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Into and Out of the Northwest Passage: A Tale of Two Trips

Chuck Ludlam joined Adventure Canada as a guest for two expeditions, travelling on both Into and Out of the Northwest Passage in 2018. Here he reminisces about the individual experiences of each trip, and how together they helped him form a more complete impression of the Arctic.
Ilulissat Glacier

© Scott Forsyth

When I signed up for the Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada, it was obvious that I had to sign up for both trips. Back to back. Thirty-three days. And it was a brilliant decision.

My friends from the first trip will never know what they missed on the second trip and the same for my friends on the second trip. I won’t tell them as they’d both feel bad. The two trips were quite different—even on the occasions where we visited the same site. Seeing the same site on a sunny day was completely different than seeing it in a blizzard.

One trip saw much more wildlife—a huge scrum of walrus, four hundred belugas, three herds of muskoxen, and an up-close viewing of a mother and cubs hunting on the ice. But the other had a big focus on climate change and superb Inuit Cultural Educators—and we were bailed out multiple times by icebreakers.

Walruses

© Dennis Minty

Two thirds of the thirty expert interpreters were different between the two trips. And the two groups of travellers were quite different. The weather was completely different. On both trips we visited sites that Adventure Canada had never visited before. But the key is simply playing odds: the more time you spend in the Arctic, the more you see. And you see much, much more. The Arctic has moods and seasons. Sometimes it’s intense and sometimes it’s sublime.

You can’t plan it or organize it. And for most of us, we have one shot at the Arctic: hedging your bets with one trip makes no sense. I am delighted I took the time to soak it all in. No holds barred. All in. That’s the way to live life to the fullest.

About the Author

Chuck Ludlam

Chuck Ludlam

Adventure Canada Guest

Chuck Ludlam joined Adventure Canada for two expeditions in 2018. He travelled on both Into and Out of the Northwest Passage.