On one of my morning walks, I ran into a neighbor who asked me about my trip to the high Arctic.
I talked her ear off!
My enthusiasm was spilling out of me. She was aware that it is a pricey trip by many people's standards. But, as my excitement gripped her, she began to think that a concerted saving plan would be worth it.
After giving you an introductory post about the trip, one on very practical tips for expedition travel and a third on what I learned in the north, I now want to share my personal experience of this trip to the high Arctic with Adventure Canada.
- During the day there was a lot of learning.
- Every evening was a lot of fun.
- 24 hours a day, there was spectacular scenery, and sometimes wildlife viewing, in every direction. It is, after all, the land of the midnight sun.
This Trip Was Amazing!
I sit in my back yard writing this and feel that it is very small. Almost cramped. There are fences on either side, other houses and tall trees. I am very lucky to live in The Beach area of Toronto. I have the lake nearby which I take full advantage of. But in my back yard, there is no horizon. At the beach, there are many people. Overhead planes go by.
What I miss most is the expanse of the Arctic.
But, naturally, there was much more to this trip. Friends wanted to know what the experience was like so I thought I'd share it with you as well.
- The tone of the trip was serious and lighthearted. People had different reasons for taking this trip. One woman was a photographer of polar bears, one couple was particularly interested in Inuit culture, some people were birders. There was definitely a serious side of the trip, meaning most of the 164 passengers were there to learn. But the tone as set by Adventure Canada and the team was also lighthearted. There was a lot of laughter and fun activities as you'll see in the images below.
- The evenings had great entertainment. I loved the evenings! Dancing and sing-a-longs. A home-grown game show that included everyone who wanted to participate. A polar-bear dip (remember, the sun never went down) and a dress-up contest with a prize going to the best costume (or interpretation of a costume) of an explorer. It was all good fun!
- The learning was exceptional. Read the post Learnings and Landings in the High Arctic for more.
- The ship was modified for an Arctic expedition. The Ocean Endeavour is a modified ocean ferry that has the ability to deal with light ice. It's well maintained, functional, and comfortable with lots of windows and comfortable seating areas so you can be with people or find a bit of solitude. It's really nice but it's not fancy. It's not a cruise ship with multiple bars and restaurants, rock climbing walls, casinos, and small scale Broadway acts in the evening. This is absolutely fine by me. Casual is more to my taste.
- The cabins were comfortable. There's an image of my cabin below. The bed was comfortable and the cabin was immaculate. Because it's the land of the midnight sun, there were blackout curtains.
- The dining was casual but not too much so. The dining room held everyone on board so there were no first and second seatings as there are on some ships. Eating with different people at every meal was normal, so it was easy to meet people. Also, all the experts on the expedition team had meals at the same time so I often sat with an expert as well. Breakfast and lunch were buffet style. Dinner was selected from a menu. The service was excellent. I'm vegan and they accommodated me well.
- There was always food. And if you didn't get enough at a meal, there was tea, coffee, and cookies in the library throughout the day and evening.
- The dress code was relaxed. Dress was, almost invariably, sports clothes. I have to say, my comfy pants were worn far more than my jeans. I once put on a top that was a step up from sporty. It's an option but not necessary. Also note, they give you expedition jackets so you don't have to invest in an expensive jacket for the trip.
And, because a picture tells so much, here are photos from this trip to the high Arctic. Please see the other posts for more.
This trip to the high Arctic was sponsored by Adventure Canada but, as always, the views and opinions are my own.