The Northwest Passage Trip Log (21 Aug - 13 Sep 2017) - ​Friday, Sep 1

Friday, September 1
January 2018

Expedition Leader Aaron had warned us at the previous evening briefing that it would be an early start this morning. We were greeted by clear skies and a gentle breeze as we boarded the zodiacs at 7:30 AM to visit Fort Ross, an uninhabited former trading post located at the south-eastern tip of Somerset Island adjacent to the eastern entrance of the Bellot Strait. Established in 1937, Fort Ross was the last trading post to be established by the Hudson’s Bay Company for the fox-pelt trade. It was operational for only 11 years before severe ice conditions rendered it uneconomical and it was closed. As we toured the site and walked the surrounding landscape, the sense of history was conveyed by the buildings and the artifacts strewn about the terrain. The former HBC Store is still used by Inuit hunters from Taloyoak. Back on ‘Le Boreal,’ it was time to sail through the Bellot Strait which connects Prince Regent Inlet with Peel Sound and Franklin Strait. Now we were truly ensconced in the area of pack ice that has always proved challenging to ships navigating through this area. In fact, it was not until 1937 that Bellot Strait was navigated by the HBC Schooner Aklavik. Pack ice can often signal the presence of wildlife and we were not to be disappointed. We passed Narwals resting on the pack ice and by mid-afternoon we were the first cruise ship this year to anchor in Franklin Strait’s Cunningham Bay. It was time for a zodiac tour of this area, and wildlife viewing quickly captivated us as we entered the bay. Several polar bears were seen patrolling along the coast as well as beluga whales cruising along the waterway and not shy about putting on a display alongside the zodiacs. Although it was a chilly ride, it was another unforgettable experience as we travel through the heart of the Northwest Passage.

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