21408
Canada/Greenland
The Legendary Northwest Passage: An Arctic Expedition
Set sail for the storied Northwest Passage, the explorers’ Holy Grail that wasn’t discovered until 1906, and witness unbelievable arctic environments on this extraordinary expedition.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21408RJ
Length
19 days
Starts at
14,995
Special Offer
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19 days
18 nights
53 meals
18 B 17 L 18 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Arrive, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Edmonton
D
Executive Royal Hotel Leduc-Nisku at Edmonton Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Members of the ship’s staff will join us for dinner each night, reflect on the day’s events, and discuss what’s to come the next day. Many are active researchers with expertise in areas such as history, paleontology, geology, and biology. In the evenings, rotating members of the staff will offer educational activities and presentations on a variety of topics. At each expedition port of call, you will have a choice of field trips that will vary by location such as nature activities (minimal walking), short walks (about .5 - 1.5 miles), longer walks (2-3 miles) and photography sessions led by ship’s staff experts. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Expedition ships — more rugged than traditional sailing vessels — are designed to venture into remote landscapes, enabling us to seek opportunities for getting up close to nature and wildlife. These educational adventures have flexible schedules. The itinerary may change daily based on weather, sailing conditions, and potential wildlife sightings. There may also be serendipitous occasions to experience something unexpected. The ship’s educational staff includes experts with knowledge related to the program theme who will lead field trips and give presentations. The schedule that follows is tentative and a representative outline. Changes in the schedule, including ports of call, can be expected due to weather and other local conditions. Updates will be provided aboard ship.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a plated dinner with beverage options including coffee, tea, water, and a glass of beer or wine. Additional beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Charter Flight to Kugluktuk, Embark Ocean Endeavour
Kugluktuk (Coppermine)
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Due to the remote location of the ports, each embarkation and disembarkation will be done via zodiac rafts. Staff will be available for assistance. Flight times are subject to the unpredictable Arctic weather and the vagaries of flight servicing in remote destinations. Delays can, and often do occur. Should you require medication during the day please ensure you keep this with you.

Breakfast: Aboard the charter flight to Kugluktuk.

Morning: Transfer to the airport via motorcoach for our charter flight to Kangerlussuaq on board a 737 aircraft.

Lunch: Aboard the charter flight.

Afternoon: Arrive in Kugluktuk. We'll board a bus and transfer to the Ocean Endeavour for embarkation. Located at the mouth of the Coppermine River, southwest of Victoria Island on the Coronation Gulf, Kugluktuk is the westernmost community in Nunavut. Coppermine reverted to its original Inuinnaqtun name—Kugluktuk, meaning “place of moving waters”—on January 1st, 1996. The Coppermine River itself is designated a Canadian Heritage River for the important role it played as an exploration and fur trade route. Because the tundra is close to the tree line, a variety of wildlife can be viewed in the area, including grizzly bears, wolverines and moose, as well as tundra wildlife, such as musk ox, caribou, foxes, and wolves.

Dinner: Aboard ship we’ll have a 3-course a la carte meal with meat, seafood, and vegetarian options, plus water, coffee, and tea. Additional beverages are available for purchase. The chefs try to incorporate local delicacies when possible. Each night, we’ll be joined by fellow participants and various members of the ship’s staff.

Evening: At leisure. Rotating members of the ship’s staff will offer fun educational activities and presentations on a variety of topics such as history, biology, storytelling, and folk music.

DAY
3
Coronation Gulf
Coronation Gulf
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain. Each expedition day's schedule is subject to change due to wind/sea conditions. This is done with your safety in mind and we hope you understand that schedule changes are part of travelling aboard an expedition ship in this beautiful but remote part of the world!

Breakfast: Aboard ship, choose from hot and cold buffet offerings.

Morning: Located between Victoria Island and the Arctic coast of mainland Canada, the Coronation Gulf is an extensive body of water that is linked to the Arctic Ocean via the Dolphin and Union Strait on the west and by the Dease Strait and Queen Maud Gulf on the east. We will be exploring the area today making an opportunistic expedition stop.

Lunch: Aboard ship, choose from hot and cold buffet offerings.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Coronation Gulf. The gulf was named in 1821 by John Franklin in honour of the coronation of King George IV. The environment and Inuit cultural history of the region was studied by Rudolph Anderson and Diamond Jenness in 1916 as part of the Canadian Arctic Expedition.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
4
Wreck of the HMS Erebus
Gjoa Haven
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain. A dry suit will be provided for those who wish to snorkel.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning we'll gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: The HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel, built in Wales in 1826. She was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology and weighed 372 tons. The ship took part in the Ross Expedition from 1839 to 1843, and was abandoned during the legendary Franklin Expedition after becoming icebound during an attempt to locate the fabled Northwest Passage. Her sunken wreck had actually been designated a National Historic Site prior to being located in September of 2014 by a Parks Canada underwater archaeology team. Here we will be the first expedition voyagers allowed to snorkel the wreck, or for those not keen to get in the water, observe the wreck from the newly-constructed observation platform and via an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV).

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
5
Usqsuqtuuq (Gjøa Haven)
Gjoa Haven
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: In 1903, explorer Roald Amundsen, while looking for the Northwest Passage, sailed through the James Ross Strait and stopped at a natural harbour on the island’s south coast. Unable to proceed due to sea ice, he spent the winters of 1903–04 and 1904–05 at Usqsuqtuuq. While there, he learned Arctic living skills from the local Netsilik Inuit, skills that would later prove invaluable in his Antarctic explorations. He used his ship, Gjøa, as a base for explorations in the summer of 1904, sledding the Boothia Peninsula and travelling to the magnetic North Pole.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Gjøa Haven, which Roald Amundsen called "the finest little harbour in the world." Although Usqsuqtuuq is becoming more modern, many traditional Inuit activities are still being enjoyed, including throat singing, drum dancing, and hunting.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
6
Peel Sound
Peel Sound
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: As we head north up Peel Sound, we get into serious polar bear country and will be on the lookout for good spotting opportunities. Resource staff will be on deck searching for wildlife and contextualizing the mighty landscape through which we travel. After taking in the views on deck, gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy a Road Scholar exclusive cocktail party onboard.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
7
Parry Channel
Parry Channel
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac cruise/landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Parry Channel is named after Arctic explorer William Edward Parry who got as far as Melville Island in 1819 before being blocked by ice at McClure Strait. Running east to west through the Arctic islands, the Parry Channel provides myraid options for expedition stops.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue exploring Parry Channel. Spectacular landscapes create a perfect setting for hiking and exploring the geological diversity of the area.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
8
Qausuittuq National Park
Qausuittuq National Park
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Parks Canada and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) worked together with the community of Resolute Bay to create this new national park on Bathurst Island. After a local contest, the name of the park was selected: Qausuittuq means “place where the sun doesn’t rise”. During the winter months, the sun stays below the horizon for several months at a time. It is a traditional Inuit hunting ground, a vast habitat for the endangered Peary caribou, and a pristine example of Arctic wilderness. Ocean Endeavour passengers will be the first expedition vessel to visit the park since its opening in 2015, setting a precedent for travel to this region by exploring the untouched areas and helping to establish new criteria to govern future sustainable land use.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Qausuittuq National Park. Today represents an unparalleled opportunity to experience the true spirit of expedition, and become a part of Qausuittuq’s future.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
9
Beechey Island
Beechey Island
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: This morning we'll have a guided walk on Beechey Island. In 1845 Sir John Franklin took his expedition of 129 men and two ships into the Wellington Channel. Not a soul returned from the fateful expedition, and it was two years before search parties were launched. Aside from the bodies of the three souls buried here, only relics were found as clues to the disappearance. The three graves found at Beechey Island left no indication as to the fate of the rest of the British party—until recently. In the autumn of 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage. And in the fall of 2016, further searching led to the discovery of Franklin’s second ship: the Terror.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
10
Sirmilik National Park
Sirmilik National Park
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac cruise/landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Sirmilik National Park, located in the Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut, is known as “the place of glaciers” in Inuktitut. It is composed of three areas: most of Bylot Island, Oliver Sound, and Baffin Island’s Borden Peninsula. Beluga whales, seals, walruses, Peary caribou, Arctic foxes, Arctic hares, and wolves all call the area home—and the park is a migratory area for narwhals. A major seabird colony is found in Baillarge Bay and Bylot Island, the latter of which contains a rare colony of greater snow geese. This morning we'll cruise in our fleet of Zodiacs for a close-up look at glaciers, icebergs, and marine life residing off the floe edge.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue to take in the sights at Sirmilik National Park. Time spent on deck today should result in some good wildlife sightings, not to mention unbeatable photographic opportunities. The local glacial activity is of particular note, as are the sedimentary remains they deposits in the sea, leading to stunningly opaque, azure waters. Though the area became a national park in 2001, it continues to be inhabited by the Inuit who continue to hunt and fish the area as their ancestors did.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
11
Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Arrive to Mittimatalik. This bustling Arctic community is surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the eastern Arctic. We will have a chance to explore the town, including its excellent library and other facilities. After some free time to explore the town, we will be treated to a cultural presentation from local citizens sharing their culture through demonstrating throat singing and arctic games.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
12
Northeast Baffin Fjords
Northeast Baffin
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Possibility of rough seas.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Today will be an expedition day in the truest sense as we navigate the fjords of northeast Baffin Island. Baffin’s fjords are striking, affording stunning perspectives on geological processes. The Ocean Endeavour is the perfect vessel for exploring these hidden treasures of the north, as her manoeuvrability and shallow draft allows her to access regions that would be impassable to larger vessels. Staff will be on alert for changing weather and ice conditions and use their judgement as to which route along the coast will be the most spectacular. After taking in the views on deck, gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue to explore North Baffin Island. Our time here will be exploratory in every sense, and we look forward to seeing what the island has to offer us. Gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
13
Auyuittuq National Park
Auyuittuq National Park
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac cruise/landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Located on the Cumberland Peninsula, Auyuittuq National Park (“the land that never melts”) transitioned from a national park reserve to a full national park in 2000. It is home to little vegetation, although plants like mountain avens and saxifrage eke out lives on the barren terrain. Only twelve species of mammal call this remarkable area home due to the exceptionally low vegetation supply.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue exploring Auyuittuq National Park. Auyuittuq is noted for spectacular fjords, glaciers, and ice fields—it is these features that will be the subject of our visit as we take in the area over the course of a expedition day.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
14
East Baffin
East Coast Baffin
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Today we will explore the eastern coast of Baffin Island or Qikiqtaaluk, the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world, with a population of over 11,000.The coastline of Baffin Island is highly indented, particularly on the east and north. Large bays such as those of Frobisher Bay and Cumberland Sound are the largest and cut deeply into the southeast coast. The island's immensity and bewildering coastline confused early explorers and concealed its geography until recent times. Here we'll enjoy a guided walk to explore the rugged coastline.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: It was likely here that one of the great ice sheets that covered most of Canada originated some 18,000 years ago, and ice lingered on the island until almost 1500 years ago; vast areas are still sheathed in ice year-round. Today, the Penny Ice Cap and the Barnes Ice Cap are the largest ice caps on the island they are both remnants of the Laurentide ice sheet that once covered much of the North American continent. Both are currently in a state of retreat. Weather, wildlife, and sea conditions will influence our choice of landings during the days of exploration.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
15
At Sea - Davis Strait
Davis Strait
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Possibility of rough seas.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: While crossing Davis Strait towards Greenland, we'll relax and enjoy onboard lectures and opportunities to watch for wildlife from the ship's decks.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Expect to participate in workshops, engage in discussions and hear expert reflection on the journey thus far, and a look forward to the exciting trip finale that awaits.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
16
Ilulissat Icefjord
Ilulissat
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: Venturing 250km north of the Arctic Circle, we find the stunning coastal community of Illulissat. Illulissat translates literally into "iceberg," and there couldn't be a more fitting name. Our visit will include time in the colorful town and a chance to hike out to an elevated viewpoint where we can observe the great fields of ice.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Illulissat. We will cruise in our fleets of zodiacs in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Illulissat Icefjord. The Icefjord is where we find the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier, one of the most active and fastest moving in the world at 19m per day and calving more than 35 square kilometers of ice annually. The glacier has been the object of scientific attention for 250 years, and, because of its relative ease of accessibility, has significantly added to the understanding of ice-cap glaciology, climate change, and related geomorphic processes.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
17
Itilleq Fjord
Itilleq Fjord
B,L,D
Ocean Endeavour

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: The west Greenland coastline is a rich mixture of fishing communities, myriad islands, and complex coastal waterways. We will be making an expedition stop here to explore the Greenlandic landscapes.

Lunch: Aboard ship.

Afternoon: This afternoon, gather in the onboard meeting space for a lecture from one of the ship's knowledgeable resource staff.

Dinner: Aboard ship.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy evening activities aboard the Ocean Endeavour.

DAY
18
Kangerlussuaq, Disembark, Charter Flight to Toronto
Toronto
B,L,D
Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto Int'l Airport

Activity note: Zodiac landing; possibility of rough seas; getting in/out of Zodiac with assistance from staff. Walking distances up to 2 miles on uneven and hilly terrain. Flight times are subject to the unpredictable Arctic weather and the vagaries of flight servicing in remote destinations. Delays can, and often do occur. Should you require medication during the day please ensure you keep this with you.

Breakfast: Aboard ship.

Morning: We will make our journey down spectacular Sondre Stromfjord, and early risers will have a chance to experience its beauty. Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery! Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, means ‘the big fjord.’ Today we will disembark the Ocean Endeavour and transfer to the airport for our return flights.

Lunch: Boxed lunches available prior to disembarkation.

Afternoon: In flight to Toronto.

Dinner: Served onboard en route to Toronto.

Evening: Evening arrival to Toronto. We'll gather our baggage, transfer to the hotel, and check-in. Relax for the rest of the evening after a full day of travel and prepare for your journey home tomorrow.

DAY
19
Program Concludes
Toronto
B

Activity note: Hotel check out by 12:00 p.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation to Last Location.”

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!