Northwest Passage via Simpson Strait

Two departures
Start: Resolute, Nunvaut, Canada
Finish: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada

Start: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada
Finish: Resolute, Nunavut, Canada

Resolute Bay

Day 1

Embarkation Day

Optional charter air transportation is available from Ottawa to Resolute or from Edmonton to Cambridge Bay. Call to inquire about rates and availability. If you do not purchase the charter air fare, you must make your way either to Resolute, Nunavut, or Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, where you will embark the Adventure Ship, Akademik Ioffe.

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Day 2

Lancaster Sound

The search for the Northwest Passage captured the imagination of explorers for centuries. Many risked fortunes, and some their lives to be the first to find the route to the Orient. Perhaps the most tragic expedition was that of Sir John Franklin. Today, on Beechey Island you might visit the graves of three who lost their lives during in pursuit of Franklin’s dream.

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Arctic Landscape

Day 3

Bellot Strait

Bellot Strait is a narrow channel that separates the mainland of North America from Somerset Island. Halfway through the Strait we will sail past Point Zenith, the northernmost point of mainland North America.

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Day 4

King William Island

Near Coborg Island, Franklin’s ships HMS Erebus and Terror were beset in ice for two winters. The ships were abandoned in 1848, north-northwest of Victory Point. Ten years passed before remains of the expedition were found under a cairn at Victory Point. Unlike the men of Franklin’s expedition, Raold Amundsen easily followed the westerns shore of King William Island, stopping to make scientific observations en route.

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Arctic Youngsters

Day 5

Gjoa Haven(Usqsuqtuuq)and Simpson Strait

Amundsen spent a winter in the small Inuit village of Usqsuqtuuq, which he renamed Gjoa Haven after his ship. Nearby is the Northwest Passage Territorial Park, with an interpretation center that pays tribute to Inuit culture and depicts the impact of European exploration on the region.

Simpson Strait, a shallow waterway that continues to defeat many ships, was the route taken by Amundsen during his first successful transit of the Northwest Passage. We will attempt to follow in his wake, if local conditions permit.

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Day 6-7

Jenny Lind Island

Moving sea ice, shallow water and limited charts make it impossible to predict in advance exactly which beaches we will explore and in which bays the Zodiacs will be lowered. That is the exhilaration of expedition style travel, every day begins with the element of the unknown.

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Arctic Poppy

Day 8

Holman, Northwest Territories

You enter the second of Canada’s three Arctic territories today, the Northwest Territories (NWT). We plan to visit the tiny community of Holman, where the indigenous people have established a print shop and artists’ cooperative.

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Day 9

Smoking Hills, NWT

Witnessing an extraordinary natural phenomenon will be our goal for the day. The bituminous shale of the Smoking Hills has been burning spontaneously for centuries. The phenomenon has affected the local vegetation and the acidity of the tundra ponds in the vicinity.

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Day 10-12

Amundsen Gulf to Queen Maud Gulf

The history of the Canadian Arctic is also the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Our shipboard historian will relate stories of the redcoats, the fur trade and the merchants who ruled the Canadian Arctic for nearly two centuries.

We will be on the alert for musk oxen, prehistoric looking beasts with shaggy coats and massive heads.

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Day 13

Cambridge Bay

We offer optional chartered air fare from Cambridge Bay to Edmonton, or from Resolute to Ottawa. Please call for costs and availability. Disembarkation is in Cambridge Bay or Resolute, depending on the dates of travel chosen.

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