Responsible tourism: Greenland and Canada High Arctic cruise
Activity: This itinerary focuses on exploration of Baffin Island’s rich wildlife and history of Arctic exploration. The expedition will hopefully be highlighted by encounters with colonies of rare seabirds, seals, calving icebergs, Polar bears and whales. Often just seeing such extraordinary wildlife can be a very moving experience and clients either donate to related charities or develop a lifelong interest in their conservation. We maintain a ‘leave no trace’ policy when exploring on land and expect clients to follow the same set of guidelines. Our alternative activities like sea kayaking, trekking and guided photography also have a low environmental impact.
Conservation: We are acutely aware of the fragile nature of Polar environments and the species which inhabit them. Therefore we are dedicated to supporting charities which deal with conservation of these areas in particular. This year, for example, we will continue to raise funds for Polar Bears International – an organisation protecting this critically threatened species through research, education, action programs and stewardship. We have also been involved in the development of the ‘Underwater Bait Setter’ – a new piece of fishing equipment which prevents seabird bycatch by setting hooks underwater.
Reducing Emissions and Waste: Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Our vessel burns Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace, rather than going full steam ahead at all times. Our smaller Zodiac landing crafts are more lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines as well. We offer a carbon offsetting option for clients and make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board, disposing of everything on land.
On Board Efforts: We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board and in brochures. Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste by providing a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and even the laundry is done with green detergents. We are committed to providing delicious but sustainably sourced meals during the trip, so rest assured that any seafood you encounter at a meal on board has been reasonably caught.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Community: This trip offers the chance to experience life in traditional Canadian Inuit and Greenlandic communities. As well as generating income and providing alternative employment opportunities for remote communities, we find that using local businesses and engaging with indigenous groups promotes cultural exchange and a mutual understanding. In Sisimut, we will hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and perhaps see a demonstration of “Eskimo Rolling” by one of the former champions of the Greenland Kayaking Championships. At Pangnirtung, we have the chance to admire traditional Inuit art and to support these people by purchasing souvenirs. Their textiles are particularly well made- look out for a famous ‘Pang touque’, which is a knit cap typical of the area.
Staff and Client Preparation: We have developed comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our employees are fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our staff should be experts and able to pass vital information on clients in briefings and presentations. We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators and our own material. We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do.