Depart on an overnight flight to Keflavik, Iceland, where the international airport lies about 45 minutes
Day 3: Reykjavik / Kangerlussuaq, Greenland—Embark
Depart this morning from Reykjavik’s domestic airport near the city center for our chartered flight to Greenland. From the air, the world's second-largest ice cap stretches as far as the eye can see, covering 660,000 square miles—about 80 percent of Greenland's land mass. We land in Kangerlussuaq, the gateway to western Greenland. This small town sits on an alluvial plain at the head of a 118-mile fjord near the edge of the Greenland ice sheet. On arrival, we board our expedition ship, the National Geographic Explorer. Sailing the length of Kangerlussuaq Fjord, the Explorer enters
Day 4: Greenland’s West Coast—Sisimiut
Dozens of deep fjords cut into Greenland’s west coast, many fed by glaciers winding down from the enormous ice cap that crowns the world's largest island. As we trace this
Day 5: At Sea in Baffin Bay
A relaxing day at sea crossing Baffin Bay allows time for leisurely activities aboard. Take in talks from our expedition staff about the riveting history of polar exploration, as well as the natural history of our High Arctic environs. Head up to the bridge to chat with the ship's officers and watch for whales off the bow. Tuck in to the library, where a collection of titles on the Arctic environment, wildlife and polar exploration invites settling into a comfortable chair. Enjoy the sauna or opt for a rigorous workout in in the fitness center, with its “million-dollar views.” Or simply relax in the observation lounge and watch the passing tableau.
Days 6–13: Exploring Canada's High Arctic
Our immersion in Canada's High Arctic begins with a visit to the small Inuit community of Pond Inlet on Lancaster Sound, a picturesque setting ringed by mountain ranges. Carved by Ice Age glaciers, Lancaster Sound is the eastern gateway to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. This group of more than 36,000 islands lies off the northeast edge of North America, sprawling over 550,000 square miles and including Nunavut and part of the Northwest Territories. English claims on the islands were based on the explorations in the 1570s by Martin Frobisher,
Lancaster Sound has been a favored hunting and fishing grounds for the Inuit and their ancestors for millennia, relying on its abundant natural resources for food, clothing, shelter and cultural sustenance. Our days in the area are spent looking for ringed seals, Arctic fox, walrus and polar bear, as well as beluga and bowhead whales. We may even spy the elusive narwhal, known for the long, spiraling tooth that projects up to 10 feet from its upper jaw. On a visit to Devon Island, walk with our ship's archaeologist to learn about the Thule people who once inhabited this region—the ancestors of all modern-day Inuit. Go ashore at Dundas Harbor to hike on the tundra and search for intriguing flora and fauna, including extensive moss beds interspersed with flowering vascular plants. We may also spy gyrfalcons, nesting above the ancient sod and stone dwellings once inhabited by the Thule.
Drawing upon Lindblad's decades of experience in polar waters, we make the most of our opportunity to explore the wild northern shores of Baffin Island. Lying within the Arctic territory of Nunavut, Baffin Island is the largest island in Canada and the fifth largest island in the world. It is likely the island was known to Pre-Columbian Norse explorers from Greenland and Iceland, and that it was the location of Helluland, spoken of in the Icelandic sagas. The island has been continuously inhabited by Inuit peoples for centuries.
With our daily plans determined by weather, tides
Day 14: At Sea in
We make our way back across the wide expanse of Baffin Bay with a relaxing day at sea. Enjoy talks from our expedition staff, chat with the ship's officers and look for wildlife from the bridge.
Day 15: Disko Bay &
Sail into Disko Bay, littered with massive icebergs, and continue up the Illulisat Icefjord to explore a tongue of the Greenland ice sheet. When Viking mariners under Erik the Red established a settlement on Greenland's more hospitable west coast in 985 AD, they discovered Disko Bay during a summer thaw. Rich in animal resources, including whales for oil, walruses for ivory and seals for their pelts, the region provided abundant products for early Norse settlers to trade with Iceland, the British Isles and mainland Europe. The Inuit later moved into the previously uninhabited region, and their traditional villages dot the shores today.
Located 155 miles north of the Arctic Circle,
Day 16: Exploring West Greenland
Our final day at sea is spent exploring more of the scenic fjords that indent Greenland's rugged west coast. Take a Zodiac cruise or paddle sea kayaks for a closer look at bobbing ice,
Days 17–18: Kangerlussuaq—Disembark / Reykjavik / Keflavik / Depart
Arriving once more in Kangerlussuaq, we disembark and return by