International Polar Year


About the Itinerary:

Every day on board the vessel will be different than the last. Our approach to expedition learning weaves together elements of exciting shore landings, interpretive hikes, community visits, zodiac cruises, and ship-based exploration. We will also incorporate lectures, workshops, naturalist seminars and small group discussion into the education program. We also believe that participants need time for personal reflection, such as time alone on deck to soak up some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth.

As always, weather, ice, or other conditions may necessitate changes to this expedition itinerary. Flexibility is the key!

Jul. 29-30   
Ottawa, Canada: Our team of students, chaperones, scientists and expedition staff will assemble in Canada’s capital for two days of pre-expedition excitement! A behind-the-scenes tour of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Natural Heritage Building and many interesting workshops await us. We will also be the guests of honour at a gala IPY Expedition kick-off event!
Jul. 31  
Kuujjuaq, Nunavik: This morning, we board our First Air charter flight for Kuujjuaq, Nunavik! We will spend some time exploring the community before boarding our expedition vessel – the “Polar Ambassador”, checking into our cabins, casting off the lines, and setting sail north into Ungava Bay!
Aug. 1  
Hantzch Island: Hantzch Island is named after the German ornithologist and explorer Bernard Hantzch who worked in the Baffin Island area in the early 1900's. The island, near the mouth of Frobisher Bay is renowned for it's spectacular cliffs that jut out of the water and provide a protected nesting area for thousands of Thick-billed Murres and Black-Legged Kittiwakes. We will take a closer look at this island in Zodiacs and learn more about these fascinating "Penguins of the north".
Aug. 2   
Kekerton & Pangnirtung: Kekerten Island is a reminder of European whaling days of long ago. At one time, many commercial whaling stations dotted this area. Today, we will visit the remains of one such station. In the afternoon we plan to visit the Inuit Hamlet of Pangnirtung. Situated on a coastal plain along the shores of the stunning Pangnirtung Fjord, this community was once a Hudson Bay Company trading post. Today, we will visit community leaders and village Inuit elders to listen to their observations of the impact of climate change on their community and way of life, as well as visit the local artists' cooperative.
Aug. 3
Auyuittuq National Park: Following a breathtaking journey up the Pangnirtung Fjord, we find ourselves entering one of Canada’s most spectacular parks. With its glaciers, soaring mountains, and one of the most diverse selections of Arctic mammals and migratory birds, this will be a day of breathtaking grandeur. Lace up your hiking boots for a spectacular all-day trek to the Arctic Circle!
Aug. 4

Sunneshine Fjord: Sunneshine Fjord is located on the Arctic circle and is home to a Distance Early Warning (DEW) radar station left over from the Cold War era. We will anchor here and hold hands-on workshops on shore and if there is time, we may also hike into a valley to an awe-inspiring view of the fjord.

Aug. 5

Niginganiq (Isabella Bay) & Clyde River: Ninginganiq or Isabella Bay in English is a very special area that attracts large numbers of the "gentle giants" of the Arctic: the Bowhead Whale. The shallow shelf at the entrance of the bay is believed to protect the bay from predatory Orcas which may explain its popularity with the Bowheads. This bay was recently designated a National Wildlife Area by the Canadian Government after over 20 years of pressure from local Inuit and more recently, a petition campaign initiated by SOI alumni. From Ninginganiq we will continue our way north to Clyde River or "Kanngiqtugaapik" (nice little inlet) in Inuktitut which is a small mainly Inuit community tucked away in a sheltered bay.

Aug. 6
Sam Ford Fjord: Upon leaving Clyde River, we will sail north into the majestic Sam Ford Fjord. Immense, towering cliff walls carved thousands of years ago by ancient glaciers make Sam Ford Fjord one of the most impressive sights in the world. We will make a landing here and hike up to the one of the remnants of the glaciers that shaped the dramatic surrounding landscape.
Aug. 7 
Ipiutalik Point: Heading south down the craggy coast of Baffin Island, we will stop at Ipiutalik Point near the mouth of Home Bay. Ipiutalik, which means "tied - to keep from drifting away" in Inuktitut because of a narrow isthmus that connects the point to Baffin Island has been used by Inuit for generations as a walrus hunting camp and more recently as a whaling station. We will make a landing here and learn from the rich tapestry of history visible at this incredible location.
Aug. 8-9

Sea Days: As we continue heading south along the coast of Baffin Island we will start to wrap up presentations and workshops to help make sense of the experiences of the trip. We will discuss ways to apply the lessons learned on the expedition for when participants return home. There will also be plenty of opportunities to watch out for Icebergs and wildlife on deck!

Aug. 10
Monumental Island: We will visit the remote and rocky island off the west coast of Baffin Island – home to hundreds of Walrus and usually a good place to view Polar Bears!
 Aug. 11
Butterfly Bay: As the expedition winds down, we will stop in Butterfly Bay where there will be icebergs to see, beaches to cruise, wildlife to spot and some fantastic hills and tundra to hike. We will start to wrap up lectures and workshops to help make sense of the experiences of the trip. We will discuss ways to apply the lessons learned on the expedition for when participants return home.
Aug. 12
Iqaluit: Upon arriving to the capital of Canada’s newest territory, we will have the opportunity to explore the town, and be treated to a special reception by local officials. This afternoon we board our return charter flight back to Ottawa.
Aug. 13
Ottawa: Throughout this day, the team will bid fond farewells and begin their respective journeys home.