Voyage 7418

Silver Explorer: Kangerlussuaq to Nome

 

 

Day 1 - August 9, 2014 - Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

The day started overcast with some light rain. After the transfer operated by Zodiac, the guests were attending their first lunch on board with some glimpses of sunshine. A safety drill was conducted, at 17:00 the anchor was lifted, and we sailed off for Sisimiut, Greenland.


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Day 2 - August 10, 2014 - Sisimiut, Greenland

Those eight guests who did not join in on the city tour were able to join glaciologist Luciano Bernachi and myself for a strenuous three hour, 10 – 12 km hike through town and out amongst the hills and tundra surrounding Sisimiut.


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Day 3 - August 11, 2014 - Ilulissat, Greendland

The two cruises were wonderful. As it usually happens when playing and moving around icebergs, time flashed by very quickly. I picked up small bits of ice to explain the many interesting things that can be seen in glacier ice.


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Day 4 - August 12, 2014 - Saqqaq and Qutdligssat, Disko Bay, Greenland

We were tracking northwards towards Disko Bay. Accompanied by massive icebergs as we made our approach to Saqqaq, we were delighted to witness an unusually active and indeed prolonged performance from a feeding Humpback Whale


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Day 5 - August 13, 2014 - Ukkusissat and Marmorilik

Several members of the community, including the local school teacher, came aboard the Silver Explorer to tell us a bit about their village, as well as to show us some of their traditional clothing. It was a wonderful experience, topped by the donating of books and school-supplies by some of our guests.


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Day 7 - August 15, 2014 - Upernavik, Greenland

A natural harbour lies under rocky slopes that are dotted with the usual array of colourful houses, reds, blues, yellows and greens. The landing facilities are somewhat limited, i.e. one bouncing, floating pontoon encircled by a dozen or so small fibreglass boats.


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Day 8 - August 16, 2014 - Cruising Baffin Bay

On our way into Canadian waters we enjoyed a day at sea with lectures and entertainment. The guests were guided into the mysteries of the oceans’ current system and the beautiful and interesting world of arctic flowers and their coping with this harsh environment of frost, cold winds and long winter darkness.


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Day 9 - August 17, 2014 - Pond Inlet, Nunavut Canada

As the sun approached the horizon casting spectacular light across the northern entrance of Eclipse Sound, I spotted small blows dotting the waters around us. This could mean only two things, Beluga Whales or Narwhals!!


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Day 10 - August 18, 2014 - Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada

We offered two Zodiac-cruises, so I drove and explained to guests the various interesting features of glacier fronts, the mechanics and types of calving that can be seen, and general information about ice and icebergs.


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Day 11 - August 19, 2014 -  Beechey Island and Prince Regent Sound 

 

Peter Damish spoke of the trials of the explorations of the Northwest Passage and the savage loss of life. We observed a moment of silence, huddled together in our warmest clothes, thinking of those who perished in this coldest and harshest of environments.

 


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Day 12 - August 20, 2014 - Prince Regent Inlet and Billot Strait

While watching the whales, something caught my eye on a distant ice floe, and upon closer observation, it turned out to be a Polar Bear mother and cub. The captain manoeuvred the ship perfectly next to the ice where the two bears were resting. Curiosity got the best of them and they came over to the ship for a look.


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Day 13 - August 21, 2014 - Port Ross and Peel Sound, Canada

Now we found ourselves closely following the icebreaker and it was quite fascinating to observe the two ships working in partnership through the extensive sea ice still left over from last year’s winter. It was simply great to be on a true expedition!


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Day 14 - August 22, 2014 - At sea, Victoria Strait, Canada

I might add that proceedings were briefly interrupted when Silver Explorer passed close by a Polar Bear, which proceeded to stand on its hind legs twice with the setting sun on its back, as if to have the final word on yet another memorable day working our way through the ice-world of the Far North.


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Day 15 - August 23, 2014 - Day at sea

Open water was now in front of us. It was time to give a great cheer to the crew of the icebreaker. A delegation of the icebreaker was welcomed enthusiastically on board by crew and guests.


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Day 16 - August 24, 2014 - Cambridge Bay Nunavut, Canada

A highlight of our visit was the cultural performance held in the community hall, and the wreck of Maud, a ship built by Roald Amundsen which served on two Arctic voyages for him.


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Day 17 - August 25, 2014 - Day at Sea, Dolphin and Union Strait, en route to Smoking Hills, Canada

During Recap & Briefing we learned about the plans for the following day -in a hardly visited place called Smoking Hills, where sulphur rich coal is permanently in combustion along the shore. Several of us went onto the stage for a few minutes of presentation on various subjects relevant for the past couple of days.


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Day 18 - August 26, 2014 - Smoking Hills, Northwest Territories, Canada

Our morning’s activity was a Zodiac-cruise of the amazingly technicoloured Smoking Hills, first written about by Franklin in 1826 but known about by the indigenous population for possibly thousands of years. Tracing a path along the sea edge at the base of the hills, we could see in detail the exposed permafrost banks as well as the vents emitting steam from the lignite deposits below.


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Day 19 - August 27, 2014 - Tuktoyaktuk 

An opportunity to taste some local food and to experience the pride of the people who prepared it made it all worthwhile. Fish, seal and even Beluga Whale were all on hand for us to sample. We then sat back to watch a cultural performance that included some talented athletes participating in a series of events known locally as the Arctic games.


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Day 20 - August 28, 2014 - King Point and Herschel Island, Yukon, Canada

Once again upon landing we could see fresh bear, wolf and fox tracks along the damp sand of the beach. Imagine a Park so beautiful but also so remote that the Park Rangers had flown in specifically to support our visit!


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Day 21 - August 29, 2014 - At sea, Beaufort Sea en route to Nome, Alaska

Peter Damisch, our historian, hosted the teatime Trivia quiz. He chose our solar system as the topic for the questions and had us all scratching our heads between sampling the freshly made scones with clotted cream and jam. I still haven’t worked out which is supposed to go on first, cream or jam?


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Day 22 - August 30, 2014 - Day at sea

With cordial speeches from the Expedition Leader Stefan Kredel and Captain Alexander Golubev, we let the beautiful days of the expedition go through our minds. All the beautiful, historical and interesting sites we had visited, the stunning landscapes and the exceptional experience of travelling through the ice-covered sea.


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