Sailing in the Canadian Arctic is a life-changing experience. An epic and harsh landscape, the Arctic is home to rolling tundra, immense glaciers, striking cliffs and magnificent wildlife, which ensures that this part of the world remains awe-inspiring for even the most seasoned of travellers. But elevating this polar region into something truly special is the centuries of human stories that make up its history.
COMMUNITIES OF THE NORTH
The revered High Arctic Explorer voyage journeys into the heart of the Canadian Arctic, sailing from the remote outpost of Resolute located above the Arctic Circle, stopping at bird sanctuaries, historical sites, Inuit communities and reaching the high latitudes of Ellesmere Island, just 500 nautical miles from the North Pole. Through the stories told by members of remote communities, such as Grise Fjord – the northernmost community in Canada, passengers will be educated on their extraordinary way of life and, in turn, will become ambassadors for their protection.
Piita Irniq, Inuit, prominent spokesperson and the second Commissioner of Nunavut, shares his story with visitors to Nunavut, a land he fought hard to make its own. ‘I was born in an igloo and lived in an igloo for the first eleven years of my life. I was living on the land for the first eleven years of my life, hunting and fishing and surviving from the land.’ Learning about the Inuit way of life is a unique opportunity available to very few. Guests on board One Ocean Expeditions’ vessels are humbled as they hear remarkable stories first-hand from Piita and other respected leaders.
Not only are the indigenous people of these regions pleased to share stories passed on by their elders, they truly welcome visitors into their way of life, sharing their traditions, offering handmade crafts and showcasing their talents. ‘We benefit from tourists coming into the community and buying local goods, such as carvings,’ says Piita Irniq. ‘Inuit at the community level are benefiting from the fact that we are promoting our own culture to the newcomer.
The more communities visited, the more people can learn about the Inuit.’ Since the establishment of One Ocean Expeditions in 2007, the company has contributed continuously to programs in Arctic communities, helping them to connect the far North with the south of Canada and the rest of the world.
EARLY ARCTIC EXPLORERS
The history of the world’s greatest explorers is often high on the list of reasons to visit the remote Canadian Arctic. Throughout the 1800s, well-known experienced explorers struggled through the Northwest Passage, its ice-choked waterways and sheer cliffs proving a worthy rival in the search for a passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. The story of Sir John Franklin’s expedition during the mid-18th century, and the enduring mystery of its fate, has gripped the imagination and intrigue of historians for more than 150 years. A partner in the 2014 discovery of HMS Erebus, Franklin’s long-lost ship, One Ocean Expeditions’ capable ice-strengthened vessels confidently navigate these waters in safety, enabling guests to experience the magic of one of the most iconic routes in maritime history.
Departing from Resolute, the Pathways to Franklin expedition follows the route sailed by Sir John Franklin, the famed explorer, visiting historic locations along the way including Beechey Island, where Franklin’s expedition spent its last comfortable winter between 1845-1846. A trip ashore to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach gives one pause to wonder on the bravery of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the frozen landscape. Presentations on the Arctic’s fascinating history accompany hikes onshore and Zodiac cruises to the base of glacial walls and cliffs teeming with migratory birdlife.
This is small-ship expedition cruising at its best, on board the perfect platforms to discover the High Arctic: Akademik Ioffe and Akademik Sergey Vavilov host less than 100 passengers and RCGS Resolute, the newest addition to the fleet, holds under 146 guests. The vessels maintain a minimum of 1A ice-strength classifications, internal stabilisers and expansive observation decks, as well as a 1:4 staff to passenger ratio offering a superb level of customer service. Named after the Inuit town Resolute, RCGS Resolute is designed for comfort, but easily manoeuvres through the ice floes of the Arctic, travelling to remote bays that are otherwise inaccessible.
Today, One Ocean Expeditions is integrating a newly developed educational program curating onboard exhibits, sourcing educational tools and leading excursions into the Arctic to teach about the area’s intriguing human history. Dr Katie Murray, Education Program Developer, explains; ‘Developing this type of programming is important... it imparts the knowledge of the past, providing a connection to us here in the present, and allows us to grow as a company and share that with our guests.’ With onboard historians, naturalists and geologists joining every voyage, an expedition with One Ocean Expeditions is as much about learning as it is about the experience of travel.
One Ocean Expeditions
Call 020 3126 4039
or visit www.oneoceanexpeditions.com
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