Expedition Journal

High Arctic Explorer

Aug. 13–Aug. 24, 2022

© Steven Rose

The sun just peaked through the clouds and shined on the ice giving it a magical feel. We enjoyed the calm waters and were even surprised with a hot chocolate delivery, helping to warm us up for the remainder of our cruise.


HI22 2 Map 1x1 4x 100
  • Day 0: Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • Day 1: Ottawa, ON, Canada to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
  • Day 2: Sisimiut
  • Day 3: Ilulissat
  • Day 4: At Sea
  • Day 5: Baffin Bay
  • Day 6: Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), NU, Canada
  • Day 7: Dundas Harbour and Croker Bay
  • Day 12: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Day 0 – Friday, August 12

Ottawa, ON, Canada

Coordinates: 45°42’N 75°69’W

Weather: Warm and cloudy

Man Proposes, Nature Disposes

Today we met up with fellow travellers and Adventure Canada expedition team members at the beautiful Fairmont Château Laurier in Ottawa!

At the pre-departure orientation, expedition leader, MJ Swan, informed us of a change to our itinerary. Due to heavy ice in and around Resolute, Nunavut, we would not be able to begin our journey in Resolute as planned. Alternatively, we get to begin our journey in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland! We were reminded that itineraries simply serve as guides and are always subject to change, particularly in the Arctic where wind, sea, and ice conditions are the dominant factor in what is possible on any given day.

Fairmont cheateau laurier hotel outside

© Olivia Clancy

We appreciated MJ communicating the itinerary change in detail; sharing the weekly ice charts and complications with aircraft and jet fuel availability. Unique challenges have been presented to the travel industry after two years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, and we realize there are factors outside of Adventure Canada’s control that impacted this decision. We were encouraged to bring with us a spirit of exploration and adventure, we were already getting the true experience of Arctic expedition travel—one that is largely reliant on the natural environment.

Although, there was a change in plans, the excitement among us prevailed for the High Arctic Explorer expedition!

Day 1 – Saturday, August 13

Ottawa, ON, Canada to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Coordinates: 66°57'N 50°58’W

Weather: Warm and sunny

Welcome to Greenland

We gathered early in the hotel lobby to await our shuttle to Ottawa International Airport. Anticipation built among the group as we began to board our flight to Kangerlussuaq.

Sunny zodiac kangerlussuaq

© Steven Rose

We were greeted in Kangerlussuaq with sunny, warm weather! After just a short Zodiac ride, we boarded the Ocean Endeavour. A welcome lunch was served on the back deck, and we all enjoyed time outside marvelling at the beautiful views of Sondrestrom Fjord. After a long day of travel, many chose to pack it in early and rest up for tomorrow's adventure.

Day 2 – Sunday, August 14


Coordinates: 66°56'N 53°40’W

Weather: Cool and breezy

Strolling and Exploring

This morning we visited Sisimiut, the second-largest community in Greenland next to Nuuk. We enjoyed a peaceful and informative walk through the picturesque community, alongside local guides. Many were delighted to stop at the museum and explore the local shops.

Guests guided walk sisimiut

© Steven Rose

Later, we indulged in a Taste of Place sampling of delicious local foods including muskox sausage and soup, muktuk, cod, shrimp, and local crab.

Returning on board in the afternoon, we received a heartwarming welcome to Kalaallit Nunaat from Inuit cultural educators.

Day 3 – Monday, August 15


Coordinates: 69°13'N 51°08’W

Weather: Sunny with some clouds

Bountiful Icebergs and Breathtaking Views

We started our day with a Zodiac cruise among towering icebergs, and boy it did not disappoint. The words spectacular and amazing were used in abundance.

The afternoon was spent visiting Ilulissat, home to the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a source of many of the icebergs in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Thanks to a large amount of ice in the harbour, the Zodiac ride from the ship to the community was much longer than anticipated, and everyone agreed it was well worth it to experience the beauty of Ilulissat from the water!

Zodiac cruise towering iceberg Ilulissat Icefjord

© Steven Rose

Taking a walk along the boardwalk, we marvelled at the breathtaking views as we made our way closer to the glacier.

Back on board, we had a look at Greenlandic dress and traditions with Inuit cultural educators Navarana K'avigak' Sørensen and Berda “Birdie” Larsen and learned about Arctic plants from botanist Dawn Bazley. This awe-inspiring day ended with some entertainment in the Nautilus Lounge from musician, Thomas Kovacs.

Day 4 – Tuesday, August 16

At Sea

Coordinates: 69°06’N 62°86’W

Weather: Foggy skies

Canada Here We Come

Enthusiasm spread as we sailed along the Davis Strait towards Baffin Bay. We enjoyed some on-board presentations from expedition team members, including Arctic Birds with naturalist Garry Donaldson, Photography with Steve Rose, Ice Navigation with geologist Paul Dean, and Artistic Perspective with the Artist-in-Residence Nancy “Niap” Saunders.

Foggy landscape vessel wake davis strait

© Steven Rose

Later, we indulged in another Taste of Place sampling of country food out on the back deck.

The film, Angry Inuk was played in the Nautilus Lounge to round out the evening. Many watched from their cabins and opted for a good night's rest to prepare for the early morning activities we had planned.

Day 5 – Wednesday, August 17

Baffin Bay

Coordinates: 73°11'N 63°57’W

Weather: Sun shaded by clouds

Good Morning Mr. White

Our very early morning began with a wake-up call at 04:30, as promised. We quickly forgot about the earliness of the hour as we heard the exciting announcement that a polar bear had been spotted on the sea ice about 100 metres from the ship! Everyone scrambled to get dressed and get out on deck to see magnificent Mr. White.

Polar bear walking on sea ice baffin bay

© Steven Rose

Soon after, we hopped into Zodiacs to explore the sea ice. The sun just peaked through the clouds and shined on the ice giving it a magical feel. We enjoyed the calm waters and were even surprised with a hot chocolate delivery, helping to warm us up for the remainder of our cruise.

The afternoon was filled with captivating presentations and workshops from naturalists Peter Croal and Martin Nweeia, Inuit cultural educators Randy Edmunds and Looee Okalik, and the Scientist-in-Residence, Andrew Orawiec. Thomas finished off this eventful day with a concert in the Nautilus Lounge.

Day 6 – Thursday, August 18

Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), NU, Canada

Coordinates: 72°42’N 77°58’W

Weather: Fluffy clouds

Hello Canada

We entered back into Canada as we made our way to Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). Upon our arrival on shore, the lovely and generous guides gave us a walking tour of their community. Ending at the community centre, hosts gave a cultural presentation, which included Arctic games, drum dancing, and throat singing!

Guests walking to local guide Mittimatalik

© Steven Rose

We bid a fond farewell to the hamlet of Mittimatalik and ventured towards Eclipse Sound and Navy Board Inlet. While many took in the beautiful scenery out on deck and enjoyed the odd iceberg passing by, others enjoyed the presentations in the Nautilus Lounge with Dawn and Peter. Cocktail hour was hosted on the back deck, accompanied with music from naturalist and musician, Sean Gallagher.

Day 7 – Friday, August 19

Dundas Harbour and Croker Bay

Coordinates: 74°44'N 83°11'W

Weather: Cloudy

The Beauty of the Canadian Arctic

Today we had the chance to visit Dundas Harbour on Devon Island – the largest uninhabited island in the world. With a quick Zodiac ride to shore, our first stop was visiting the long-ago deserted RCMP station. Our trusty bear monitors were stationed high above the area to keep us safe as we wandered around the buildings and grave sites of the RCMP officers who were stationed here so many years ago. This stop made us truly appreciate the beauty of the Canadian Arctic.

We planned for an afternoon of presentations until it was announced that polar bears had been sighted close to the ship! Everyone rushed outside to see the three majestic bears on the shore. The expedition team quickly got the Zodiacs back in the water, so that we could head out for a closer look. The bears were shy at first, then emerged onto the beach to say hello.

Guest hiking dundas harbour

© Steven Rose

Afterwards, we made our way into Croker Bay and witnessed the glacier calving a few times in just the short period we were there. The ice plunging into the water made a thunderous sound that echoed throughout the bay.

Rich Canadian history, iconic Arctic wildlife, and powerful glaciers. What a day!

Days 8-11

On August 20, we began to make our way back to Kangerlussuaq. At the daily briefing, MJ communicated the news about a storm brewing on the west coast of Greenland and how this may affect the upcoming days. He expressed that the next few days’ scheduled programming would be entirely dependent on the weather.

Guest on deck foggy landscape

© Steven Rose

As we sailed, our days were filled with a wide variety of on-board activities. We enjoyed a series of workshops and presentations from our amazing expedition team, sparking discussion among all. Many enjoyed conversations with local expedition team members, gaining a better understanding of the daily life of the places we visited on our journey, and deepening their cultural connection. Some also enjoyed the opportunity to connect with the expedition team on a more intimate level over a cappuccino or post-presentation Q&A.

Thomas kovacs playing guitar

© Steven Rose

The Compass Club quickly became a popular spot where many dove into the extensive on-board library and board game and puzzle collection! Evening entertainment included a mix of dance parties and campfire songs in the Nautilus Lounge with Thomas and Sean and of course, the game "Arctic bluff!" When the weather permitted, we enjoyed getting out on deck to see the beautiful view of scattered sea ice and unique icebergs. Participating in different mixes of activities, commonalities among fellow travellers emerged sparking lots (and lots) of storytelling.

Guests doing a puzzle on board

© Jen Derbach

Though unexpected, these necessary detours provided unique opportunities. We enjoyed the time to get to know fellow travellers and expedition team members on a deeper level over a cup of coffee or a puzzle. With an array of on-board activities and experiences, we appreciated the connections we created with the people and places around us.

Day 12 – Wednesday, August 24

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

Coordinates: 66°57'N 50°58’W

Weather: Sunny and cloudy

Goodbye, Friends

With a busy morning of packing and cleaning out our lockers, we disembarked the Ocean Endeavour with lots of time to spare before our charter flight home.

After checking in, we set out for a tour of the tundra just outside the community of Kangerlussuaq, where we spotted a caribou, muskox, and an Arctic hare! What a perfect end to our adventure.

Caribou in the grass kangerlussuaq

© Dennis Minty

We had a very comfortable flight to Toronto and bid a fond farewell to the expedition team members and fellow travellers, who we were proud to now call friends. Farewell!

About the Author

Loretta Rempel

Loretta Rempel

Client Services Representative

Loretta works with the Client Services Team for Adventure Canada and has been happily assisting travellers realize their dream since 2006.