Pathways to Franklin
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This voyage will appeal to both lovers of wildlife and the dramatic history of early polar exploration. We will trace the routes of the early explorers on the Franklin expedition who sailed – and perished – in these waters as they sought a way through the fabled Northwest Passage.
- Discover the dramatic history of early polar exploration
- Visit Resolute, named after the HMS Resolute that was trapped in the ice there in 1850
- Keep on the lookout for polar bears, belugas and perhaps even an elusive narwal
- Try your hand at kayaking, take a photography seminar or enjoy some relaxing yoga
- Prince Leopold Island, a major migratory bird sanctuary, home to hundreds of thousands of birds
US$7,095 – Triple Share
US$8,095 – Twin Semi-Private Facilities
US$9,595 – Twin Private
US$10,695 – Superior
US$12,195 – Shackleton Suite
US$13,895 – One Ocean Suite
Tax: 5% GST
US$695 – Kayaking
US$1,995 – charter flight Edmonton – Resolute and return.
Prices are shown in US$ and are per person based on three people sharing a triple cabin or two people sharing regular cabins or suites. Single cabins are available for 1.5X the per person twin occupancy price for regular cabins or 2X for suites. Single rates are not available in the triple cabin category. Charter price includes taxes and fees.
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We depart Edmonton on our charter flight to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Cornwallis Island, the town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which was trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin Expedition. A weather station and airstrip made it a strategic outpost during the Cold War. On arrival, we meet our expedition team and prepare for our zodiac ride to the ship. After a welcome cocktail, we weigh anchor and depart Resolute in the early evening.
Beechey Island holds great historic importance in the story of the Northwest Passage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a vital role in the discovery by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling location for history buffs.
We cross the broad expanse of Lancaster Sound, spending time on the ship’s bridge, or outer decks looking for wildlife. The sound has been likened to the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. Approaching northern Baffin Island we are in awe of the spectacular Arctic landscape that seemingly stretches on forever. Cape Charles Yorke offers several great walking opportunities and we may enjoy some sightings of polar bears along this coast. We navigate the ship into nearby Elwin Inlet, a breathtaking fjord which is well protected and great for a zodiac cruise or hike onshore.
Having crossed Prince Regent Inlet overnight, we approach the towering bird cliffs of Prince Leopold Island in the morning. The island is home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. Numbering in the order of several hundred thousand birds, Prince Leopold Island is one of the most significant Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in the whole of the Canadian Arctic and makes for fantastic zodiac cruising.
Continuing to navigate the ship south into Prince Regent Inlet, we approach the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. The historic site of Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals and we keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears.
Having emerged from Bellot Strait, we cross Franklin Strait and arrive at Coningham Bay on the shore of Prince Of Wales Island. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage we hope to encounter one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic.
On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there – all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never came. We hope to visit Victory Point as we transit Victoria Strait, travelling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, all the while, learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic.
We explore The Royal Canadian Geographical Society Island and follow the footsteps of Sir Franklin and his crew.
We are in a very historic part of the Northwest Passage as we explore the waters of southern Victoria Strait and into the top of Queen Maud Gulf. Our itinerary today will be driven by the weather and ice conditions as we surround ourselves in history and search for wildlife. This evening, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and the chance to reflect on a what has been a superb 10-days of exploration in this pristine Arctic wilderness.
Our journey through the Arctic is all but complete as we disembark the ship in Cambridge Bay and make our way to the airport and a charter flight returns us to Edmonton. A transfer is provided from the airport to a central location downtown for those wishing to stay over in Edmonton. Otherwise you may choose to fly out of Edmonton to return home.
- Voyage aboard the Akademik Sergey Vavilov as outlined in itinerary
- All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea
- All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac, as applicable
- Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff
- Comprehensive pre-departure material
- Transfers between the airport and ship in Resolute
- Airfare to/from Edmonton
- 5% GST
- Charter flights
- Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature
- Fuel surcharges if imposed
This expedition includes a visit to one of the largest migratory bird sanctuaries in the world, and we enjoy frequent sightings of seals as well as beluga whale. The mythical narwhal inhabits these waters, and we also hope to encounter polar bears at special locations that we have discovered over the years.
Allison, one of our Arctic specialists, has done the Northwest Passage cruise. Read her blog or call to talk to her about her personal experience on board the Akademik Ioffe sailing this epic journey.
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.