“Standing on the shoulders of giants” is an expression many hear, not really appreciating what those “giants” did or went through.
Today, we can travel in relative comfort to some of the most remote, inhospitable and unique destinations in the world, all thanks to the pioneers that went before, and of course the rapid progress of modern technology.
Gone are the days of creaking wooden ships powered by sail or steam. These intrepid vessels would plough their way through icy waters in search of the northwest Passage, or entry to Antarctica for the start of a trek to the South Pole. These days, nuclear-powered ice breakers carve a path to the North Pole in all of 14 days – return, no less.
Crossing South Georgia was a matter of survival for Shackleton, but today’s travelers are doing it as a challenge trek. That means cruising in comfort with heat, wi-fi (in some cases) and full service provided. It’s also nice to be able to round Cape Horn on the first attempt!
Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame spent 31 days sailing west, making just 85 miles before he was forced to turn back. In the end, he took a long way round to Tahiti, sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. Now, plucky Antarctic sailors can reach the extremes of the frozen continent and be back on the mainland in as few as 11 days!
The very words “Northwest Passage” speak wonder and excitement to a true Globetrotter. For hundreds of years, dating back to King Henry VII of England and John Cabot in the late 1490s, explorers dreamt of establishing a commercial sea route that connected the Atlantic and Pacific.
This maze of icy channels has enchanted and struck fear in the hearts of explorers in equal measure for hundreds of years. Sir Humphrey Gilbert drowned in 1583 in an attempt to find the fabled trade route from Europe to Asia. In 1619, Danish sailor Jens Munk would try again, only to within a year lose 61 members of his crew to the cold, famine, and scurvy. Only Munk and two others returned to Europe.
Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated 1845 voyage is still shrouded in mystery and legend. He and his crew of 129 men and officers remain in the Northwest Passage to this day. Some are buried on Beechey Island, the rest claimed by the channel’s icy depths.
Dramatic fjords, glaciers and mountains leave passengers awestruck. Arctic wildlife, from whales and walruses to giant, gentle muskox feed and roam the vast lands and waters of the Northwest Passage. Modern villages and untouched ancient ruins somehow survive one punishing, inhospitable Arctic winter after another.
On a modern Northwest Passage expedition (https://www.goway.com/trip/arctic-and-antarctica/northwest-passage-epic-high-arctic/), Gobetrotters might visit traditional Inuit communities, brush up on ancient cultures at remote historical sites, or pay homage to Sir John Franklin and his crew at remote Beechey Island. Some itineraries might make stops at big-wall playground Sam Ford Fjord, the iceberg capital of the world, Qikiqtarjuak (formerly known as Broughton Island), and the picturesque high Arctic community of Pangnirtung, world-renowned for its prolific artists. Zodiac cruises and hiking excursions bring you closer to the raw beauty of waters few have sailed and lands few have explored on foot.
Globetrotters can now retrace those footsteps with added savings on the Northwest Passage expedition Cruise.
The North Pole: A Trip to the Top of the World
The epic journey to the North pole is richly rewarding. Those who make it join a select group of travellers who can say they’ve experienced 90 degrees North.
Imagine stepping out onto meters thick sea ice, a glass of champagne in hand, at the one place in the entire world where all directions lead south. Standing at the North Pole is an epic travel goal only a select few will ever reach in their lifetime.
The geographic North Pole, or ‘True North,’ is located in the Arctic Ocean at a latitude of 90° north, where all longitudinal lines meet. As a result, the area has no time zone! The water is over 4,000 meters deep, and is typically covered in ice 1.8 to 3 meters thick.
The 50 Years of Victory is the world’s most powerful nuclear icebreaker. Being onboard as it powers its way to the North Pole, crushing through multi-year sea ice, is every bit as thrilling as you’d expect–and it’s far more comfortable than you might think. The hotel area of the ship was purpose-built for passenger travel and is located in a superstructure above the hull, offering some dampening of the shake and grind of icebreaking. Each cabin offers exterior views, and you’ll enjoy chef-prepared meals in a casual dining atmosphere throughout the trip.
A once-in-a-lifetime journey, plan to visit the “top of the world” before heading south to the southernmost region… Antarctica.
Antarctica: Earth’s Last Great Untouched Wilderness
Expedition travel to the southern end of the world is dynamic by nature. The powerful forces that can change conditions in the Antarctic—sea ice, ocean currents, wind, waves and weather—have a beautiful quality to them that often leaves people speechless. That’s what makes the place so special. This dynamism helps remind us that Antarctica isn’t just a standard out-and-back destination. It is a wilderness in the truest sense of the word. It has its moods, its hidden secrets, its ability to surprise and impress anyone and everyone, regardless of where they come from.
Countless Gentoo, Chinstrap, and Adelie penguins all arrive back near the continent and do what they’ve done for millennia: return to their icy outposts on the Antarctic Peninsula, find their mate (or a suitable mate if they aren’t able to reunite with their past ones), build or repair a nest made of stones, and raise a family. Humpback whales return in great numbers from their warm water wintering grounds off coastal Brazil. Killer whales and leopard seals patrol the waters of the Gerlache Strait, looking to exploit the bounty of the fat summer season. The sea ice provides glimpses into the frozen reality that is Antarctica, and the wondrously carved icebergs display their surreal natural art forms up and down the coastline. Landscapes and glaciers rob people of their entire vocabularies, other than the simple word, “Wow!”
Antarctica is indeed a magical place. It has ability to move people.
Goway is hoping to “move” you to book your Antarctica adventure with the Ultimate Ross Sea Adventure where you can save up to US $1790 /CA $2330.