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Into the Northwest

Passage 2009
Aboard the Clipper Adventurer
Expedition Log: August 20 -
September 1, 2009

written by
Robert McGhee
photos by
Mike Beedell
Day One: Arriving in Ottawa
Thursday, August 20, 2009

The expedition assembled in Ottawa, and gathered at an early evening briefing held in the Chateau Laurier
hotel. In addition to making new acquaintances, many recognized friends made during earlier Adventure
Canada voyages. After a brief introduction to the staff, and information on how the early morning flight to
Resolute would be organized, most wandered off seeking dinner in the hot and humid evening. A midnight
thunderstorm and a wakeup call at 5 am shortened the night.

Day Two: North to Resolute

Friday, August 21, 2009

August 21: In various stages of sleep deprivation, we set out our baggage for transfer and by 6:20 had
obediently boarded the buses waiting to take us to the airport. Bypassing normal airport security and
screening procedures, we walked directly from the buses to a First Air 737 with a giant polar bear painted on
the tail. The plane broke out of clouds over Hudson Strait, and gave us a great view of the strait,
southern Baffin Island and Frobisher Bay. After refueling in Iqaluit we set off for the final 2-hour leg to
Resolute, over interior Baffin, the shallow waters and low islands of Foxe Basin, and then into clouds from
the forecast storm blowing in Resolute. Approaching the airstrip we caught a glimpse of our ship at anchor in
the harbour, and then we were down on the gravel strip with a cloud of dust and rattle of stones.

For first-timers, Resolute provides a harsh welcome to the Arctic: a panorama of barren gravel hills framing
the junked buildings and abandoned machinery from half-a century of military and government construction,
set off this morning by a biting north wind driving flurries of snow. The small bus and vans carrying us to
the village jolted over gravel roads and delivered us to the South Camp Lodge, where hot coffee and heavy
bannock revived us for a walk around the village and a visit to the nearby archaeological remains of an early
Inuit village that was occupied between about AD 1200 and 1400. Several of the winter houses had been
excavated and partially reconstructed, and we could picture families sheltering in small but warm and solid
dwellings when it was 40 below outside with the drifting snow driven by blizzard winds.

By 3 pm we were ready to board the ship by zodiac, ferrying from a shore littered with hunting canoes,
komatik-sleds and staked sled dogs. In the afternoon we learned about the ship’s facilities and undertook the
mandatory lifeboat drill before sitting to an excellent dinner followed by more information in preparation
for tomorrow’s early zodiac cruise to the bird cliffs at Prince Leopold Island. By dinnertime we were in the
middle of Lancaster Sound, riding a light swell from astern, and expecting to drop anchor by midnight. With
the sky still light until midnight, most were in bed and being rocked asleep by the easy motion of the ship. It
really has been a long day, but we have come an immense distance from the humid city heat of Ottawa to the
clean winds sweeping across the first leg of the legendary Northwest Passage.
Day Three: Beechey Island
Saturday, August 22
Up to a bright morning with sun breaking through high clouds, and the temperature 1°C (34°F). We were
anchored off an island with high cliffs and buttresses of brown stone, and the ship was surrounded by wheeling
kittiwakes. After breakfast we lined up to descend the gangway and climb into the zodiacs for a visit to the bird
cliffs on Prince Leopold Island. The boats coasted down the rollers towards an ice-covered spit of land, then
rounded the point into calmer waters and drifted along a set of high and vertical limestone cliffs. We soon began
to encounter small black guillemots floating among the broken bits of blue sea ice washing along this shore, then
a raft of tiny murre chicks that had recently dropped from their cliff-nests and were trying out their wings.
Further along, a couple of large glaucous gulls were patrolling the beach for fallen chicks. The lower ledges of
the cliffs were lined with murres, the late season remnants of a population estimated at 140,000 pairs. On the
higher ledges were fulmars, glaucous gulls, and the white specks of kittiwakes. The air filled with the cries of
birds wheeling around the cliff face, and the pungent odour of a half-million birds drifted to us on the wind.
After an hour in the cold wind, we were happy to see that the captain had brought the ship around the island so
that we had a short trip to its warmth of and comfort.

Before lunch we received a gracious welcome to Nunavut from Bernadette Dean and Andrew Qappik, who
made us aware that traditional Inuit ways continue in the contemporary society of the territory. Although life
has changed immensely for most Inuit over the past couple of generations, the traditional values of being quiet,
humble, skillful and welcoming are still basic to the lives of today’s communities. The welcome was followed
by Mark Mallory’s lecture on Arctic seabirds, the nutrients that they deposit on the land adjacent to their nesting
sites, and the contaminants originating from the industrial south that reach the Arctic through atmospheric
transfers, and which are concentrated in the bodies and nesting sites of marine birds.

During these lectures the ship was making its way northeastwards across Lancaster Sound towards our next stop
at Beechey Island After lunch, and in his own uniquely absorbing fashion, Ted Cowan presented a summary
of the Franklin expeditions and their social context. This provided an excellent background to the afternoon’s
visit to the 1845-46 wintering site of Franklin’s last and lost expedition. By 4 PM the ship was in position off
Beechey Island, and a short zodiac ride took us ashore where four weathered wooden headboards marked a line
of stone-covered graves surrounded by the gravel surface of the dreariest island that can be imagined. For the
next two hours we contemplated these bleak relics of 19th century Northwest Passage exploration, and walked
a couple of kilometers to the south end of the island. Here the remains of Northumberland House, a stone and
timber supply depot built by the search expeditions of the 1850s, is gradually falling apart and scattering its
contents of barrel staves and tin cans along the adjacent beaches. On a terrace above the ruin lies a cross formed
of tin cans filled with stones which was built by the Franklin searchers, a memorial to the men lost in these
efforts, and a series of tacky and poorly cemented cairns raised during the past half century by friends of the
territorial government, civil servants who were allowed to bury their remains in this historic locality. With this
reminder of the eternity of human self-regard, we finished our visit and returned to the ship for dinner.

In the evening the forward lounge was the scene of a marvelous concert by Marshall Dane, who swerved from
country blues and rockabilly to evocative autobiographical ballads. Favourites were an early Beatles song reset
as a walking blues, and a lyrical ukulele-chorded version of Over the Rainbow. Went to bed singing.
Day Four: Bellot Strait
Sunday, August 23
Woke up to a smooth sea and foggy air, temperature rising to 4°C (40°F), and the ship steaming southward
down Peel Sound. Spent the morning listening to Pierre Richard lecturing on his sea mammal research, and
describing the marine animals that we might be fortunate to see in Nunavut waters. This was followed by
an hour with Mike Beedell’s wonderful photographs illustrating his varied adventures across Arctic North
America. By the end of the lectures the fog had lifted and through occasional snow flurries the shore of
Somerset Island was clearly visible off the port side. After lunch Bob McGhee’s lecture dealt with the
ingenious and just plain strange perceptions of the Arctic that have developed in the European imagination
over the past centuries.

At 4 pm we turned to port and entered Bellot Strait, the narrow that separates Somerset Island from the North
American mainland. For the following two hours the ship wound its way through the strait,
shouldering through a heavy current that in places produced tide rips and whirlpools swinging large chunks
of ice in circles. Patches of sunlight fell on red and yellow-brown cliffs, wide valleys leading to vegetated
uplands, and gigantic rock-gardens of unusual geology. Then the animals appeared. First a bear on a high
hillside, then another swimming along the opposite shore, then two sleeping among the rocks above the coast.
A narwhal surfaced just in front of the ship, and then several pods were sighted swimming among the
ice-floes close to shore. A few seals, a small pod of beluga, an immense bowhead whale showing his flukes in
diving beside the ship, and more bears completed the parade. The most memorable were probably a mother
bear and two half-grown cubs, fat and healthy and seemingly ignoring the ship as they travelled on their
journey along the most northerly tip of the North American continent.

In late afternoon the ship rounded a point to reveal two weathered wooden buildings and a flagpole or radio
mast, the remains of the Hudson’s Bay Company post at Fort Ross. This had been established in 1937 to
take advantage of the local trade in white fox pelts, and abandoned eleven years later when ice conditions
had proven too difficult to resupply the post by sea. Going ashore, we found that the dwelling house for the
three traders was being slowly beaten down, with broken windows and doors that had been obviously used
by the curious bears that had explored the house and dismantled much of the furniture. In contrast, the small
store building was in good condition, and a recent renovation had supplied it with an ingenious bear-proof
door. The interior contained shelves with a variety of canned goods, bunks, a table, and a visitors’ book that
contained notes from fifteen years of travelers: cruise ships, government work crews, and Inuit travelers by
snowmobile between Resolute and Taloyuak. Circles and rectangles of boulders on the beaches around the
settlement showed where Inuit who had traded at the post had established their camps, and the area was
littered with the empty tins and bottles of mid-twentieth century occupation. For the first time in this trip we
were ashore in an area with vegetation, and found that most of the flowers had already gone and the leaves of
the ankle-high willow trees had turned yellow. In the early evening, returning to the ship in calm water, the
low sunlight broke through to transform the
landscape into patches of brilliant colour.

While eating dinner the ship began its return westward through the strait, and the last bears of the day—a
mother and cub—were spotted to make a total of nineteen. An outstanding day for animal-observation, with a
bit of historical colour added by the visit to Fort Ross.
Day Five: At Sea through the Ice
Monday, August 24
During the night the ship had steamed southward through the ice, and by morning we were passing through a
scattered field of last winter’s ice pans. Sunlight was barely visible through low fog, closing the horizon to a
few hundred meters and creating a continuous fog-bow to the starboard side of the ship. A large bearded seal
was soon spotted on a floe to starboard, showing no interest in our passage. Dave Reid’s lecture on narwhales
explained some but not all of the mysteries about this fascinating beast, and Andrew Qappik demonstrated the
basic elements of print-making as practiced in his community of Pangnirtung.

The fog and occasional ice-pans continued during the afternoon, when we moved through the narrows of James
Ross Strait. Caroline Mallory instructed us on the grasses, flowers and trees of Nunavut, followed by a lecture
by Ted Cowan on the voyages of John Ross and his nephew James Clark Ross who spent three winters in the
vicinity of our current location. In the evening Bernadette Dean showed her documentary titled Things that
Belong to Inuit, which follows the travels of several Inuit elders to examine museum collections in Toronto,
New York, Philadelphia, Washington and Ottawa. A foggy sunset saw us still steaming slowly southward
through our own small world of water and ice.
Day Six: Gjøa Haven
Tuesday, August 25
By breakfast the ship was approaching the community of Gjoa Haven, gliding through a glassy calm, with the
curtain of fog still closing us off from the outer world. A delegation of elders and youngsters came aboard to
welcome us, and we followed them back ashore. The company wandered along the sandy roads between the
rows of plywood houses and other buildings which make up the community, heading first for the arena where
we were treated to a display of drum-dancing and traditional singing. Outside we tasted bannock freshly cooked
over a wood fire, then visited the Heritage Centre (or Elders’ Museum) and the museum dedicated to Roald
Amundsen’s wintering at this location during his first transit of the Northwest Passage. The fog cleared during
the morning, brightening the colours of the village and producing a pleasant warmth for those wandering the
community looking at the sights and comparing the price of groceries at the Co-op and Northern Stores with
those paid in the south.

The calm conditions allowed Bob Allan to launch his scale model of the St. Roch and it was much
photographed climbing the zodiac-waves in the same location that its namesake passed through half a century
earlier. In the afternoon and evening we steamed westward along the south coast of King William Island, then
through the very narrow Simpson Strait. Here we encountered the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Wilfred
Laurier, which seemed to be engaged in setting out channel buoys and repairing navigation markers on the
shore. In this area we also noticed several coastal cabins, probably the outpost camps of people from Gjoa
Haven. Aside from a glaucous gull and a single seal, we saw no animals, but in the still warm air we were
fascinated by the mirage of floating islands. The evening was devoted to the showing of a video interview with
Henry Larsen, skipper of the St. Roch, talking about his Northwest passages. In the late evening we steamed
into a marvelously subtle, gradual, and very well photographed sunset.
Day Seven: Jenny Lind Island
Wednesday, August 26
Woke up to the same calm sea and prospects of a bright day. We were ashore by 8 AM on Jenny Lind Island, a
low gravel landscape with white lines of snow geese on interior ponds and feeding areas. For three hours we
wandered in search of wildlife sightings, flowers and animal tracks. Saw two small herds of muskoxen (with
calves, which is a hopeful sight), innumerable snow geese, loons and longtailed ducks, an Arctic fox that trotted
along the beach sniffing everywhere for a mouthful, and many smaller birds. Also saw the tracks and diggings
of a bear, probably a grizzly from the nearby mainland. There was a marvellous freedom in being able to wan-
der through this open country of broad vistas and miniature gardens.

On our return, Bernadette Dean presented a lecture titled “Surviving the Cultural Tsunami”, and described the
“Somebody’s Daughter” program designed to pass on traditional sewing, self-awareness and survival skills to
young Inuit women. The early afternoon was devoted to workshops on printmaking and photography, as the
shores to north and south receded into the distance. In the late afternoon Mark Mallory talked about the
miniaturization of satellite tracking equipment, and the resulting fascination research on the travels of Arctic
bird populations during their migrations to and from more temperate regions.

The warm calm evening provided an excellent setting for the Captain’s Dinner, hosted by Capt. Kenth Grankvist
who was warmly applauded for carrying us with such care through the shoals and icefields of the past few days.
Instead of adding to his collection of Canadian hockey jerseys acquired during previous trips, Cedar broke with
tradition to present the captain with a jersey of the new Toronto Football Club. The evening ended with another
session on the upper decks to watch the second spectacular sunset in two days, and an early bed for most of
those who had walked around Jenny Lind Island in the morning.
Day Eight: Victoria Island
Thursday, August 27
Another sunny morning with a temperature of 10°C (52°F), and the realization that we had left the High Arctic
environment of Resolute and were now only 100 km or so north of the treeline. After breakfast we went ashore on the
southern shore of Victoria Island at the mouth of the Nagyoktok River. Three old cabins marked a good landing beach,
and a peregrine falcon greeted the first zodiac, herald of a promising day. Climbing the gradual hill behind the cabins we
noticed a number of boulder rings, which Bob McGhee informed us were tent-rings marking visits to the area by local
Inuit during the nineteenth century, and by Tunnit people four or five thousand years earlier. Two antler harpoons and a
scatter of bones marked the Inuit camps, while the Tunnit occupants had scattered the site with flakes of orange quartzite
that they had knocked from large boulders and used to make blades for their knives and weapons. It was a wonderful
place for hunters to camp during the summer months, with wide views of the river valley to the north and the bay to the
south, and a breeze to combat the mosquitoes. Climbing further up the ridge we saw a small herd of three caribou, a
muskox which wandered down the river bank and a small herd at a distance across the river. The falcon did another
fly-by, as did a yellow-billed loon, while a flock of tiny pipits flitted around the tundra.

By 11 AM the sun had slid behind clouds and the north wind had picked up, encouraging us to return to the ship for
lunch after an exhilarating walk through gentle landscapes. After lunch Bob McGhee talked about Inuit history, and
Dave Reid about living in a northern town, followed by a premiere performance of the Underground Choir, which seems
to specialize in the songs of Stan Rogers. After appropriate applause we retired to dinner, and an evening singalong led
by Marshall Dane. Fog closed in during the evening, and again we were travelling through a small patch of grey water
bounded on all sides by a foggy curtain, steaming westward for the Beaufort Sea.
Day Nine: Dolphin and Union Strait
Friday, August 28
A warm (5°C (42°F) foggy morning with just enough swell to tell us that we had cleared Dolphin and Union
Strait during the night and were now in Amundsen Gulf, the eastern portion of the Beaufort Sea. During
breakfast we anchored off a grey barren coast and ferried ashore for a morning walk. The first attraction was a
small iron ship that had floated ashore at some time in the last century and was now tethered to a huge boulder.
The nameplate read Netchitok (?) and the home port St. John’s. It appears to have been a Newfoundland
sealing ship or coastal freighter that had ended up far from its home waters, perhaps with an owner-skipper who
used his knowledge of ice to make a living in the western Arctic. Just above the shore were a series of boulder
caches, and two larger and more carefully constructed structures that appear to have been graves built about five
centuries ago. Further up the shore, the edge of a gravel terrace carried the remains of a dozen scatters of stone
slabs that marked the camp sites of some Tunnit groups that moved through the area several thousand years in
the past.

After a stroll up the long stairway of raised gravel beaches, and a descent on the backslope, we arrived at a
small crystalline lake. Along the way we saw loons, a hawk, a caribou, the burrows of ground squirrels and the
diggings of a grizzly bear excavating for these small game. We also noted a number of plants not seen during
our more easterly stops, spiders and other miniature inhabitants of the tundra. At noon we returned to the ship as
the fog crept in over the land and the easterly wind began to rise.

A group of hardy (or foolhardy) polar swimmers assembled at the gangway and we had a total of 19 members of
the swim team who braved the polar waters. They jumped in, and were back out almost as fast, some wondering
what had prompted them to take the plunge in the first place. Each swimmer was honoured later with the
coveted red glove and Polar Swim Team badge awards.

The afternoon brought the furthest westerly point in our voyage, at 118 ° 22’ longitude and the border between
Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. The turnabout was celebrated with champagne on the foredeck, group
photos, and a rendering of the Stan Rogers anthem “Northwest Passage.” Having found the hand of Franklin
reaching for the Beaufort Sea, we set sail for Dolphin and Union Strait and a further exploration of Coronation

Carolyn Mallory’s afternoon lecture included fascinating insights on the survival strategies of Arctic plants,
after which Mike Beedell presented his scenic tour of Canada with photos and music.

Dinner was enlivened by the varied costumes relating in a wide variety of ways to the evening’s theme of
“Exploration.” The prize went to Queen Victoria.
Day Ten: Coppermine River
Saturday, August 29
That mountainous island in the distance, completely surrounded by glacier, and clearly visible from the deck of
the Woke to a warmer morning than we have seen on the trip so far, the thermometer reading 13°C (58°F), and
a flat calm with the sun shining through a shifting veil of cloud. Had an early breakfast while the ship anchored
off the community of Kogluktok (formerly Coppermine), and then set off upriver by zodiac to Bloody Falls.
This was the location where Dene warriors travelling with Samuel Hearne in 1771 massacred several families
of Inuit living at a fishing camp at the falls. After an hour’s journey up the broad river we came to a set of
riffles that were impassable for the boats, and we came ashore on the eastern bank. On the way upstream a pair
of bald eagles displayed
themselves from a mud cliff, a golden eagle and a raven did flyovers, and a ground squirrel displayed himself
for those who had not yet encountered this prolific mammal of the Arctic mainland.

We landed on a mudbank, climbed through waist-high willow forest to the flat tundra, and made our way for a
kilometer upstream until we found a gulley descending to the falls. These are really a set of steep and
impassable rapids about 200 m in length, along which most of us wandered lost in the thunder and movement
of the racing water. A few climbed the adjacent gravel ridges which provided a view into the interior of the
continent and halfway to the treeline. The tundra had transformed into its autumn colours of yellow willows
and bright red birches, and the walk to and from the falls gave us our first experience of the soft continuous
tundra vegetation of the mainland.

After lunch Bob McGhee talked about John Franklin’s first and second expeditions, both of which involved the
Coppermine River, and Dave Reid talked about polar bears and the research that has been done on them. A
Hawaiian luau on the afterdeck was graced with calm and sunshine, an odd combination of Hawaiian and
Caribbean cultural events, and a glorious rainbow to top it all off as we steamed eastward through Coronation
Day Eleven: South Bathurst Inlet
Sunday, August 30
When we awoke we were proceeding slowly southward through Bathurst Inlet, with glass-calm water and a
temperature of 12°C (56°F). We passed the small community of Umingmaktok, and by noon had anchored off
the mouth of the Burnside River and the adjacent Bathurst Inlet lodge. During the morning we had been
entertained and instructed by Pierre Richard’s optimistic picture of sea mammal populations as revealed by
recent research, and by Ted Cowan’s views on relationships between early British explorers and the Inuit whom
they met. The latter lecture was interrupted (twice) by announcements of a wolf seen onshore, but the animal
had disappeared (if it ever existed) before cameras reached the deck.

After lunch we went ashore and spent the afternoon among the picturesque rock ridges of Bathurst Inlet. The
tundra glowed in the grey light of a total calm, appearing as a gigantic Persian carpet intricately woven from
strands of scarlet, brilliant yellow, rusts, oranges and browns. Several caribou were spotted, as well as a
peregrine falcon and a golden eagle, but the focus of all eyes was the vegetation and the masses of crowberries,
cranberries, bearberries and occasional blueberries that were hidden in its shelter. Returning onboard in the late
afternoon, just as the sun streamed through the clouds, we steamed on glassy water through a confusing mass of
oddly-shaped low mountains. The evening contest to write the most inspiring whisky-label was won by
Danielle and David Clarke, whose description was a unique drink subtly blending elements of the tantalizing
and the revolting, with a humorous aftertaste.
Day Twelve: North Bathurst Inlet
Monday, August 31
We awoke to a wet-looking morning with the temperature at 10°C (52°F), a wind from the northwest, and a falling
barometer. By breakfast we were steaming slowly into a bay on the northwestern shore of Bathurst Inlet, just south
of the mouth of the Hood River. Before the anchor dropped we had spotted five grizzly bears on the shore—two
lone males and a sow with two cubs. Mom took her cubs up and over the ridge at a run when she heard the rattle
of the anchor chain, but the others ignored our presence. After a thorough scouting it was decided to take pas-
sengers ashore for a walk, and the group stayed noticeably more compact than on other days. Most climbed to the
top of the second ridge where they got a view up the Hood River, the route taken by John Franklin’s party on their
1822 retreat from the coast. While the walkers were returning, the closest bear started to move in our direction,
and continued as everyone bunched up near the beach to watch his progress. He finally sighted us when about 300
m away, stood up to see better, took a short panicky run towards us, then turned tail when Aaron Russ fired a flare
in his direction. It was remarkably exhilarating to be so close to such a powerful and beautiful animal, and these
last moments ashore were the highlights of many people’s ten days of exploration.

Back aboard in the rain we lunched, listened to Cedar’s history of the Adventure Canada experience, and to an
enlightening discussion of the trials and future prospects of Nunavut. By dinnertime we were out of the shelter of
Bathurst Inlet and rolling slightly to the wind off the port bow. A final recap of our venture, a farewell dinner, and
a variety show—which exposed an unexpected range of talents among the passengers, staff and crew—concluded
the events of the day. As the ship rolled across Coronation Gulf we packed, said preliminary goodbyes, and began
to accustom ourselves to the different world that tomorrow will bring.

A Tribute to Mike Beedell So I searched for Charles Darwin

By Diana Tremain In some fine and quiet place.
Huddled over his computer
Who is this man of madness, Digging up the human race.
Of the sky and sea and air?
Wherever there are bones or scat, Bob said, “You mean the one who plunged
You’re sure to find him there. into the sea
And shrank beyond compare?
He’s as crazy as a coot - You will never, ever label him,
Not even Mark can name this species. He’s incomparably rare.”
I questioned Mark - nay pestered him.
Mark said, “He’s just uniquish!” Mike’s a man of many talents.
He really is a star.
I asked Pierre, connaisez - vous? He’ll even give you back rubs
Cet homme of land and sea? If you hang out at the bar.
He shook his head and slowly said,
“For sure, ‘e puzzles me!” I cannot pin you down Mike
(Although I’d like to try).
I sought out blue-eyed Dave And so to Mike and everyone
To provide some pure, hard facts, I say thankyou - and just hope it’s not goodbye.
But those eyes and funny accent
Nearly threw me off my tracks.
Day Thirteen: Cambridge Bay
Tuesday, September 1
Up early in order to get packed by 7 AM, finding a choppy sea and rain lashed by a 55 knot wind. The shores of
Cambridge Bay gradually emerged, with all the marks of a reasonably large Arctic settlement. After a tug
juggled a barge into place beside the pier so that Clipper Adventurer would have enough water to pull in
alongside, we disembarked to a muddy street and a string of vehicles which took us to a few shopping locations
before making the trip to the airport. Rumours of a cancelled flight due to high winds proved to be false, but a
malfunctioning toilet required a detour to Yellowknife where it could be fixed. Flying south over the
Barren Grounds the clouds cleared, and we quickly traced Franklin’s retreat from the Arctic coast to the forest
in the autumn of 1822. Descending to Yellowknife we skimmed a country of lakes, rocks and small spruce trees,
in sunshine that promised a warmth that we haven’t seen in the past ten days. After refueling, and dropping
Bernadette Dean to find a flight to her home in Rankin Inlet, we took off for our evening arrival in Ottawa. The
sudden darkness of the southern night shocked us after ten days of twilight, and brought the sudden realization
that we had entered a different world.

© Robert McGhee
Plant List
List of plants that we saw during our trip through the Northwest Passage. Of course it’s not exhaustive
because too little time was spent at each location, but it should give you a good idea. If you have a
photo of a plant that you cannot identify, I would be happy to help –

Papaver sp. - Arctic poppy

August 22 – Beechey Island Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed
Cerastium arcticum – Arctic mouse-ear chickweed Festuca brachyphylla – Alpine fescue
Cerastium regelii – Regel’s mouse-ear chickweed Festuca viviparoidea – Viviparous fescue
Salix arctica – Arctic willow Saxifraga cernua – Nodding saxifrage
Papaver sp. - Arctic poppy Draba sp. - Mustard plant
Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens Alopecurus magellanicus – Fox-tail grass
Stellaria longipes – Long-stalked starwort Stellaria humifusa – Salt-marsh starwort
Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple saxifrage Poa arctica – Arctic bluegrass
Saxifraga cespitosa – Cespitose saxifrage Leymus mollis – Sea-lyme grass
Saxifraga cernua – Nodding saxifrage Oxyria digyna – Mountain sorrel
Silene uralensis – Nodding bladder campion Descurainia sophioides – Tansy mustard
Draba sp. - Mustard plant Honkenya peploides – Sea-beach sandwort
Festuca brachyphylla – Alpine fescue Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens
Dupontia fisheri – Fisher’s tundra grass
August 23 – Fort Ross Taraxacum sp. - Dandelion
Saxifraga hirculus – Yellow marsh saxifrage Arabidopsis arenicola – Arctic rockcress
Pedicularis hirsuta – Hairy lousewort Draba glabella – Smooth witlow-grass
Alopecurus magellanicus – Fox-tail grass Puccinellia phryganodes – Goose grass
Luzula confusa – Northern wood-rush
Bistorta vivipara – Bistort August 26th – Jenny Lind Island
Stellaria humifusa – Salt-marsh starwort Potentilla pulchella – Branching cinquefoil
Cochlearia groenlandica – Scurvy-grass Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens
Saxifraga tricuspidata – Prickly saxifrage Leymus mollis – Sea-lyme grass
Micranthes nivalis – Snow saxifrage Oxyria digyna – Mountain sorrel
Chrysosplenium tetandrum – Bird’s nest saxifrage Tripleurospermum maritimum – Seaside chamomile
Draba sp. - Mustard plant Armeria scabra – Arctic thrift
Festuca brachyphylla – Alpine fescue Salix arctica – Arctic willow
Saxifraga cernua – Nodding saxifrage Salix reticulata – Reticulated willow
Silene uralensis – Nodding bladder campion Salix polaris – Polar willow
Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple saxifrage Pedicularis hirsuta – Hairy lousewort
Saxifraga cespitosa – Cespitose saxifrage Tephroseris palustris subsp. congesta – Mastadon flower
Cerastium arcticum – Arctic mouse-ear chickweed Hulteniella integrifolia – Arctic daisy
Salix arctica – Arctic willow Silene acaulis – Moss campion
Papaver sp. - Arctic poppy
Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed August 27th – Richardson Islands
Casiope tetragona – White mountain heather Potentilla pulchella – Branching cinquefoil
Carex maritima – Maritime sedge Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens
Leymus mollis – Sea-lyme grass
August 25th – Gjoa Haven Oxyria digyna – Mountain sorrel
Eriophorum scheuchzeri – Arctic cotton grass (single-headed) Gentian sp.
Tripleurospermum maritimum – Seaside chamomile Tripleurospermum maritimum – Seaside chamomile
Salix arctica – Arctic willow Armeria scabra – Arctic thrift
Salix arctica – Arctic willow August 28, 2009 – Clifton Point
Salix reticulata – Reticulated willow Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed
Pedicularis lanata – Woolly lousewort Saxifraga tricuspidata – Prickly saxifrage
Hulteniella integrifolia – Arctic daisy Saxifraga aizoides – Yellow mountain saxifrage
Silene acaulis – Moss campion Rhododendron tomentosum – Labrador tea
Vaccinium uliginosum - Blueberry Saxifraga oppositifolia – Purple saxifrage
Vaccinium vitas-idaea – Mountain cranberry Mountain avens – Dryas integrifolia
Carex scirpoidea – Scirpus sedge Pinguicula vulgaris - Butterwort
Hierochloe alpina – Holy grass Arnica angustifolia – Alpine arnica
Festuca – fescue sp. Erysimum palasii – Arctic wallflower
Cerastium arcticum – Arctic mouse-ear chickweed Silene uralensis – Nodding campion
Stellaria longipes – Long-stalked starwort Pedicularis sp. - Lousewort
Ranunculus sp. - Buttercup Potentilla sp. - Cinquefoil
Castilleja elegans – Northern paintbrush Hulteniella integrifolia – Arctic daisy
Rhododendron lapponicum – Lapland rosebay Cassiope tetragona – White mountain heather
Rododendron tomentosum – Labardor tea Androsace chamaejasme – Rock jasmine
Betula glandulosa – Ground birch Silene acaulis – Moss campion
Salix Richardsonii – Richardson’s willow Salix sp. - Willow
Oxytropis arctica – Arctic oxytrope Tephrostis frigida – Daisy family
Tofieldia coccinea – Northern tofieldia Oxytropis arctobia - Pea
Tofieldia pusilla – False asphodel Eriophorum angustifolium – Multi-headed cottongrass
Androsace septentrionalis – Fairy candelabra Carex aquatilis – Aquatic sedge
Antennaria friesiana – Fries’ pussytoes Ranunculus pygmaeus – Pygmy buttercup
Arctous alpina – Bearberry Draba corymbosa – Flattop whitlowgrass
Artemisia borealis subsp. Richardsoniana – Wormwood Anemone parviflora – Northern white anemone
Astragalus alpina – Alpine milk-vetch Bistorta vivipara – Alpine bistort
Carex saxatilis – Russet sedge Oxyria dygina – Mountain sorrel
Cassiope tetragona – White mountain heather Erigeron humilus – Low fleabane
Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed Erigeron uniflorus – One flower fleabane
Erigeron compositus – Cutleaf fleabane Potentilla arenosa - Cinquefoil
Eriophorum angustifolium – Multi-headed cottongrass Pedicularis lanata – Woolly lousewort
Eriophorum vaginatum – Single-headed cottongrass Micranthes nivalis – Snow saxifrage
Honckenya peploides – Sea-beach sandwort Festuca brachyphylla – Alpine fescue
Luzula confusa – Northern woodrush Poa arctica – Arctic bluegrass
Papaver sp. - Arctic poppy Saxifraga cespitosa – Tufted saxifrage
Pedicularis lanata – Woolly lousewort
Bistorta vivipara – Alpine bistort August 29 – Coppermine River
Plantago canescens – Plantain Salix niphoclada – Barren-ground willow
Poa arctica – Arctic bluegrass Artemisia tilesii - Wormwood
Saxifraga cernua – Nodding saxifrage Lupinus arcticus – Arctic lupin
Saxifraga tricuspidata – Prickly saxifrage Betula glandulosa – Dwarf birch
Silene involucrata – Bladder campion Petasites frigidus – Sweet coltsfoot
Taraxacum sp. - Dandelion Parnassia kotzebuei - Grass of parnassus
Oxytropis arctobia – Pea Pyrola sp. - Wintergreen
Androsace chamaejasme - Rock jasmine Rumex arcticus – Arctic dock
Equisetum arvense - Horsetail August 31 – Horn River
Papaver sp. - Arctic poppy Lathyrus japonicus – Beach pea
Vaccinium uliginosum – Blueberries Hedysarum americanum – Alpine sweet-vetch
Betula glandulosa – Dwarf birch Lupinus arcticus – Arctic lupin
Cassiope tetragona – White mountain heather Mertensia maritima – Seaside bluebells
Empetrum nigrum – Crowberry Betula glandulosa – Dwarf birch
Pedicularis lapponica – Lapland lousewort Salix sp. - Willow
Shepherdia canadensis - Soapberry Cassiope tetragona – White mountain heather
Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed Vaccinium uliginosum - Blueberries
Arctous rubra – Red bearberry Rhododendron lapponica – Lapland rosebay
Andromeda polifolia – Bog rosemary Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens
Rhododendron lapponicum – Lapland rosebay Rhododendron tomentosum – Labrador tea
Salix reticulata – Reticulated willow Equisetum arvense – Horsetail
Arnica angustifolia – Alpine arnica Petasites frigidus – Sweet coltsfoot
Fern sp. Saxifraga tricuspidata – Prickly saxifrage
Astragalus alpinus – Alpine milk-vetch Arctous rubra – Red bearberry
Castilleja elegans – Northern paintbrush
Potentilla fructicosa – Shrubby potentilla
Ranunculus sp. - Buttercup

August 30 – Bathurst Inlet

Empetrum nigrum – Crowberry
Lupinus arcticus – Arctic lupin
Alnus crispa – Green alder
Equisetum arvense – Horsetail
Comarum palustre – Marsh cinquefoil
Artemisia tilesii - Wormwood
Salix arctica – Arctic willow
Andromeda polifolia – Bog rosemary
Achillea millefolium – Yarrow
Salix – Willow sp.
Vaccinium vitis-ideae – Mountain cranberry
Saxifraga tricuspidata – Prickly saxifrage
Betula glandulosa – Dwarf birch
Vaccinium uliginosum – Blueberries
Rhododendron tomentosum – Labrador tea
Arctous alpina – Alpine bearberry
Chamerion latifolium – Dwarf fireweed
Eriophorum brachyantherum – Close-sheathed cottongrass
Cassiope tetragona – White mountain heather
Rhododendron lapponicum – Lapland rosebay
Tofieldia pusilla – False asphodel
Petasites frigidus – Sweet coltsfoot
Luzula confusa – Northern woodrush
Dryopteris fragrans – Fragrant wood fern
Dryas integrifolia – Mountain avens
Elymus mollis – Sea-lyme grass
Rubus chamaemorus – Cloudberry
2009 Out of the Northwest Passage Wildlife Checklist

BIRD SPECIES Seen/ Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12
Common Name Latin Name heard 21-Aug 22-Aug 23-Aug 24-Aug 25-Aug 26-Aug 27-Aug 28-Aug 29-Aug 30-Aug 31-Aug 01-Sep
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata Y Y Y Y
Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica Y Y
Yellow-billed Loon Gavia sp. Y Y Y
Common Loon Gavia immer
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis Y Y Y
Greater Shearwater Puffinus gravis
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus Y Y Y
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons Y
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens Y Y Y
Canada Goose Branta canadensis Y Y Y Y
Brant Branta bernicla
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Greater Scaup Aythya marila
Common Eider Somateria mollissima Y Y Y
King Eider Somateria spectabilis
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis Y Y
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus
Bald Eagle Y
Golden Eagle Y Y
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Y Y Y Y
Rock Ptarmigan Lagopus mutus Y
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Sanderling Calidris alba
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla Y
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima Y
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis Y

Page 1 of 4
2009 Out of the Northwest Passage Wildlife Checklist

BIRD SPECIES Seen/ Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12
Common Name Latin Name heard 21-Aug 22-Aug 23-Aug 24-Aug 25-Aug 26-Aug 27-Aug 28-Aug 29-Aug 30-Aug 31-Aug 01-Sep
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus Y
Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
American Golden Plover Y
Great Skua Stercorarius skua
Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus Y Y
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Herring Gull Larus argentatus Y
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides Y
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri
American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus
Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea
Sabine's Gull Xema sabini
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla Y Y Y
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea Y Y
Dovekie Alle alle
Thick-billed Murre Uria lomvia Y
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle Y
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica
Horned Lark Eremophila alpestris Y Y
American Pipit Anthus rubescens Y Y Y
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Common Raven Corvus corax Y Y Y Y
Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis Y
Lapland Longspur Calcarius lapponicus Y Y Y
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Y Y Y Y
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Hoary Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni
2009 Out of the Northwest Passage Wildlife Checklist

BIRD SPECIES Seen/ Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11
Common Name Latin Name heard 21-Aug 22-Aug 23-Aug 24-Aug 25-Aug 26-Aug 27-Aug 28-Aug 29-Aug 30-Aug 31-Aug
MAMMALS Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12
21-Aug 22-Aug 23-Aug 24-Aug 25-Aug 26-Aug 27-Aug 28-Aug 29-Aug 30-Aug 31-Aug 01-Sep

Polar Bear 19
Bearded Seal 1
Harp Seal
Ringed Seal many many many many many many many many
Narwhal ~40
Beluga 12
Bowhead Whale 1
Arctic Fox 1 1
Arctic Hare
Wolverine 1
Grizzly Bear 5
Collared Lemming burrows burrows burrows burrows burrows burrows burrows
Brown Lemming
Arctic Ground Squirrel ~10
Barren Ground Caribou 3 1 3
Muskoxen 25 1
Tundra wolf 1
Stan Rogers Northwest Passage Lyrics:

Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.

Westward from the Davis Strait ‘tis there ‘twas said to lie
The sea route to the Orient for which so many died;
Seeking gold and glory, leaving weathered, broken bones
And a long-forgotten lonely cairn of stones.

Three centuries thereafter, I take passage overland

In the footsteps of brave Kelsey, where his “sea of flowers“ began
Watching cities rise before me, then behind me sink again
This tardiest explorer, driving hard across the plain.

And through the night, behind the wheel, the mileage clicking west
I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts and did show a path for me
To race the roaring Fraser to the sea.

How then am I so different from the first men through this way?
Like them, I left a settled life, I threw it all away.
To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men
To find there but the road back home again.

Lyrics: Northwest Passage, Stan Rogers

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