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Published: October 4th 2018
“Across the fjord the conical mountains to the south displayed the most wonderful tints. One hill was of a dark red colour, so that, although the sky was actually clouded, it seemed as though here a flood of sunlight lingered. Nearby was a second hill which, at a distance, seemed of pale green. On the surface of the fjord there floated an iceberg, a fitting foreground to the inscrutable and snow-flecked mountains. - Seton Gordon, Amid Snowy Waters
To be at sea again. To feel that cold, salty spray!
We sailed through the steep sloped Sondrestrom Fjord and headed to a wild spot called Kangerlussuatsiaq, and then to the Greenlandic capital of Nuuk. These first couple of days were just a tease as the rest of the voyage had us in Canada's Arctic. The wilderness on the Canadian arctic shore is mind-boggling! Endless expanses of mountain ranges charging straight out of the sea, glaciers plummeting down to berg-filled bays and wildlife encounters of fairytale proportions.
It was late afternoon when we dropped the zodiacs in Powell Inlet on the southern shore Devon Island. We'd spotted a polar bear and cub in the rocks and wanted to get a closer look. Our intention was to slowly approach the bears but we were sidetracked by several groups of walrus. We hadn't seen walrus on the expedition so we jumped on the opportunity. The viewing was world class, but after a while we moved on to approach the bears... But we were distracted again by several hundred belugas, so we hung around for an hour or so. The bears were still on our list of 'things to
Devon Island Shore
The world's largest uninhabited island
do', so we tootled in our Zodiacs towards the steep western side of the inlet but our travel was hindered by narwhal... Then it got dark... We did not return to the ship disappointed however! It was a very nice excursion in an unnamed bay in relatively unknown Inlet on a rarely visited region of an almost unheard of island in one of the least seen parts of Canada's least visited territory. Not many folks come this way!
We never got to see our bears up close but we had seen our fair share of bear prior to our visit to the Inlet. Nature just kept throwing awesome distractions at us... Gotta love it! Ice
It was a low ice year in the arctic - a trend these days. However, this was not apparent in the parts we tried to access. The ice prevented us from entering Barrow Strait and we could not get to our final destination of Resolute Bay on Cornwalis Island - the ice was just too heavy to effectively get through. The ice was jammed in key locations, blocking Canada's mighty arctic labyrinth. It made for some amazing opportunities though. If
it weren't for the ice we'd have stuck to our "planned" itinerary and missed the epic encounters of wildlife. We had a very close encounter with a Bowhead Whale in the enchanting Isabella Bay. Embracing the changes in these regions is part of the adventure - everywhere is amazing!
The scale of this remote region is staggering. Baffin Island is Canada's largest island at almost 2.5 times the size of Great Britain, yet it only has about twelve thousand inhabitants spread thinly among eight communities, all separated by vast distances. Ellesmere Island is almost the size of Britain and has only one community with 120 people. There are several other massive islands and tens of thousands of smaller ones sprawled over a massive area and locked in by ice and cold for much of the year...
Winter is coming... We shall head to Greenland.
“The suspension of life that occurs onboard ship is addictive. At sea you are always in transit, in transition. Nothing is fixed. Everything is imminent. A storm could come. A whale could break the surface. The future could hold anything.” James Gorman
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