- Full Itinerary
- Photo Gallery
- Travel Details
- Trip Reports
- Know Before You Go
- Other Trips You May Like
Marvel at the dramatic mountains, fjords, glaciers and icebergs of Western Greenland and spot myriad whale, wildlife and bird species in Arctic Canada the only way to see them: by boat! This glorious cruise takes us on a glittering journey among icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the calving ground for many icebergs of the North Atlantic. We spend five days enjoying sightings of Narwhal, Beluga and Bowhead whales in Lancaster Sound, one of Canada’s newest Marine Conservation Areas, where we also hope to see rare Ivory Gull. Among our landings is geologically stunning Devon Island, where flat-topped mountains, glacial valleys, and a massive ice cap are sure to delight photographers as we visit this largest uninhabited island on Earth. We also have opportunities to intersect with In’uit culture during a stop at Pond Inlet and to visit Beechey Island, an important way station for early explorers. This is a don’t miss experience for its dramatic geology, abundant Arctic wildlife and unique culture.
- Visit the Franklin Expedition graves at Beechey Island
- Watch for marine mammals and wildlife in Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) National Marine Conservation Area
- Hike on Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth
- Enjoy an Inuit cultural welcome at Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
- Take advantage of prime viewing opportunities for the rare ivory gull, considered a species at risk
- Cruise among icebergs at Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Itineraries are guidelines; variations in itinerary may occur to account for weather, road conditions, closures, etc. and to maximize your experience.
Fri., Aug. 2 : Early Arrivals in Toronto
Our cruise begins tomorrow with an early morning charter flight to Greenland. Please plan to arrive in Toronto no later than today and overnight on your own. We will send you a guest list a few weeks before departure, so you and others on the trip can meet up casually for dinner tonight if you’d like.
Sat., Aug. 3 : Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
The group flies this morning on an early charter flight from Toronto to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, a former U.S. Air Force base and Greenland’s primary flight hub. Here we are transferred by Zodiac to the Ocean Endeavour.
With 190 kilometres of superb scenery, Kangerlussuaq Fjord (Søndre Strømfjord) is one of the longest fjords in the world. We begin our adventure by sailing down this dramatic fjord, crossing the Arctic Circle as we go.
Sun., Aug. 4 : Sisimiut Coast
West Greenland’s complex coastal waterways include glaciers, islands, and fjords against a towering mountain backdrop. The waters are relatively warm here, due to the West Greenland Current and the subarctic location.
People have lived in the Sisimiut area for 4,500 years. For the first 2,000 years, the people of the Saqqaq culture occupied the area. 2,500 years ago, new people brought the Dorset culture to the Sisimiut area. They lived here for 1,500 years and were followed by the people of the Thule culture—the ancestors of the modern-day Inuit population.
Mon., Aug. 5 : Ilulissat
Ilulissat translates literally to “iceberg”—an apt name for this site at the mouth of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The icefjord is the outlet of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier, a source of many of the icebergs in the North Atlantic.
Here, we cruise in our fleet of Zodiacs to appreciate the icebergs. We also visit the town of Ilulissat, with its museums, cafes, craft shops, and busy fishing harbour.
Tues., Aug. 6 : Western Greenland
Greenland’s west coast is simply stunning. From mighty mountains to the tiniest tundra flowers, our stop in this area offers many outstanding features of interest. Hikers, walkers, photographers, and contemplators are all equally delighted.
Wed., Aug. 7 : At Sea—Davis Strait
Our onboard presentation series continues as we steam across Davis Strait towards Canada. This is an excellent time to enjoy workshops, watch a documentary, and get out on deck looking for whales, seabirds, and marine wildlife.
Thurs., Aug. 8 : Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), NU, Canada
Mittimatalik is a busy Arctic community in a beautiful setting. The views of nearby Bylot Island are stunning. We have a chance to explore the town. The cultural presentation at the Community Hall is not to be missed—handcrafted goods may be available here, too.
Fri., Aug. 9 – Tues., Aug. 13 : Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) & Devon Island
We spend five days exploring Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), one of Canada's newest National Marine Conservation Areas. Narwhal, Beluga, and Bowhead Whales transit and feed in this area. We cruise by ship and Zodiac in search of wildlife. Terrestrial mammals could include Muskox, and yes, possibly Polar Bear!
On the northern border of Tallurutiup Imanga lies Devon Island, the largest uninhabited island on Earth at over 50,000 square kilometres. The island’s geology is stunning. Flat-topped mountains, glacial valleys, and a substantial ice cap give Devon Island its unique character.
We visit a number of the bays—hiking the tundra, discovering the botany, cruising a glacier face, and wildlife-spotting from ship and from shore. Once home to Inuit and their ancestors, we visit archaeological sites with expert interpretation to learn about the human history of this now-abandoned island. We also catch a glimpse of recent human history as we visit the remains of a Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Hudson's Bay Company site at Dundas Harbour.
Wed., Aug. 14 : Beechey Island
In 1845, Sir John Franklin set out from England with HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, attempting to sail through the Northwest Passage. Franklin’s crew overwintered at Beechey Island, where three of his men died. Numerous search parties later used Beechey as a depot and rendezvous. Amundsen, Bernier, and Larsen all visited Beechey. Thomas Morgan of the HMS Investigator was buried here in 1854 alongside Franklin’s men. The graves and the ruins of nearby Northumberland House are a haunting memorial.
Thurs., Aug. 15 : Qausuittuq (Resolute), Nu, Canada
Qausuittuq, or “place with no dawn”, is named for its dark winters. During our time in the summer months we experience the midnight sun, a time of no darkness. The ending of our journey is characterized by shoreline gravel flats, rocky coastal bluffs, and deposits of glacial moraine. More significant is the origin of the hamlet. In 1953, Inuit from Inukjuak, Québec, and Mittimatalik were relocated, under false pretenses, by the Canadian government with the aim of asserting Canadian sovereignty. Today the community is home to just under 250 people and is an important staging point for High Arctic research, tourism, and military activities.
Here we disembark the Ocean Endeavour, and take the charter flight to Ottawa, ON.
Polar Bears by Stephen Gorman
Uummannaq Fjord by Andre Gallant
Iceberg by Michelle Valberg
Arctic Safari Group on Zodiacs (Andre Gallant)
New Friends by Danny Catt
Cost of the Journey
Our Ship: The Ocean Endeavor Our spacious, ice-strengthened vessel features twenty Zodiacs, advanced navigation equipment, and stabilizers. A doctor, paramedic, medical clinic, and enhanced health regime offer peace of mind. Roomy facilities offer comfortable travel with plenty of breathing room for all.
Cost of the Journey Cost of the journey is based on cabin type (double prices shown below, please ask us about single availability/pricing) Interior Twin: $10,451 | Exterior Twin: $11,556 | Main Twin: $12,151 | Comfort Twin: $12,746 | Select Twin: 13,426 | Superior Twin: $13,851 Cost includes: Passage aboard the Ocean Endeavour, applicable taxes and credit card fees, complimentary expedition jacket, contribution to Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund, special access permits, entry, and park fees, expert expedition team, guided activities, sightseeing and community visits, all Zodiac excursions, port fees, pre-departure materials, educational program, Photo Equipment Trial Program, interactive workshops, evening entertainment, all shipboard meals. Cost does not include: Your flight from home to Toronto and from Ottawa to home, and charter flights of $1375 (Toronto to Kangerlussuaq) and $1270 (Resolute to Ottawa), which will be added to your invoice, program enhancements/optional excursions, gratuities, personal expenses, mandatory medical evacuation insurance, additional expenses in the event of delays or itinerary changes, possible fuel surcharges and administrative fees, pre- and post-trip hotel accommodation.
Please note: Cruise payments are subject to the terms and conditions of the cruise company, Adventure Canada, we contract with and may be fully non-refundable. These terms and conditions are primary over those of Naturalist Journeys.
Naturalist Journeys’ Added Value: Why cruise with Naturalist Journeys? First and foremost, it doesn’t cost you more to cruise with us. You pay the same rate you would if you booked directly through the operator. That’s where the perks come in! When you book with Naturalist Journeys, you’re part of a group. We send a leader with you who adds excellent hosting and interpretation skills, and facilitates group interaction. We also send you a species list and trip report once the trip is over. So really, you get the benefit of a small-group guide without the added cost!
Please plan to make air travel plans only after the minimum group size has been met. We will send you a confirmation email as soon as the trip has been confirmed.
Arrival Airport: Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
Arrival Details: Plan to arrive August 2, at your leisure.
Departure Airport: Ottawa International Airport (YOW).
Departure Details: Plan flights to depart August 16, at your leisure.
Travel Tips: You will need to book a hotel in Toronto for the night of August 2. For convenience, there are two hotels at the Toronto Airport. The Sheraton Gateway Hotel is connected to the airport at Terminal 3 and the Alt Hotel Toronto Airport is accessible via the airport terminal link train. In addition to these, there are many hotels in the surrounding area.
You’ll return to the Ottawa airport after your expedition cruise and will need to overnight there prior to your flight home on August 16. There are several choices for hotels very close to the airport and we would recommend the Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport or the Fairfield Inn and Suites Ottawa Airport.
Visa Requirements: A visa is not required for US citizens for a tourist visit of this length.
Browse below for trip reports and species lists from past versions of this and other tours from this destination.
John’s first polar adventure was in 1994 when he worked as a general laborer at Palmer Station Antarctica. He has spent the last 29 years figuring out ways to continue to visit high latitudes. This has included stints researching Adelie Penguins, conducting biological inventories on the Antarctic Peninsula, participating in bird research efforts in the Bering Sea and northern Baffin Bay, and as a guide/naturalist on many expeditions to the Antarctic continent, as well as to South Georgia and the Falklands and Hudson Bay in the north. John obtained his BA in Zoology from the University of Montana and MS in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming. He was born and raised in northeastern Montana and has had a strong interest in wildlife in general and birds specifically for as long as he can remember. When he isn’t visiting the ends of the world, he is the Regional Grassland Conservation Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Prairie and Mountain Region based in Billings, MT. He was formerly the Branch Chief for Resources and Sage-Grouse Implementation Lead for Montana/Dakotas Bureau of Land Management in Billings. Other relevant positions he has had include Wildlife Biologist with the BLM in Glasgow, MT and the Zoology Program Manager at the Montana Natural Heritage Program in Helena, MT. Additional irrelevant positions include bread store worker, fence builder, and snow shoveler at an Antarctic base. His life in Billings intersects with two teenage boys Benton and Crean and his long-suffering wife Laura. Two Flat-Coated Retrievers in the house, Sage and Quill, keep them all entertained and provide John endless hours of enjoyment each fall chopping cockleburs from their fur.
Other trips with John Carlson
North Spitsbergen: In the Realm of Polar Bear & Ice Birding & Summer SolsticeJune 18 - 25, 2024
The Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica Our Classic Antarctic Cruise on the HondiusJanuary 4 - 22, 2025
- North Spitsbergen: In the Realm of Polar Bear & Ice
Essential Information +
This information is important for being prepared for your journey; we want you to have the best experience possible. If you only read one section, this one is key!
Ahead of Your Tour
- Make sure your passport will be valid at least six months after the date of your scheduled return to the U.S.
- Please check current CDC recommendations for travel to Canada and Greenland and consult with your doctor about general travel vaccinations you should have as precaution for travel. See the “General Health and Inoculations” section below.
- Emergency medical and evacuation insurance to the minimum value of $500,000 USD per person is MANDATORY for participation in all Adventure Canada expeditions. Full health coverage and repatriation is available through Allianz Travel Insurance.
- Plan your flight reservations arriving into Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) and departing Ottawa International (YOW). Please discuss flight details with Naturalist Journeys before you confirm your flight booking. Once confirmed, send a copy of your itinerary to the Naturalist Journeys office please.
- Soft sided luggage/duffel bags are easiest for packing. Pack essential medications in your carry-on luggage, as well as one day of clothing and optics in case of luggage delay.
Arrival into Toronto Pearson Intenational (YYZ)
Please note. If you are delayed in travel, please FIRST call the number of our operator. As a backup, also contact our office (both numbers are on your emergency contact list).
Please plan to arrive at your leisure at Toronto Pearson International (YYZ) and overnight at your own expense.
Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.
Departures from Ottawa International (YOW)
Please plan to overnight in Ottawa on at your own expense and then depart from Ottawa International (YOW) at your leisure.
Please check the Travel Details section of this tour for additional information and updates.
Passport, Visas & Documents
Guidelines and regulations can change. It is always advisable to double-check the country’s documentation requirements 60-90 days ahead of traveling. Information for U.S. citizens can be found at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages.html.
If you are from another country, determine whether you need an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), and contact the embassy website for additional guidelines.
Passport: As of the time of writing, you must have a passport that is in good condition and is valid for six months AFTER your scheduled return to the U.S. You should have at least one blank page per stamp. The blank pages need to say “Visas” at the top. Pages marked “Amendments and Endorsements” will not be accepted.
Visa: At the time of writing, US citizens are not required to get a tourist visa for stays of this tour's duration. You will need proof of a return ticket. The necessary documents will be distributed by your airline while in flight or provided for you upon arrival. We advise that you bring your eContact list of hotels for use at immigration as well.
As a precaution for lost or misplaced documents you carry on your person during travel, we highly recommend you keep hard and digital backup copies on your phone (either photo or PDF scan), as well as a hard copy left with your emergency contact at home. The recommended important documents to copy include, but are not limited to; your passport ID page, travel visa, the front and back of your credit card(s), the airline barcode on your luggage. This will greatly expedite getting new ones if necessary – we hope everyone will always keep travel documents close so that losing them will not be an issue.
All passengers’ passports will be collected for safekeeping by the ship’s concierge upon embarkation at the start of the voyage, and returned upon disembarkation.
General Health & Inoculations Information – Be Prepared!
We will share your health information with your guide. This information will be kept confidential but is very important as we want to be best prepared in case of medical emergency.
Vaccinations: Bring your up-to-date vaccination records with you. At the time of writing, there are no required vaccinations to enter Canada or Greenland. However, the CDC recommends that all travelers be up to date with routine vaccinations and basic travel vaccines (such as Hepatitis A and Typhoid) before traveling to any destination. Please check with your doctor for recommendations at least 4-6 weeks before departing on your trip. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage for Canada and Greenland is helpful or you may contact them by phone at (800) CDC-INFO or (800) 232-4636.
Prescriptions: It is a good idea to pack any meds you take regularly in your carry-on luggage. Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses. Bring an adequate supply of any prescription medications you use, a copy of the prescription and a list of generic names of your medicines as “back-up” in case it is necessary to purchase drugs while abroad. You’ll want to keep medications in their original, labeled containers.
Allergies: To be prepared for environmental triggers to allergies or breathing difficulties, please bring your allergy and/or asthma medication(s). If you have severe allergies talk to your doctor about carrying an EPI pen and notify your guides. It is also recommended to carry with you an up-to-date record of known allergies, chronic medical problems and Medic Alerts so that, if necessary, emergency treatment can be carried out without endangering your health.
Common Ailments: We recommend that you bring a travel-sized first aid kit and a supply of standard over-the-counter medications for prevention or treatment of common ailments (such as diarrhea, constipation, stomach upset, cough, congestion, head or body aches, insect bites and sunburn); as well as ointments, moisturizer, sunscreen, oral rehydration salts, band-aids, moleskin for blisters, cotton swabs, nail clippers, and tweezers, etc.
There is a basic infirmary and crew doctor available for passengers needs. Though the ship carries an extensive array of equipment and supplies, this facility is intended as a basic or emergency service and passengers should ensure they bring an adequate supply of prescriptions. There are charges for services rendered.
Weather & Climate
Weather in the summer months ranges from just above freezing into the 40s°F, even low 50s°F when slightly inland. Rainfall is not particularly abundant but you should always prepare for cold and wet conditions. Plan to protect yourself from additional hours of sun exposure as days are longer this time of year.
Food & Drinks
Aboard the Ocean Endeavour, breakfast and lunch include a wide variety of tasty and healthy choices. Globally inspired a la carte suppers offer options to suit every taste, including fish and vegetarian options. Desserts are made fresh daily. When possible, local delicacies such as caribou and Arctic char, cod cheeks, and so on are incorporated.
There is a well-stocked bar on board, staffed by a professional bartender in the late morning, afternoon, and evening. A varied list of wine and sparkling wine will be available in the dining room and bar. Payment is through the onboard chit system and settled via your Shipboard Account.Food sensitivities, special diets, and personal choices can be accommodated with advance notice. For children’s meals and those with food allergies and restrictions, please advise us in writing well in advance of departure so we can best accommodate your needs.
Bottled water will be available for field trips and drinking water is provided for you to refill a bottle. One of the many ways we strive to do our part for the environment is by trying to reduce our consumption of plastics; if convenient we appreciate if you can bring reusable water bottles.
Packing, Clothing & Laundry
Dress on board is informal at all times. Some—but not all—dress up for the captain’s dinners. For landings, we will advise you of weather-appropriate clothing before disembarkation. Footwear is required at all times outside of your cabin.
Basic laundry service is available on board. Please allow twenty-four hours for turnaround time, although laundry picked-up in the morning will often be available the afternoon of the same day. Dry cleaning service is not available. Charges will be debited to your Shipboard Account, payable at the end of the voyage.
*Doing your laundry by hand using laundry detergent in your cabin is strictly prohibited as this can cause severe damage to the ship’s water treatment facilities.
Please, pack as lightly as possible. Please do not bring anything more than you must. Lay out your hopeful things to take and then do a serious paring down. A conversion table for luggage weight in the operator's metric requirements below is: 10 kilograms = 22.046226218 pounds.
From our operator:
- Weight restrictions apply on all charter flights, and stowage space aboard the ship is limited. Baggage tags indicating your cabin number will be distributed at our Orientation Briefing prior to departure; ensure your full details are attached to all pieces of luggage. Your TOTAL luggage allowance is 30kg. This includes 20kg allowed as checked luggage, and an additional 10kg as carry-on. You may not carry more than 10kg as carry-on luggage and you may not add the difference to your checked allowance should your carry-on weigh less than 10kg. ADDITIONAL BAGGAGE WEIGHT CANNOT BE PURCHASED, so take care when packing. We strongly recommend weighing your bags prior to departure to avoid disappointment and confusion at check-in. Aircraft payload is set and monitored by Transport Canada.
- Please be mindful that the Ocean Endeavour is a scent-free environment. When packing, kindly try to avoid bringing scented products on board.
- On Ocean Endeavour trips, Adventure Canada will provide you with a 100%-waterproof expedition jacket. You must provide your own GoreTex (or similar) waterproof pants. This gear, worn over your insulating layers, will ensure that you stay safe and comfortable while on the expedition.
TRAVEL TIP: Imagine NOT getting your suitcase upon arrival. Wear your most important shoes for the field and have one day’s clothing change (including a change of underwear!). And please DO NOT pack any essential medications, or your vital optics, in your checked luggage!
The U.S. dollar (USD) is the standard aboard the ship and is used to settle the shipboard account. The Canadian dollar (CAD) is used in the gift shop, for equipment rental and excursions. Danish kroner (DKK) are used in Greenland, and you can pay with the most common credit and debit cards in most towns. We advise you carry a mix of different types of payments, such as cash, an ATM card, and a credit card. For the current exchange rate, please refer to an online converter tool like www.xe.com, or your bank. U.S. dollars in good condition (no rips or tears) are taken as a form of payment but shopping for smaller handicrafts may necessitate using local currency.
We suggest you have more than one card available, if possible. You may want to bring more than one brand of card (VISA and Mastercard are commonly accepted; American Express is less common). Also, we recommend that you advise your bank or credit card company that you will be traveling abroad to avoid questions, card freezes, or charges. If you have a choice of cards, bring one with no foreign exchange fees.
Traveler’s checks are not widely accepted. They can be difficult to exchange. We do not advise you use them.
Tipping is optional and completely at your discretion. If you would like to show our appreciation to your guides, ship and hotel staff or anyone associated with this tour, it is entirely appropriate. Know that they appreciate anything you care to give and of course you can do more if you wish!
Tipping aboard ship:
Tipping is recommended at $15 USD per person, per day, and is totalled and divided amongst the ship’s crew. This gratuity will be automatically added to your final Shipboard Account statement. However, we recognize that tipping is an individual preference and should reflect the level of service your feel you have received onboard. You may opt to increase or lower the amount you would like to tip, or you may choose to tip individually rather than add your tip to the pool that is divided amongst the ship’s staff. Please notify the Reception Desk of your tipping preference. Adventure Canada staff do not accept tips.
Cell Phones & Internet Service
If you plan on using your cell phone while in Canada, please check with your wireless provider to see if your phone and service will work. Ask for “international roaming” to be activated on your phone. Or you can buy a local SIM card at the airport and insert this in your mobile phone (just make certain your phone can accept one).
The ship has facilities available for incoming/outgoing email and telephone, both via satellite. Wi-Fi access cards can be purchased. They are priced by the minute and provide you with a code to access shipboard Wi-Fi from your devices. The Wi-Fi does not work consistently on board and internet access is not guaranteed due to areas where satellite coverage is not available.
Make sure if you do NOT want to use your cell phone that you turn off your cellular data. You could incur huge charges if you are not on Wi-Fi. Putting your phone in airplane mode if you mainly use it for photos will save the battery as well.
The ship uses 220-volt AC current, with recessed outlets of the round, 2-pronged European type. If you bring any electrical devices, be sure to bring both an international adaptor and converter. Some new devices have dual voltage (110 or 220), so an adapter is sufficient, however, older ones will not have this option and therefore a converter will be needed. More information can be found at www.power-plugs-sockets.com.
Toronto and Ottawa are on Eastern Time and observe daylight savings time. Greenland will be two hours later. A handy resource for converting time is www.timeanddate.com.
Smoking Aboard Ship
Smoking is NOT permitted in your cabin or aboard the ship except in very limited designated areas. It is prohibited in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle or zodiac excursion.
Transportation To Shore
When taking voyages from the ship, you will be going aboard smaller vessels called Zodiacs. They are highly manoeuverable, extremely durable, and safe. Life jackets (provided) and wet weather gear must be worn at all times while aboard a Zodiac. Your Zodiac driver is responsible for your safety as well as that of the others in the boat and has the authority to refuse disembarkation should you be dressed inappropriately for the weather conditions—as this can put you and your fellow travellers at risk. Please follow crew instructions and suggestions aboard these vessels.
Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone us toll free at (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey!
Pace & Protocols +
Pace of the Tour & What to Expect
You will receive a Schedule-at-a-Glance and list of hotels (our eContact List) a few weeks before your departure. This will serve as an outline for each day and alert you to any recent changes made in the schedule or to our hotels, if needed.
Our journeys are set up to follow the rhythm of nature. Our focus is on birding and nature; we offer full, well-planned field days and often get up early for that magical time around dawn. We generally follow the published itinerary, but we stay flexible to the weather, wildlife opportunities and the interests of the group. Your guide will keep you apprised of the next day’s schedule at each evening meal, noting what to bring and what to prepare for. Questions and/or concerns are welcome.
The pace of our Naturalist Journeys tours is moderate; to fully participate you should be able to get in and out of vehicles several times a day, and walk 1-3 miles over uneven terrain. It is important to participate with a flexible attitude as adjustments may be made in our schedule to make the most of our time in the field or for other purposes at your guide's discretion. We are not a “listing” bird company that drills down on target species, but at times we do wait for those special species unique to the places we visit. During the day, we take time to stop for photos and for educational opportunities to learn about conservation projects, landscapes, and geology. We appreciate other taxa as well as birds, with mammals often the biggest draw but plants and butterflies are also very popular. Our clients often lend their own expertise to the mix.
We like to make meals a fun and memorable part of the experience, too. Breakfasts are often at hotels, and we carry snacks, fruit, and water in the vans each day. Lunches are a mix of picnics in the field (weather dependent) and a chance to dine with locals at small cafes and restaurants. For dinner, we pride ourselves in our homework to keep up with the best choices for dining, choosing restaurants with atmosphere that specialize in local foods. On occasion we keep dinner simple to go back out in the field for sunset wildlife viewing or night walks. In some remote locations, our choices are limited. If you are tired, room service for dinner may be an option you can choose.
Naturalist Journeys International Trips: Guide Role
Naturalist Journeys supports ecotourism and the development of excellent local guides. Once we know our international partners and guides well, we can send out small groups working directly with these trusted partners, adding a Naturalist Journeys guide to assist the local expert when we have a group of 6-7 or more. This helps us keep your costs down while retaining tour quality. The local guide is your main guide. You can expect your Naturalist Journeys guide to be well-researched and often they are experienced in the destination, but their role is not to be primary, it is to help to organize logistics, help you find birds, mammals, and interesting other species in the field, keep reports, help facilitate group interactions, and to keep the trip within Naturalist Journeys' style. Local guides live in the countries we travel to, know the destinations intimately, and are often the strongest force for conservation in their countries. They open many doors for us to have a rich experience.
Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle or in any situation where the group is participating in an activity together, such as a vehicle excursion or a guided walk. Please respect all designated smoking areas at hotels and restaurants.
As a courtesy to each other, we ask that all travelers please rotate seating. On international trips we may all be in one small bus, on some trips we are in vans, particularly the roomy Sprinter Vans when available. Some areas require us to be in smaller 4-wheel drive or safari vehicles. Rotation allows you to sit with different drivers and alternate front and back seating.
Photo Release & Sharing
We take many group photos and will share photos with the group. And after your tour, we will organize a chance to share photos via Dropbox or Google Photos. Please note that this is our policy and if you prefer to be excluded, we need to know ahead of your tour.
By registering for this tour, you agree to grant to Naturalist Journeys and its authorized representatives’ permission to record on photography film and/or video, pictures of my participation in the tour. You further agree that any or all of the material photographed may be used, in any form, as part of any future publications, brochure, or other printed materials used to promote Naturalist Journeys, and further that such use shall be without payment of fees, royalties, special credit or other compensation.
You are traveling in remote areas. Naturalist Journeys strongly recommends you have full medical and evacuation insurance from a company such as Allianz, for all international travel. If you do not have medical coverage or evacuation coverage on your existing travel insurance policy or for some reason elected not to take that out, we advise getting an evacuation plan with Global Rescue, World Nomads, Medjet, Allianz (they can do evacuation only) or a similar company. These plans are typically $300-$400 for a year for multiple destinations. This coverage may be a part of a larger Travel Insurance policy but can also be purchased on its own.
Please contact Naturalist Journeys by email at email@example.com or telephone our office: (520) 558-1146 or toll free: (866) 900-1146 if you have any questions. Many thanks for traveling with us and we hope you enjoy your journey.
Packing List +
Please pack light!
Soft luggage is much easier for us to pack than a more rigid hard sided piece, so if you have the choice, please use your soft luggage. Be sure to have your name and address on the inside of the bag, as well as on the luggage tag on the handle. It is our hope that you can pack in one checked suitcase that does not exceed 45 pounds. Be sure to pack your personal medication, airline tickets, passport, binoculars, camera, and other essential items in your carry-on bag. You will want a day pack for field trips, so this is an ideal carry-on. Please reconfirm your airline’s baggage weight and size restrictions about a week or so before departure.
Advice from our operator:
"We experience a wide variety of weather conditions during our expeditions. Your ability to cope with weather, sea, and Zodiac conditions – and dress accordingly – will ensure you are able to participate fully in all aspects of the expedition. The following list is intended to provide you with basic guidelines. We recommend dressing in layers. By wearing a series of clothes in varying materials and thicknesses, you can readily adjust comfort levels more precisely than with single, heavier garments. The most important layer on our expeditions is the outer one – your wind and waterproof raingear. You should not expect to participate in the expedition without waterproof gear. We supply the rubber boots. These are intended to get you from the Zodiac to shore—they do not provide adequate support for extended hikes.
Practical and comfortable are the main principles for packing; the dress code on board is casual. When packing, don’t weigh yourself down with too many clothes or too much gear. Select practical, technical attire for your expedition days. The following is intended to assist in packing for expedition travel and should not be considered an exhaustive list.
Please be mindful that the Ocean Endeavour is a scent-free environment. When packing, kindly try to avoid bringing scented products on board.
You will be supplied with an Adventure Canada expedition jacket—windproof and waterproof—which is yours to keep after the voyage! You will also be supplied with rubber boots for use during the expedition. Rain pants are an essential component of any expedition. Your Zodiac drivers are authorized to refuse disembarkation should you be improperly attired for weather conditions. Please prepare and dress accordingly."
TRAVEL TIP: Imagine NOT getting your suitcase upon arrival. Wear your most important shoes for the field and have one day’s clothing change (including a change of underwear!). And please DO NOT pack any essential medications, or your vital optics, in your checked luggage!
Clothing & Gear
- Long pants, 2-3 pair, lightweight for on board and warmer for shore excursions
- Long sleeve shirts/turtlenecks, 4 – think layering
- T-shirt or equivalent for layering (optional)
- Shorts, 1 pair for use aboard
- Bathing suit, for hot tub, pool and optional polar dip
- Personal underclothing and pajamas
- Long underwear, complete set, lightweight (silk or synthetic)
- Exercise clothing
- Raincoat and pants – these double as wind break (GoreTex or Klimae; ankle zippers recommended for ease of use (ESSENTIAL ITEM)
- Medium to heavy outer jacket for warmth and wind protection, can layer with your raingear
- Warm sweater or fleece shirt (synthetic recommended; consider zippered pockets and adjustable seals at wrist and waist)
- Fleece or down vest (windproof, if possible, this is a great clothing item for this climate)
- Rain gear – these double as windbreaks. A two-piece suit is preferred. It is important that this be both waterproof and breathable, you will most likely be wearing it for active activities (walking, birding), as well as large enough to fit over other layers for sedentary activities (boat trips) as an additional layer.
- Warm jacket (windproof) can be same as your rain gear if you layer adequately.
- Comfortable clothes for evening (a cleaner version of your field clothes, think of what feels good at day’s end)
- Hat with broad brim for sun
- Scarf or neck gaiter, warm, water-repellent gloves and mittens, warm beanie hat
- Socks, 4-5 pairs, wool or wool blend suggested
- Comfortable walking shoes (such as tennis shoes) with good tread for on the ship
- The ship will provide rubber boots that are comfortable enough for hiking. For those who may be participating in longer hikes, you may be more comfortable using your own hiking boots (optional).
Equipment & Miscellaneous
- E-ticket verification
- Personal identification
- Passport, visa (if required), travel insurance info, money & credit cards.
- A secure pouch to carry the items above on your person at all times (such as a secure, under-clothing document pouch)
- As a backup: copies of all the above (phone and/or paper) packed in a separate location than on your person, plus a set given to your emergency contact at home as a backup. For passport, copy of the ID and entry stamp pages.
- Small daypack to carry gear ashore (essential!)
- Waterproof bag/dry sack (for keeping gear dry on Zodiac transfers
- Umbrella (compact and not brightly colored)
- Walking sticks (collapsible, optional)
- Flashlight or headlamp with fresh batteries.
- Alarm clock (If you use your phone, important to turn off data roaming)
- Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
- Sunglasses with neck strap
- Insect repellent
- Bug netting/hat
- Toiletry articles
- Sleeping mask or equivalent to cover your eyes if you are light sensitive
- Ear plugs to combat ambient noise
- Binoculars (a hotel shower cap is great to cover these when conditions are wet)
- Spotting scope (optional). Guides will have a scope to share, but feel free to bring your own.
- Camera and extra battery, digital chips etc., lens cleaning supplies and your instruction manual – at least load that to your kindle or phone... Do a good check before leaving. (optional)
- Electrical converter and two-pronged European plug adaptor (220V)
- Alarm clock
- Water bottle
- Gallon-size Ziploc bags for keeping things dry
- Laundry soap for hand washing, travel sewing kit
- USB drive for data transfers
- Notebook and pen or journal (optional)
- Field guides (optional)
- Phrase book (optional)
WE DO NOT RECOMMEND TRAVELING WITH PRECIOUS OR VALUABLE JEWELRY – don’t tempt anyone and don’t bring things you’d regret losing - your mind will be at ease!
Medical & First Aid Items
- Heath insurance and vaccination records (kept in personal pouch with other travel documents)
- Personal medications (and copy of vital prescriptions)
- Motion sickness preventatives
- Personal first aid kit and medications for general ailments such as digestive upsets or indigestion, inflammation and pain, allergies, minor cuts
- Copy of eyeglass prescription, and any medical alerts
- Extra pair of eyeglasses or contacts
- Band-aids, moleskin to protect against blisters
- Antibacterial gel
Suggested Reading List +
There are many titles of interest for Greenland; the following are a few that we have enjoyed that can get you started.
Merlin App — Greeland Pack. A phone-based birding app from Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology. Before departing the U.S., download the app for free, then from within the app, download the “pack” for Greenland
Wildlife & Nature
History & Culture
Your guide will also have a selection of reference books and materials for participants to share. As an Amazon Associate, Naturalist Journeys earns from qualifying purchases, and may get commissions for purchases made through links on this page at no added cost to you.
Useful Links +
- Toronto: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto
- Greenland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenland
- Kangerlussuaq: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangerlussuaq
- Sisimiut: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sisimiut
- Devon Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devon_Island
- Beechey Island: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechey_Island
Nature, Wildlife & Biology
Flora and Fauna of Greenland
Species of Greenland – iNaturalist.org
Conservation, Parks & Reserves
Ilulissat Icefjord (UNESCO)
Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA)
Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA)
Qausuittuq National Park
Geology & Geography
Geology of Greenland
History & Culture
Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
“Devon Island: Mars on Earth” – Article, Amusing Planet
Beechey Island Sites National Historic Site of Canada – Site of the Franklin search expeditions
Helpful Travel Websites
Arrival: Toronto Pearson International (YYZ)
Departure: Ottawa International (YOW)
Homeland Security Real ID Act
National Passport Information Center
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Canada
U.S. Department of State International Travel Information - Canada
Canada Travel Advice and Advisories - Canada
Travel Health Pro (UK) - Canada
Electricity and Plugs
Date, Time & Holidays
Photo credits: Banners: Whale Tail (Andre Gallant), Arctic Safari Group on Zodiacs (Andre Gallant), King Eider (NJ Stock), Sisimiut Village (NJ Stock) Thumbnails: Polar Bear (Andrew Stewart), Arctic Tern (NJ Stock), Walrus (Andrew Stewart), Ivory Gull (NJ Stock), Razorbill (NJ Stock), Beluga Whale (NJ Stock), Red-necked Phalarope (NJ Stock), Gyrfalcon (NJ Stock)