Peel Sound, Nunavut, 8/20/2022, National Geographic Endurance
National Geographic Endurance
Following in the footsteps of polar explorers, we navigated through the night in the shallow and dangerous waters of the James Ross Strait. We wake up to a very windy, rainy, foggy, and sometimes even snowy day. Weather is the ruler of the Arctic, and we can only adapt to its conditions.
Luckily, National Geographic Endurance is the perfect platform to spend a day at sea. We take advantage of the knowledge of our naturalists while enjoying the comfort of the ship.
Stefano is originally from Italy and nature has always been the greatest of his passions. Spending time outdoors is his daily priority with a special devotion rock climbing during summer, accompanied by ski and snowboarding during winter.
In the early morning, the town of Sisimiut came into sight. This is the second largest town in Greenland and the largest city of the Qeqqata municipality of West Greenland. Sisimiut means “the place of the fox holes,” and it is a former whaling port. Many guests chose to join a guided tour in the center of town, and the most eager walkers went on a long hike to a Thule cultural heritage site outside of the town. Everybody had the option to visit the local museum, and they were treated to a generous taste of traditional Greenlandic food. Just before lunch, a kayaker from Sisimiut demonstrated impressive kayak skills, including the so-called “Eskimo Roll,” which we observed time and time again. In the afternoon, geology professor Joe Holliday gave a great lecture on Greenland’s earth science: geology, oceanography, and ice. At tea time, we enjoyed an Ice Cream Social. Today was the last day of our amazing voyage aboard National Geographic Endurance . Our expedition from Nome through the entire Northwest Passage, all the way to Greenland, has left us with a plethora of wonderful memories: meeting people from cultures of the High North, observing stunning sceneries, and witnessing incredible and rare wildlife encounters. We have gotten new insights into natural history and polar exploration and a glimpse of what it is like to live at the very edge of human existence on our planet. We have been incredibly fortunate to enjoy this beautiful part of the world. What a remarkable experience with so many memories to take home!
In the morning, many of us were on the bridge before 7:00 a.m. to watch as we entered the Ilulissat Fjord (Greenland), surrounded by impressive icebergs. There is so much to see in the wonderful and colorful community of Ilulissat! We explored the new Icefjord Center (such an interesting building!) and from there walked the boardwalk, past Thule/Inuit house pits, to a breathtaking overlook. Ice as far as we could see! Aboard local vessels, we took tours along walls of ice and spotted fluking humpback whales. These will surely be some of our best memories from this trip. After a dinner inspired by the cuisine of the Philippines, we were treated to a crew show. The talent on this team is boundless! Not only has our wonderful crew kept us moving safely and comfortably through the Northwest Passage, but they are also phenomenal musicians, artists, and singers! It is, of course, no surprise that the evening turned into a dance party, and fun was had by all!
Today our expedition on National Geographic Endurance took us away from Arctic Canada, and through Davis Strait as we approached our destination of Greenland. Our day was filled with fascinating and fun activities on board the ship! We started with a presentation from the Undersea Team, James Hyde and Christine West, and learned more about scuba diving in polar regions. We tried on some of the underwater gear, learned about the risks and techniques of polar scuba diving, and viewed some footage from different dives in polar regions. We then had a chance to ask both divers questions about things that are changing in our world’s oceans, which was very interesting. We enjoyed a spectacular brunch in restaurant Two Seven Zero. It was a delicious spread that included a variety of fruits and vegetables, cheeses, salads, meats, soups, potatoes, and pastries—truly something for everyone! In the afternoon, naturalist Stefano Pozzi gave an incredible talk about his year spent living in the High Arctic. Who knew talking about serious topics could be so funny? Staff and guests then gathered together to play a hilarious game of Arctic Pictionary, a game designed just for this trip. The clues for the Arctic Pictionary game included the concepts discussed during natural history presentations, places we have visited on the trip, staff members, and different types of local foods we tried on our travels. We had a blast during our day at sea, and we can’t wait to see the beautiful colors of Greenland tomorrow! Photo caption and photographer: Saying goodbye to the incredible fjords of Arctic Canada wasn’t easy, and we were out on deck watching the ice until the very last minute. What a spectacular expedition we are on! Photo by Christine Regent West