Photo Story

What to Expect on an Arctic Expedition Landing

© Dennis Minty

Whether trekking through stunning landscapes or meeting remarkable locals, we seek to get off the ship and explore once, twice, or even three times each day. Here’s a handy guide on going ashore in the Arctic. (Don’t worry—we’ll walk you through these procedures many more times on your journey!)
Boots and rainpants on the beach

© Dennis Minty

Dress for the Weather

Almost everywhere Adventure Canada travels, conditions can be, well—invigorating! Before joining us, you’ll receive a list of recommended warm and wet-weather clothes to bring along. Once you’re aboard ship, we’ll issue you appropriately sized rubber boots and a lifejacket. Then, before each daily excursion, we’ll update you on the conditions and suggest how you might want to dress.

Torngat mountains traveller

© Jen Derbach

Get Booted and Suited

While you can certainly keep your outerwear in your cabin, most guests avoid the clutter by utilizing our warm, well-ventilated mudroom where you’ll have your own locker. You can gear up there before each excursion, and afterwards you can hang your stuff to dry.

To avoid crowding, we’ll call you to the mudroom by your chosen activity level—advanced hikers, moderate hikers, and so forth—or by your pre-assigned “colour group”—yellows first today, greens first tomorrow, and so on. Don’t forget your camera, binoculars, and cabin key card!

Zodiac boarding from gangway

© Martin Lipman

Make for the Gangway

Once you’re geared up, head for the gangway to transfer into a waiting Zodiac. At the adjacent computer station, “scan out” with your cabin key card so we know you’re off the ship (and be sure to scan in when you come back aboard!). Mind the friendly Adventure Canada expedition team members at the gangway, who will check your lifejacket and let you know when you can safely board the Zodiac.

Zodiac landing on rocky beach

© Martin Lipman

Stay High and Dry

There are two kinds of Zodiac landings: dry and wet. Dry landings are at a convenient jetty; wet means there’s no dock available. On wet landings, which make up almost all of our Arctic landings, your driver will nose the Zodiac as near to shore as possible—but almost inevitably, you’ll be disembarking into shallow water. Hence the rubber boots and waterproof pants!

When instructed, slide forward to the Zodiac’s bow, then rotate your feet back toward the motor, and swing them out over the water. Next, having locked wrists with a member of the Adventure Canada shore team, step through the surf to dry land. To re-board the Zodiac, you’ll do the same procedure in reverse.

Hikers at beechey island

© Scott Forsyth

Go on a Heckuva Hike

Usually, once you’re above the tide line, you’ll be able to swap your rubber boots for hiking boots and jettison your life jacket and other excess gear for the shore team to look after. Let the landing activities begin!

Maybe you’d like to join an intense advanced hike, following trained guides on an ambitious trek. Perhaps a moderate walk with more photography opportunities would better suit you. Or there’s always relaxed beach-combing, with Adventure Canada botanists, bird experts, artists, or cultural educators. You can choose the activity that best suits your pace.

Eclipse channel torngats

© Jen Derbach

Roam a Wild Landscape

Occasionally, rather than breaking into organized groups, you’ll simply be free to roam. Remember to watch the time so you don’t miss “last Zodiac,” when the final landing craft returns to the ship.

Also, remember the principles of regenerative tourism. Take only pictures, leave only footprints, and stay within view of a guide. Be especially respectful around archeological sites, ancient graves, historic structures, and delicate flora and fauna—which, of course, we’ll brief you about if we know of them in advance.

Randy Edmunds bear guard

© Scott Forsyth

Bear guard Randy Edmunds

Be “Bear Aware”

Much of the North is polar bear habitat, meaning our landings will be scouted and accompanied by trained guards. They’ll be wearing orange vests and carrying radios, binoculars, firearms, and other deterrents. Please don’t approach or distract a bear guard—they need to stay vigilant to keep us all safe.

On organized hikes, stay behind the hike leader, and don’t stray out of sight of the group. On free-roaming landings, always stay within the designated perimeter, ringed by the prominently situated guards.

Dancing Gjoa Haven

© Scott Forsyth

Make Friends in Faraway Places

Adventure Canada expeditions are culturally immersive, featuring welcoming visits to remarkable communities. Of course, we seek to be good guests. There’s lots of us, and we don’t want our hosts to feel overwhelmed. Especially in Inuit communities, please be respectful of cultural and socio-economic differences.

Before photographing folks, introduce yourself and ask their permission. When purchasing art, handicrafts, or other souvenirs, don’t haggle. Try not to wander through people’s yards or block traffic. And, be friendly and feel free to strike up conversations—our similarities are always greater than our differences!