island, where we plan to land. Named after Frederick William Beechey, the island is one of Canada`s most important arctic sites and is a designated Canadian National Historic Site. During the Franklin expedition of 1845–46, Franklin attempted to sail through the Northwest Passage with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, with perilous results – three of his men are buried here. Roald Amundsen landed at Beechey Island in 1903, during the first successful voyage by ship to fully transit the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean
We hope to visit Dundas Harbour to enjoy offers walks on undulating tundra, and perhaps some birdwatching. Other possible places that we might visit include Croker Bay and Maxwell Bay. A dilapidated Royal Canadian Mounted Police outpost and remnants of a Hudson`s Bay Company trading post can be found here. In the bay, walruses are often present.

Days 9-11 Baffin Island
The east coast of Baffin Island features hidden bays that are feeding grounds for bowhead whales and where glaciers calve into the sea. Sail along inlets and fjords surrounded by towering mountains that feature impressive geology. Some of the places that we may visit include: Home Bay, Isabella Bay, Sillem Island, John Ford Fjord, Sam Ford Fjord and Scott Inlet. Conditions permitting, we hope to go ashore at Pond Inlet and be treated to a warm welcome from the local community.
Covered with mountains, icefields, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, Bylot provides nesting habitat for large numbers of thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes. We plan to sail along the coastline of Bylot Island to enjoy the scenery birdlife.

Day 10 Sillem 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.

Day 11 Isabella Bay
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.

Day 12 At Sea
We exit Canada and cross Baffin Bay to Greenland, where we may encounter the large icebergs that Greenland is famous for. Keep watch for 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.

Day 13 Qeqertarsuaq (Disko Island)
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. Zodiac cruise in Disko Bay, which features fascinating geology. It is also hotspot for marine life including humpback and minke whales.

Day 14 Ilulissat
Known as the "birthplace of icebergs", this region produces some of the most dazzling icebergs found anywhere on earth. Hike 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.
Optional helicopter flight (90 mins): this excursion is the only way you can get close to the gigantic glacier. The 12-seater helicopter departs from Ilulissat Airport and sweeps over hills, lakes and ice fjords. Land on the mountain at Kangia, in the middle of the preserved area, where you can revel in the incredible surroundings. On the return flight to Ilulissat, fly above the edge of the glacier with breathtaking views of the massive icebergs drifting in the fjord. The views of some of the largest icebergs that become stranded on a moraine underneath the water, just outside the town, offers a wonderful finale to this excursion. (Additional charge applies). Please note this excursion requires a minimum of 8 people to operate.

Day 15 Sisimiut
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.
Some 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.

Day 16 Disembark in Kangerlussuaq. Fly to Toronto
After an overnight sailing along Søndre Strømfjord we arrive in Kangerlussuaq, where we disembark for the final time. We’ll feast on a taste of Greenland at the lakeside Roklubben restaurant, where we enjoy a BBQ lunch before joining our guided tour to Reindeer Glacier. Greenland`s "ice sheet" covers 80 percent of the surface of the country. Reindeer Glacier, which stands as a 60-metre-high ice wall, offers visitors a clear contrast between land and ice. We travel on a tundra coach, looking for reindeer and musk oxen, while we hear stories of the area from our local guide. Once at the glacier we will walk parallel to its edge to discover it many moods and angles.
In the late afternoon we return to Kangerlussuaq airport to board our charter flight to Canada. Upon arrival at Toronto we are transferred in private coaches to our hotel for an overnight stay.
Accommodation: Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel (or similar)

Day 17 Depart Toronto
After breakfast, check out of your room and continue your journey.

Sylvia Earle (Luxury Expedition, 126-guests)

Due to sail in October 2021 our new ship honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 - this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia's long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife. Sylvia Earle will be actively involved in the development of her namesake.

(Click image to view Ship details)

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Inclusions
  • All transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
  • 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.

ADVENTURE OPTIONS
  • Sea Kayaking: USD 1,190 per person
  • Photography: FREE
  • Bird watching: FREE
  • Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations: FREE
  • Trips ashore: FREE
  • Walking: FREE
  • Whale and mammal spotting: FREE
  • Zodiac cruises: FREE

 

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DISCLAIMER: Rates are per person, subject to availability and can change at any time