Highlights From Our 2019 Arctic Season

Guests were captivated by the abundance of wildlife, awe-inspiring landscapes and poignant visits to historical sites and remote Inuit communities this past summer. Here are some the Canadian Arctic highlights from summer 2019.

Sailing from Iqaluit, our inaugural South Baffin Explorer: Art, Culture and Wildlife voyage focused on the art and cultural significance of the South Baffin region. Traveling alongside passengers, special guests Jennifer Withrow and Dr. Nancy Campbell from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, brought extensive knowledge of Inuit art, as well as providing guests exclusive pre-launch access to Iningat Ilagiit, a digital Inuit art collection. Also sailing on this voyage was newly appointed Artist-in-Residence for Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute’s Lesley Burr, famed watercolour artist David McEown, and lead curator from the Audain Art Museum Dr. Curtis Collins.

Inuit displaying a piece of their artwork
Inuit displaying a piece of their artwork. Image by Adeline Heymann

In partnership with Recreation and Parks Association of Nunavut (RPAN), we participated in an event at the Arctic Winter Games arena in Iqaluit on August 9th, 2019. The event welcomed youth from RPAN’s ‘Get Happy Day Camp’ program and their staff, Iqaluit Curling Club members, and our guests on their arrival into Iqaluit ahead of the Baffin Island and Greenland Explorer voyage, departing that same day. Marking the arrival of a Rock Solid Productions floor curling set that we donated to RPAN and the Iqaluit community, the event featured Olympian and World Champion curler Jill Officer, artist Cory Trépanier, and Actor and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence Johnny Issaluk, who also joined the voyage. During the event, Jill shared her Olympic experience and had her gold medal on hand for viewing and photo opportunities.

Jill Officer at the RPAN event.
Jill Officer at the RPAN event. Image by James Abbott

Eric Solomon, Director of Arctic Programs at Ocean Wise, was part of our team in the Northwest Passage, continuing his groundbreaking multi-year microplastics research. Passengers on board were able to assist him with the analysis of water samples for the presence and severity of microplastics in the ocean, and a live Cisco broadcast from the ship provided an opportunity for visitors in the Vancouver Aquarium to connect with Eric while he was on board RCGS Resolute.

Eric Solomon tests for Microplastics
Eric Solomon tests for Microplastics.

An innovative post-secondary geography field course in partnership with the University of Waterloo travelled on board the Classic Northwest Passage and Greenland voyage. The three-year pilot project program focused on practical learning, that introduced students to notable geographic areas and communities in the Canadian Arctic allowing them to study on-site.

This summer also saw the return of Dr. Matthew Ayre from the Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary. After his discovery of evidence of a long-lost whaling vessel in 2018 whilst onboard with us, he returned to the Arctic to continue his study of wrecked whaling vessel, the Nova Zembla.

Dr. Matthew Ayre working on the Nova Zembla wreckage.
Dr. Matthew Ayre working on the Nova Zembla wreckage. Image provided by Ilisaqsivik Society

Extraordinary weather conditions offered many days of bright sunshine throughout the season, with clear night skies offering spectacular views of the Aurora Borealis. Exceeding all expectations, wildlife sightings were in abundance, with a high number of polar bears, muskox, beluga whales, bowheads, walrus and narwhal as well as encounters with humpback whales, seals, Arctic fox and countless species of birds.

An Arctic Fox
An Arctic Fox. Image by James Abbott

The Canadian Arctic has much to offer travelers in their quests of adventure and knowledge. One Ocean Expeditions is dedicated to pursuing its commitments and increasing travelers desire to visit the nation’s remote regions, creating ambassadors for these fragile ecosystems.

The popular Northwest Passage and Greenland voyage returns in both 2020 and 2021. Rates for a twin private start at US$16,595 for 2020 departures and US$17,195 for 2021 departures. Please contact your preferred travel agent or our team to find out more.