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Isabella Bay and Arctic Harbour, Baffin Island, Canada

Following the magical events of last night, we awoke with what can only be described as a polar bear hangover, one of the many symptoms of “polar fever,” an affliction you get after experiencing the ice. What is it that brings us to the far north, near the top of the world? Certainly the quest for the famed Northwest Passage is reason enough. But it’s the adventure of searching for Arctic wildlife that takes it over the top.  This morning National Geographic Explorer pushed north along the west coast of Baffin Island to Isabella Bay, a reported hotspot for wildlife. Read More>

Aug 8, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Davis Strait / Approaching Baffin Island, Canada

The Davis Strait is a broad body of water separating the icy domain of Greenland from the eastern Canadian Arctic to the west. With this being our 10th day aboard National Geographic Explorer since embarking in Reykjavik, Iceland, we experienced something this morning we haven’t felt all trip – ocean motion. Our first breath of wind skimmed across our cheeks on our westerly course towards Hope Bay, about mid-way up the east coast of Baffin Island. Incredibly, not a ripple has passed beneath our keel until now and, with stabilizers out, even this passage of the Davis Strait was a pleasant experience. With our familiar friends the northern fulmars for company we took in various presentations to pass the time as our anticipation for the next chapter in our voyage began to peak. During our transit up the west coast of Greenland we followed the icebergs on their northerly voyage with the West Greenland Current. Read More>

Aug 7, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Ilulissat – the Iceberg Capital

In the very early and nebulous morning we passed Whalefish Islands (also known as Kitsissut) where, in July 1845, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus made their last stop before they ventured into the unknown with John Franklin and his 148 men aboard to find the Northwest Passage. During the days at anchor here, the crews made the last necessary arrangements for the voyage ahead and they also sent letters home to their families and sweethearts. Little did these brave men know that their expedition would become the biggest tragedy in Arctic exploration history. Our gallant ship weaved her way between the multitude of ice as the sun lifted the fog and bathed the calm sea and the icebergs in an enchanting light. Read More>

Aug 6, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Sisimiut, Greenland

We crossed the Arctic Circle towards the northernmost town in Greenland, which offers an ice-free port during the winter months. Sisimiut is also the southernmost location in Greenland where dog sleds can be used during winter and spring. We spent the morning sailing towards our afternoon destination, experiencing life-enriching events on our way. As we sailed through the flat-calm North Atlantic, northern fulmars adorned the ocean’s surface with their reflections. Read More>

Aug 5, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Nuuk, Greenland

We arrived at Nuuk on the western coast of Greenland at 7:00 a.m. this morning. It is the country’s capital and largest city with a population of just over 15,000. The settlement nestles at the foot of high mountain ridges and in recent years has seen a spread of housing into the hinterland of the core area of the city. The gaily painted buildings stand out in contrast to the more earthy colours of the local rock. This area was first visited by bands of hunter-gatherers belonging to the Saqqaq culture sometime around 2,000 B. Read More>

Aug 4, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

At Sea towards Nuuk, West Greenland VIDEO

In a land renowned for violent weather and unpredictable seas we awoke to conditions wholly outside our expectations. Following a calm passage from Iceland to Greenland’s southern coast, our assumption was that our lucky weather window was over – only to be humbled yet again by more calm seas and perfect visibility today.   Dotting the horizon, like a string of distant pearls, our northbound transit towards Nuuk, Greenland’s capital and largest city, was to be in the presence of icebergs. Read More>

Aug 3, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Hvalsey & Qaqortoq, Greenland

We have flown over this land and gazed upon the massive streams of ice pouring from its crest. We have cruised its edges and danced between icebergs and bergy-bits spawned from glacial faces. Today, we set foot upon its shores and discovered that Greenland’s palette is bursting with brilliant colors.  Gaze upon a scene and utter the first word that pops to mind. Read More>

Aug 2, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Prins Christian Sund, Southern Greenland

After an amazingly calm crossing of the Denmark Strait from Iceland, today Greenland came into to view as National Geographic Explorer came out of the fog. The first icebergs of the voyage could be seen strung along the mountainous coast of the world’s largest island.  In his opening remarks, Caption Leif Skog emphasized that one of the hallmarks of a true expedition is uncertainty. Read More>

Aug 1, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

The Denmark Strait

Our sea conditions today were, well, somewhat unexpected as we crossed the infamous Denmark Strait. We have been here before and have encountered very different circumstances in the past.  Now, we’ve had beautiful clear blue skies, calm seas, and warm sunshine. In fact, during part of the day we enjoyed glass-like surface conditions. It was fun seeing people out on deck wearing short-sleeved shirts and worrying about sunburn. Someone asked, “Did we make a wrong turn last night?  Is this the Caribbean?” However, we knew we were probably in the right place, because the sun rose this morning at 04:00 AM and didn’t set until after 10:00 PM.  This was a good day to start our lecture program. Read More>

Jul 31, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

Latrabjarg Cliffs and Flatey, Breidafjord, Iceland

Overnight, National Geographic Explorer headed northwards from Reykjavik to Breidafjordur, Iceland’s second largest bay. Thousands of small islands and skerries pepper its waters. To these shores the Norse came in the 9th and 10th centuries attracted by the rich food sources that were found here, including fish, seals, whales, seabirds and their eggs. What a splendid vista presented itself at 8:00 a. Read More>

Jul 30, 2014 National Geographic Explorer in Arctic

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