August 8, 2023

Your Ultimate Guide to the Arctic

Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to the Arctic
Wild Women Expeditions’ four Arctic small ship expeditions are multi-layered with extreme wildlife and avian encounters, an unforgettable immersion in Dorset, Thule and Inuit culture and Viking and early explorer history. Aboard the Ocean Endeavour, these sub-zero safaris are incredibly biodiverse (pilot whales, belugas, narwhals, murres, dovekies) and sneakingly educational. The itineraries include national park hikes, studio tours, UNESCO sites and ghostly graves.

We’ve streamlined the four Arctic navigations below so you can easily decide which trip is best designed for you without suffering from brain freeze! Three trips depart from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland (the main flight hub) and pass through the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay but disembark in different destinations. Our Heart of the Arctic journey begins in Nunavut but ends in Greenland. We know, it’s a lot to juggle in your head, that’s why we created this guide.

Every Arctic small ship expedition is colored with thoughtful discussions, expert interpretation and the adrenalin found in seeing unfamiliar places. The landscape delivers rolling, ever-changing visuals. As a “Floating U” student, you’ll be immersed in the curriculum you longed for in high school: geology, botany, archeology, art, climate change, Inuit language and heritage. It will feel like recess all day long aboard the Ocean Endeavour! Learn about niche subjects via presentations, workshops and discussion panels that you won’t want to skip!

You’ll also be in the company of powerful storytellers and knowledge keepers—the Indigenous women of the Arctic. Onboard Indigenous expedition staff, scientists and local Inuit community members enrich and deepen the Arctic experience through throat singing, drumming, art, shared legends and ancestral history. Their inseparable connection to the land is one to be emulated. 

Are you looking for more Viking lore? A more intense art-driven experience? A maritime combo that includes Newfoundland and Labrador? Sign up for a genuine polar plunge or opt for a historic deep dive (minus the wetsuit) into the Northwest Passage. If you are set on seeing Beechey Island and Franklin’s memorial, only the Greenland and Arctic Canada and Into the Northwest Passage expeditions include this.

Let’s cruise through these options—

Into the Northwest Passage

17 days  |  August 27–September 12, 2024
Route: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Kugluktuk, Nunavut

European explorers searched in vain for this vital passage for 300 years. In 2024, you can join a crew of equally eager Wild Women and navigate one of the world’s most historic waterways on this brand-new Wild Women Expeditions trip. Follow the sea route of fearless early Arctic explorers from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, through the Ilulissat Icefjord (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Davis Strait to Kugluktuk, the westernmost community in Nunavut.

Cool factor: Attend a vibrant cultural performance by the talented Tununiq Arsarniit Theatre Group. There will be drum dancing, unforgettable throat singing and storytelling by Mittimatalik community members. 

You’ll also call in at Uqsuqtuuz (Gjoa Haven), home of the Guardians of Terror Bay. Twenty-one Inuit guardians were hired and trained by Parks Canada to patrol the national historic site 24/7 and report any unauthorized vessels. This is the first national historic site (home to the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) to be co-managed by Parks Canada and Inuit in Nunavut.

Even cooler: You’ll be part of the very first Wild Women explorers on this route! Norwegian seafaring legend, Roald Amundsen became the first European to cross the Northwest Passage thanks to the intel of the Inuit. He overwintered in the bay for two years during his search. The Passage was successfully navigated in 1903–06 by Amundsen in his tiny ship, Gjoa.

Greenland and Arctic Canada

12 days  |  August 3–15, 2024
Route: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Resolute, Nunavut

It’s easy to ease into the mesmerizing landscape and traditions of the colorful Inuit communities that pepper the dynamic Greenland coast and Nunavut. Cruise from Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Qausuittuq and onward to Resolute, Nunavut while experiencing the Arctic at the peak of summer in the buttery glow of the midnight sun.

Cool factor: You’ll have the option to hike on Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth! In Ilulissat, you’ll take in the iceberg parade that is described as a 34-mile-long (55 km) floating “natural sculpture park.” You will also see the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police post, a former Hudson’s Bay Company site at Dundas Harbour. Spend four days exploring Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), one of Canada’s newest National Marine Conservation Areas.

Even cooler: Travel down the longest fjord in the world, Kangerlussuaq Fjord (Søndre Strømfjord)! The fjord is 118 miles long (190 km) long and between .93 and 5 miles wide (1.5–8 km).

Greenland and Wild Labrador

15 days  |  September 28–October 12, 2024
Route: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to St. John’s, Newfoundland

This voyage slides through the Davis Strait to Torngat Mountains National Park, onward to Nain (Labrador’s most northerly community) to the archaeological remains of the Norse encampment at L’Anse Aux Meadows to the famous Narrows and Jellybean Row in St. John’s.

Cool factor: Hike and zodiac among the startling fall colors of Torngat Mountains National Park (Labrador’s first national park!). In Nain, visit the recently built (on permafrost!) Illusuak Cultural Centre. Designed by world-renowned architect Todd Saunders (known for designing the drop-dead-gorgeous Fogo Island Inn), the center allows you to step inside an igloo and take another step deep into Inuit culture through stories and song. 

Even cooler: At L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site, you’ll see full-scale replicas of traditional Norse sod buildings. Thor, Loki and Eric the Red’s indomitable spirit will impress you. You can also climb aboard the Snorri, a replica of the Viking ship that retraced Erickson’s course from Greenland to the Meadows!

Heart of the Arctic

13 days  |  July 22–August 3, 2024
Route: Iqaluit, Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

From Iqaluit (Inuktitut for “place of many fish”), Nunavut (situated at the chilly head of Frobisher Bay) to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, this voyage includes the diverse company of polar bears, belugas, local knowledge-keepers and dynamic Inuit artists. You’ll witness the delicate relationship shared between wildlife and humans that live harmoniously in these isolated artistic Arctic communities.

Cool factor: In Kimmirut, art has played a monumental role in the hamlet; it’s synonymous with highly polished ivory scrimshaw and jewelry depicting animals and Arctic life. In Kinngait, you’ll visit the studios of old and new generations of artists, carvers, and printmakers.

You’ll also have the opportunity to hike on the uninhabited Akpatok Island (the biggest island in Ungava Bay). It’s named for the akpat (the thick-billed murres) that nest on the precarious ledges of Akpatok’s limestone cliffs. This is Canada’s largest population of breeding murres! Ungava Bay (in northeastern Canada) separates Nunavik (the northernmost part of Quebec) from Baffin Island.

Even cooler: You’ll navigate the fast-moving waters of the 497mile (800 km) Hudson Strait. The outstretched arm of the Atlantic Ocean between Nunavut’s Baffin Island and Quebec links Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin with the Labrador Sea. English explorer Henry Hudson successfully navigated the strait in 1610 and it became the main marine artery for the Hudson’s Bay Company.

You should also know:

  • Upon booking, charter flight arrangements will be made for you by Wild Women Expeditions and added to your trip’s final balance.
  • These expeditions are not 100% Wild Women Expeditions or 100% women-only. There will be other passengers aboard the ship and a co-ed crew. The Wild Women group size can vary from 10 to 40 women.
  • For each booking, a handsome contribution will be made to Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund. This fund supports local youth outreach and community support programs and habitat projects in the Arctic.
  • The qajaq (the proper phonetic spelling of “kayak”) was intelligently invented by Inuit. This optional enhancement activity is an exciting add-on to any expedition. Kona mountain bike rentals are available at predetermined locations for guided excursions too. These activities are an additional cost and should be requested immediately as there is limited space for both!

About the Ocean Endeavour

The Ocean Endeavour is a 198-passenger ice-strengthened vessel with twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment and stabilizers. A doctor, paramedic and medical clinic offer complete peace of mind. The 450-foot-long (137 m) ship has several lounge areas, a library and multiple viewing decks to totally chill out by yourself or with your newfound crew!

Ready to book your expedition to the Arctic for 2024 before this ship has sailed? Book online directly or connect with one of our Polar Experts today! Contact us at or call us at 1-888-993-1222.

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