Ellesmere and the West Coast of Greenland expedition 2023 Sold Out!
20th July - 11th August, 2023 - Fully Booked
£14,995.00 / Deposit - £3,495.00
Accommodation onboard the MV Togo, all meals, house drinks with meals, transportation aboard and tuition from Antony Spencer and Joe Cornish.
Travel to Ilulissat and travel home from Thule Airport. Any accommodation before or after the voyage necessary to make the flights, meals before and after the voyage, premium drinks, insurance.
To book, please choose from the following two options:
North West Greenland and the Canadian High Arctic 2022 Sold out!
Joe Cornish & Antony Spencer
This is a small ship expedition like no other led before to this part of the arctic covering Illulissat, Disko Bay & Island, Ellesmere and the Canadian Arctic. Never before has a small expedition vessel covered this region in one trip, many of our intended locations would never have been visited by non Inuit civillians and may never have been photographed before.
The far North West of Greenland remains very unexplored and contains some incredible geology and wildlife. Large mountains rising straight out of the ocean and an abundance of massive icebergs, many sculpted and carved by the oceans and currents that have moved them out into the open water. Ellesmere and the high Canadian Arctic contains some of the best and most remote wildlife on earth. Snow Wolves, Narwhal and Bowhead Whales, as well as Polar Bear are all extremely lilkely to be photographed.
Our journey will begin on August 11 in the picturesque Greenlandic major town of Ilulissat. Ilulissat is the third largest town in Greenland and is situated nearby what is considered to be, the worlds most active iceberg producing glacier- Sermeq Kujalleq. It is believed the iceberg that sank the Titanic originated from here. The town itself lies on a beautiful stretch of coastline on the shore of Disko Bay, a massive bay influenced heavily by the North Atlantic Current and full of giant icebergs. As we set sail from Ilulissat it will be these icebergs and the picturesque Greenlandic towns and villages of Disko Island we will be photographing as we initially slowly make our way north.
As we leave Disko Island, Greenlands second largest island, we will sail through the Qeqertarsuaq Strait, photographing hundreds of giant icebergs and even a visit to the very active Eqi Glacier, which will gives us a perfect position to have the opportunity to observe some colossal glacial calvings.
We will travel to the area around and to the North of Ummannaq. Ummannaq is widely regarded as the most beautiful town in all of Greenland, owing to the little colourful Greenlandic buildings and houses lie beneath what can only be described as an epic mountain. The town of Ummannaq and the area of glacial fjords just to the north, as far as Nuugaatsiaq are incredibly photogenic and will be explored in depth. We will be in the extremely fortunate position to spend a few days in this largely unexpolored region, capitalising on its unique Geology and potential for an array of wildlife encounters.This area is renowned to be incredible for whales, so there will be many chances to travel with these wondrous creatures spending as much time as we would like with each and every one as we continue our exploration towards Arctic Canada,
Leaving behind the fjord system around Ummannaq, we head further north towards the small hunting village of Narsaq, then into the Nares Strait and towards the coastline of Arctic Canada and Ellesmere Island. A highlight as we leave the coast of Greenland will be the opportunity to crusie the entire length of the largest glacier on earth- Humboldt Glacier. With a glacial ocean entry of over 60 miles this is an epic glacier with lots of possibilities. We will be able to explore the coastline of Greenland and Canada as we sail up and back along this strait.
Ellesmere island lies across the Nares Strait from Greenland, a long narrow body of water that is at times, less than twenty miles wide. Ellesmere is world famous for its wildlife, but in particular wolves.
Here we will attempt to go ashore and get close to the High arctic “Snow Wolves.” The pure white wolves are only found in extreme northern locations and as a result of their lack of contact with man, these animals are highly likely to come very close to us and interact with our group. They are pure white almost all year round and in the autumn (august) their coast will be thickening ready for winter to arrive once again. If we find wolves here, there is no reason not to assume they would come in and walk amongst us, the young cubs should be old enough to be traveling with the pack and would likely be with us also. Whilst there is no certainty we will find wolves the chances are very good, we will be out on deck listening and watching for them as much as possible can. In any locations we find Musk Ox and other wildlife there is a high chance that the wolves will not be far away. The sound of wolves howling can be heard over very great distances so we will be asking everyone to be out and on the look out as much as possible.
Narwhal, Bowhead and multiple whale species are all also extremely likely to be photographed, We will have a Narwhal conservationist on-board with us and this will give us special access we will need to reach a Narwhal and Bowhead sanctuary where these creatures are not hunted at all. It is possible to be surrounded by massive pods of these amazing mammals. Narwhal are the most difficult whale on the planet to observe as they are the world’s northernmost species and are hunted regularly by the Inuit people who live on each coast.
Arctic Foxes are also likely and equally inquisitive as the wolves, they will often come in and even play with us. Multiple bird species including Snowy Owls, Gyrfalcon, Sea Eagles and the beautiful Ivory Gull are all also likely.
Our aim is get as far north as we safely can in the Nares Strait until we reach the pack ice. The ice here is very often full of polar bears that tend to be extremely inquisitive as many would never have encountered humans before. Watching polar bears on their natural hunting ground and environment is the ultimate polar experience. Here the bear is king and they often show very little signs of being intimidated. They will often come right up to our vessel and even bring their young with them.
Ellesemere Island is the worlds tenth largest Island and one of the very most remote land masses on the planet. Whilst there is no denying the wildlife is a massive draw, it has incredible landscapes also. We will have plenty of landscape possibilities including deep glacier filled fjords surrounded by mountains and icebergs, protected fjords to make landings where we choose to do so.
Lenses from super wide through to long telephoto will be essential for this expedition. Some of the landscapes will benefit the use of a super wide-angles and also wide and standard lenses. There will be a lot of photography made directly from our ship as we travel so long focal length landscapes will also be available a great deal of the time. Compressing a foreground to a background can work wonderfully well in this part of the world.
A lens of at least 400mm is recommended to really capitalise on some of the wildlife either a prime or a zoom. At times, much wider lenses may also be employed in order to put these creatures into context or when the animals are simply right upon us.
Every single day will be different. We will aim to make a landing using the two zodiacs on-board twice a day. You can expect a morning and an afternoon landing the majority of the time. There will however be times for example,where we are repositioning so this may not be the case. We will keep the group informed of our plans as often as we possibly can. The benefit of this small intimate expedition vessel is that expedition leaders, crew and Joe and myself will always be on hand to discuss the plans and any necessary changes.
Temperatures are likely to be falling, especially in the northernmost point of our route. Each participant will need lots of layers from thermal base layers to fleece and ultimately down to protect from the cold. A full list of recommended clothing will be sent in detailed tour notes in due course. Insulated wellington boots will be needed to keep your feet warm and dry when making landings using zodiacs.
Our home for this voyage will be the MV Togo, a wonderful vessel especially converted for expeditions in this part of the world. Please note that cabins will be shared with two people per cabin. Joe and I will plan and ensure everyone will be sharing with the same sex room mate. Anyone booking as a couple/ friends will of course be able to share a room together. Single occupancy is available in a double cabin but the cost will be the same as two places on the ship minus 10%.
Please Note- Nature is in complete control in this part of the world. The position of the sea ice changes drastically year on year. It is possible the sea ice is a lot further south than is normal for this decade. The weather and ice conditions will need to be paid attention to constantly and may dictate our final route. We have backup plans including the spectacular Baffin Island if needed to avoid difficult weather or ice conditions. August is the very best month of the year generally speaking for this part of the high arctic in terms of both Ice and weather. Please bear in mind that our route may need to be adjusted to remain safe and get the very best out of our time up here. Everything will be discussed with the group so that each participant will be informed of the plans and reasons for any changes that may become necessary.
We disembark and depart headed home from Thule Airfield in North West Greenland on September 1.
It is very fair to say that this is a totally unique voyage and will reach locations only a handful of people have ever been. We will be landing and making photographs of locations that have never been photographed before. With a unique mixture of wildlife and landscapes and will embrace each and every opportunity as we travel into uncharted waters at the very end of the earth.
Maximum group size of 12