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Arctic Expedition – off the Beaten Track!

Arctic Expedition – off the Beaten Track!

When I returned from an Arctic expedition cruise from the Canadian Arctic to Greenland I brought back 1000 pictures and many wonderful memories and stories to share. We embarked in Resolute Bay, Nunavut on the 75th parallel and ended 11 days and 1600 nautical miles later in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland on the Arctic Circle. Zodiac cruises among polar bears, seals & bird colonies, tundra hikes, remote Inuit villages, 8/10th sea ice, Jacobshavn icefjord and colourful Greenland houses – all unforgettable! You should go too! Click here to see our current Polar Expeditions After our zodiacs brought us close up to a Polar Bear in Griffin Bay, our first stop and one of many ‘wet landings’ was on Beechey Island. This gave us an historical perspective on the centuries-long quest to find the Northwest Passage and a new trade route across the top of the world. We hiked to the graves marking the winter camp of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin expedition. In search of the Northwest Passage, all 132 men died after their ships were crushed by the ice. Heading east, we visited Dundas Harbour, cruised along the glacier in Croker Bay, crossed Lancaster Sound – the ‘wildlife highway’ – and hiked in the solitude of beautiful Navy Board Inlet on the north coast of Baffin Island. At Cape Graham Moore we cruised in zodiacs beneath cliffs teeming with birdlife, including thick-billed murres, northern fulmars, black-legged kittiwakes and black guillemots and came across 2 Polar Bears. I made new friends in Pond Inlet, famous for its soapstone carvings. (See below for Lauren’s Nunavut adventure).  After we left Pond we headed south...

Canadian Arctic – Coolest Place on Earth!

On Top of the World – by Lauren Kramer “No scared?” asks my Inuit guide, Sam. Truth is, I was terrified. We’d just climbed a 5,000-foot-high, snow-covered mountain peak on Nunavut’s Bylot Island, our snowmobile just barely making it to the zenith. Perched at the top and about to begin a frightening, 75-degree vertical descent , I was silently praying we’d make it down alive. I squeezed my eyes shut as Sam freewheeled down the slope, and in minutes, we were back on the frozen ice of Pond Inlet, with the magnificence of Canada’s Arctic stretching endlessly before us. It was my idea to head north to Pond Inlet, a small Inuit community in northern Baffin Island. The literature promised polar bears, narwhals, beluga whales and seal watching, so I booked my flights, only later poring over the Nunavut map to find the tiny speck of the massive Arctic that constitutes Pond Inlet. I knew we’d travel to the edge of the ice. But I wasn’t prepared for the pristine yet desolate beauty of the Canadian Arctic, for the haunting whistling of seals swimming far below the surface and the strength, courage and determination of those who choose this place as home. From my airplane window, mammoth glaciers and mountains surged high above the ground, their surfaces coated by a heavy dusting of snow that flowed into frozen inlets like whipped cream off a hot dessert. There are no footprints here, no buildings, in fact, nothing down below to indicate human presence. Only the slow movement of the glaciers and the brief melting of snow and ice in the...

Shackleton’s chilling journey of 1914 – 1916

By intrepidexpress Long before Google maps, Gortex and GPS, the world was a very different place. With so much land yet to be discovered, ‘Explorer’ was a legitimate profession on the census. These roguish, charismatic heroes would return, ravished and ragged, from months of exposure to the severest of earth’s elements – all in the name of discovery, conquest and endurance. And one destination above all had the allure to attract more than its fair share of explorers… Antarctica. Nestled between the Polar achievements of Scott, Amundsen and Mawson, there is one story that stands out; not for its flag-planting, all-conquering race for recognition, but for its endurance and hope in the face of irrevocable isolation. The story of [Sir Ernest Henry] Shackleton (15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) and the plight of his Endurance crew is one of history’s greatest tales of survival. In 1914, as the world balanced on the unsteady precipice of peace, the Endurance set sail on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Shackleton’s aim was to cross the continent on foot, travelling from coast to coast via the pole. But the unusually cool summer meant that the ice pack had failed to break down as much as they anticipated. On entering the Weddell Sea, and before even reaching the shores of Antarctica, the Endurance could neither proceed nor retreat. Shackleton’s crew made many desperate but unsuccessful attempts to free their trapped ship. For eight months, the pack ice drifted, with the Endurance and her crew hostage to the frozen mass. Once the ship could no longer sustain the pressure of the ice, the hull began...
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