The Northwest Passage Trip Log (21 Aug - 13 Sep 2017) - ​Thursday, Sep 7

Thursday, September 7
January 2018

This morning ‘Le Boreal’ approached Banks Island which is the fourth largest island in the Canadian Archipelago and situated within Canada’s Northwest Territory. While Inuit culture has been present on Banks Island for 3,500 years, today, the island is the traditional hunting grounds for the Inuvialuit people. Banks Island drew the attention of the western world when Roald Amundsen reached Nelson Head, thereby completing the first European transit of the Northwest Passage.

The expedition leaders scouted a landing site in the vicinity of De Salis Bay which is a northern arm of the Amundsen Gulf. It was named for the De Salis family by Francis Leopold McClintock during his search for the missing Franklin Expedition. Upon landing on a windy inlet, we proceeded in-land and quickly discovered evidence of wildlife. It is not surprising that Banks Island is the home of the largest Muskoxen population in the world with estimates of 55 to 60 thousand animals living throughout the island.

Upon returning to ‘Le Boreal,’ the sea breezes picked up as we headed toward the Amundsen Gulf. Guests were enriched by Patricia Silva’s lecture, “Birds and People” followed later in the afternoon by Greg Thomas speaking about Parks Canada in the Arctic. At the evening recap, musician Mike Stevens provided us with a sneak preview of a dramatic video of Labrador’s Torngat Mountain National Park and the ever-surprising Mike Beedell led us in song. Then it was time for some amazing music by harmonica player Mike Stevens who was joined in concert by some talented Expedition colleagues led by Richard ‘Black Jack.’

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