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Day 1: Kangerlussuaq
After our flight from Toronto, we will embark the Ocean Endeavour and make our way down spectacular Sondre Stromfjord, for a chance to experience its beauty. Sondre Stromfjord is one of the longest fjords in the world and boasts 168 kilometres of superb scenery! Kangerlussuaq, the town at its eastern head, means ‘the big fjord’.
Day 2: Qeqqata Kommunia
There are a number of charming fishing villages along the west coast of Greenland—depending on timing and sea conditions, we will call in at one of these communities to experience small town Greenlandic life, or we may navigate into the stunning fjords that line the coast. This is a day in the true spirit of expedition travel and we will avail ourselves of any and all opportunities that present themselves.
Day 3: Nuuk
Welcome to Nuuk, the capital of Greenland and one of the world’s northernmost capital cities! Nuuk means ‘the headland’ and is situated at the mouth of a gigantic fjord system. Established in 1728, Nuuk remains the bustling centre of the country today. We have the chance to spot humpback whales in the fjord, reindeer roaming the land, and birds soaring above. The town is home to the University of Greenland, a cathedral dating back to 1849, and Greenland’s National Museum. We will visit some of the city’s most important sites, and you’ll have some free time to explore on your own.
Day 4: At Sea - Davis Strait
Our presentation series continues as we head across the Davis Strait towards landfall in Canada. While out on deck keep your eyes peeled for minke and humpback whales (and other marine mammals), as well as the seabirds that are sure to mark our passage.
Day 5: Kangiqsualujjuaq (George River)
In the shelter of a commanding granite rock outcrop we find the easternmost community of Kangiqsualujjuaq, or George River. Twenty-five kilometers upstream from Ungava Bay, the ebb and flow of the tides define the summer lives of the people and fauna of this area. Arctic flora thrives in the protected valley. The calving grounds of the George River herd, the largest ungulate population in the world estimated at several hundreds of thousands of head is nearby. After our welcome back to Canada, we will have the freedom to explore the community, meet with locals and strike out of town for a hike on the tundra.
Days 6 - 8: Torngat Mountains National Park
The Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for millennia, with archaeological evidence reaching back almost 7,000 years. The fjords here reach deep into the heart of the mountains, bounded by cliffs peaking at 1,700 metres, the highest point of land in Labrador. The rugged, spectacular beauty of the Torngat Mountains underscores their role as the spiritual homeland of Nunatsiavut.
Day 9: Hebron
Hebron is now abandoned. A Moravian Mission station was constructed here from 1829 to 1831 but the main buildings—the church, the mission house, and the store—were not inhabited until 1837. In a highly controversial move, the station was abandoned in 1959 with the departure of the Moravians, forcing the relocation of the Inuit who resided there. In 2005, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams apologized to people affected by the relocations. In August of 2009, the provincial government unveiled a monument at the site of Hebron with an inscribed apology for the site closure. Today, some of the buildings at Hebron are being repurposed as a cultural interpretation centre and it is these buildings that we will be visiting. They form a lonely monument to the cultural past of the area, with hopes for the future of Nunatsiavut.
Day 10: Nain
Today we explore the Inuit community of Nain, known for its Moravian Church, the Nunatsiavut Building with its Labradorite stone and the newly finished Torngâsok Cultural Centre. Local leaders will share the fascinating history of the township, and we will have a chance to visit with the community.
Days 11 - 12: Labrador Coast
The lower Labrador coast boasts five of Labrador’s ten provincial eco-regions, including coastal barrens, high subarctic tundra, high boreal forest, mid boreal forest, and string bog. The Mealy Mountain range in this area reaches heights of more than 1,000 metres. A significant portion of the mountain range and surrounding area has been recently designated a potential National Park Reserve, a move which follows lobbying for the preservation of the area since the early 1970s. The governments of Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador have agreed to pursue creation of a National Park Reserve, which would see the area managed as if it were a national park, pending settlement of Native land claims. Once settled, the area would likely be designated a national park, comprising approximately twenty thousand square kilometres. We will explore the park and surrounding landscape, making expedition stops as they present themselves.
Day 13: L'Anse Aux Meadows
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, L’Anse aux Meadows is the only authenticated Norse settlement in North America. The archaeological remains found here in 1960 date to approximately 1000 AD. Amazingly, the location of the ruins was first established by a close reading of the Viking sagas.
Day 14: Northeast Newfoundland
Northeast Newfoundland is known for the dozens of quaint villages that dot its rocky shores, and it is to one of these small settlements that we will be paying a visit today. We may look forward to a characteristically warm Newfoundland welcome upon our arrival. The bay itself is home to a plethora of islands and, seasonally, icebergs that drift in from the Atlantic; the Ocean Endeavour will chart a scenic course through these beautiful monoliths as we head north.
Day 15: St. John's
Sailing into St. John’s has to be experienced to be believed; Signal Hill keeps watch over the world-famous Narrows as we head for open water.
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