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Guest Blog: A Journey Through the Northwest Passage

This week's Guest Blogger Leselyanne Ryan shares her stories from the Northwest Passage.

The search for the Northwest Passage has claimed countless lives and ships throughout the centuries, but now, a receding ice pack and steel hulls make the transit possible. In September, 2016, I had the opportunity to sail the Northwest Passage from Kugluktuk, Nunavut to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. These photos are just a taste of what the Arctic has to offer.

Photo 1: We made the transit aboard the Ocean Endeavour. We had 156 passengers on board, most of whom were from Canada. 

Ocean Endeavour

Photo 2: The Arctic tundra preserves everything. An archeologist on our cruise spoke of picking spear tips up off the ground that were thousands of years old.

Arctic Tundra

Photo 3: The cruise was a voyage through a part of Canadian history that so few of us have had a chance to experience. Here, at Fort Ross, was the last trading outpost built by the Hudsons Bay Company. It operated for eleven years, closing in 1948 because heavy ice was making it difficult to resupply. 

Fort Ross

Photo 4: The Franklin Expedition spent its first winter on Beechey Island in 1845/46. The first three graves were men from the expedition who likely died from consumption. The fourth was a sailor from the HMS Investigator, one of the many ships sent to search for Franklin. 

Franklin Expedition

Photo 5: We spied three polar bears, including this playful female.

Polar Bear

Photo 6: Arctic Bay, Baffin Island was our first stop into a northern community.

Arctic Bay, Baffin Island

Photo 7: We were slowed by some inclement weather, but rather than dampen our spirit, it was a reminder of the adverse conditions that they early explorers had to face. For them, it was life and death. For us, it was “oh, the hot tub isn’t open?”

Inclement Arctic Weather

Photo 8: Our first glimpse of Greenland.


Photo 9: The coast of Greenland was full of magnificent icebergs.

Coast of Greenland

Photo 10: We made a stop into the picturesque Greenland community of Upernavik.


Photo 11: A highlight on the cruise was the visit to the Ilulissat Icefjord. The fjord is 40 km long and choked with ice that has calved off the Jakobshavn Glacier, the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere.

Ilulissat Icefjord

Photo 12: A zodiac cruise along the edge of the Icefjord. The vast majority of these bergs will find their way to Iceberg Alley off Newfoundland and Labrador.

Zodiac Cruise

Photo 13: At the end of the 190 km long Kangerlussuaq fjord, we paid a visit to the Greenland Ice Cap.

Greenland Ice Cap

Photo 14: The spectacular Arctic sunsets last a long time.

Arctic Sunsets

Photo 15: On our last night, we got a call that the northern lights had finally made an appearance.

Northern Lights

Photo 16: We disembarked in Greenland, but a few days later, I was able to snap a pic of the ship entering The Narrows in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Narrows Newfoundland


Lesleyanne Ryan is a retired veteran and author who lives in St. John’s. The complete travel tale of her experience in the Northwest Passage can be found at

Want to be a guest blogger? Learn more here.

Lesleyanne Ryan - November 01, 2016

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