s soon as this summer, guests aboard Quark Expeditions can explore the wondrous Northwest Passage on a pair of 17-day itineraries: Epic High Arctic and In the Footsteps of Franklin.
Highlights awaiting intrepid explorers are the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, Inuit and Greenlandic communities, arctic wildlife, the Ilulissat Icefjord UNESCO World Heritage Site and the chance to set off in a Zodiac for close inspection of glaciers, fjords and icebergs.
Ottawa, Canada acts as the roundtrip jumping off point for flights to and from the embarkation and disembarkation ports of Resolute, Canada and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. The 132-guest Ocean Adventurer then serves as passengers’ home away from home sailing in between.
The Northwest Passage: Epic High Arctic route begins in Resolute, flanking the southern coast of Greenland. The first few days are dedicated to Canada’s High Arctic with a stop at Beechey Island where three of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition were laid to rest. Smith Sound gives way to the potentially northernmost part of the journey before continuing on to Qaanaaq.
The Greenland port was known as the “edge of known territory” by ancient philosophers. Life in the remote territory is conveyed by the culture and traditions of the Inuit people as well as a local museum. West Greenland rounds out the journey with magnificent glaciers, fjords and other communities nestled within the dramatic landscape.
In reverse, the Northwest Passage: In the Footsteps of Franklin itinerary starts in Kangerlussuaq with a more southerly path along Baffin Island. After discovering the natural canals of West Greenland’s Maniitsoq and spotting humpback whales among the archipelago, the Davis Strait leads the way to the Canadian High Arctic. Inuit communities, historic sites and natural fjords await exploration.
Of course, as its name implies, the opportunity to learn more about the titular expedition in the very setting where its 129 men and officers mysteriously lost their lives is certainly intriguing.
However, the intimacy in which the destination itself can be explored from the comfort of the ship is what most sets these journeys apart. Complimentary hiking excursions take guests onto the tundra for opportunities to photograph the beautiful surroundings and its inhabitants up close. Quark even ensures various lengths and levels of exertion are available to accommodate everyone.
Optionally offered are also sea kayaking and paddling excursions for even greater adventures in the polar region. These limited tours provide a genuine expedition experience that won’t soon be forgotten.
For 2018, In the Footsteps of Franklin can be reserved for August 26 to September 11, and Epic High Arctic can be booked for travel September 9 to September 25. At this time of year, the challenging circuit is eased as higher temperatures and currents open up the thick sea ice patches.
The 2018 mandatory transfer package includes transfers between the airport and hotel in Ottawa, one night’s pre- and post-expedition hotel stay with breakfast, charter flights to and from the embarkation and disembarkation ports and transfers to and from the ship.
Respectively returning in 2019 will be the same itineraries on August 27-September 12 and September 10-September 26.
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