Venture deep into the far reaches of the Arctic, a land where polar bears roam, walruses loll, and hardy Inuit communities maintain their traditional way of life. Aboard the National Geographic Explorer, trace the rugged fjords of Greenland and navigate Canada’s legendary Baffin Island. Spot polar bears on the pack ice, get up close to massive glaciers, and hike the myriad islands that dot Canada’s northern
Glide between soaring icebergs at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Observe polar bears, walruses, ringed seals, belugas, and-with luck-narwhals in their natural habitat.
Follow in the wake of legendary explorers
as we explore the Lancaster Sound, the
gateway to the Northwest Passage.
Discover the incredible wildlife and
landscapes of Baffin Island on hikes and
excursions by Zodiac.
Itinerary - 13 Days
Day 1 — U.S./Ottawa, Canada
Arrive in Ottawa and check into the hotel in time for a welcome reception and dinner. Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel (D)
Day 2 — Ottawa/Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Fly by chartered aircraft to Greenland, the land of the midnight sun. Embark the National Geographic Explorer at the head of Kangerlussuaq Fjord, a scenic waterway that stretches 100 miles, and is aptly known as the “long fjord.” (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Greenland’s West Coast and Sisimiut
Dozens of deep fjords carve into Greenland’s west coast, many with glaciers fed by the ice cap that covers about 80 percent of the country. Discover this beautiful and ragged coastline in Zodiacs, searching for humpback and minke whales. At Sisimiut, a former whaling port, visit the museum and wander amid a picturesque jumble of 18th-century wooden buildings. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Disko Bay and Ilulissat Icefjord
Sail into Disko Bay to explore the World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjord, a tongue of the Greenland ice cap that extends to the bay. Take an extraordinary cruise among towering icebergs at the mouth of the fjord. Then walk alongside this immense, calving glacier to the Inuit fishing village of Sermermiut. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — At Sea
Watch for wildlife, enjoy the ship’s amenities, and
attend talks by our experts as we travel through
by explorer William Baffin when he ventured
here in the 17th century on his search for the
Northwest Passage—to Lancaster Sound, the eastern gateway to the Arctic Archipelago. (B,L,D)
Days 6, 7, & 8 — Exploring the Canadian High Arctic
Lancaster Sound has been a favorite Inuit hunting and
fishing location for thousands of years. Our days
here will be spent searching for ringed seals,
arctic foxes, walruses, and polar bears, as well as beluga, killer, and bowhead whales. We may even see the elusive narwhal, an Arctic whale known for the long, spiraling tooth that can project nearly ten feet from its upper jaw. Delve into the region’s
human history on visits to archaeological sites of the Thule people and vibrant Inuit villages sustained by fishing and artistic traditions. (B,L,D daily)
Days 9, 10, & 11 — Padloping and Hall Peninsula
We spend another day in true expedition style, exploring the Padloping region and the wild Hall Peninsula of Baffin Island. Hike the tundra in search of caribou and arctic foxes, or follow our botanist to learn more about the hardy Arctic plants. The exposed rocky cliffs of Monumental and are used as haul-outs by walruses. We’ll cruise the coastline in search of these icons of the Canadian North. (B,L,D)
Days 12 & 13 — Iqaluit/Ottawa/U.S.
Disembark in Iqaluit and fly to Ottawa Canada by chartered aircraft. Fly home the following day. (B,L,D)
Ralph Lee Hopkins is a popular photo workshop instructor who has traveled to Antarctica more than a dozen times. Ralph served as a photographer on the historic Arctic Expedition for Climate Action in July 2008 and has traveled beyond the Arctic Circle many times during the past 16 years. His wildlife images have appeared in National Geographic's books, magazines, and online galleries, and are represented in the National Geographic Image Collection.