Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., welcomes first cruise ship in years

Not content to let its regional neighbour Ulukhaktok have all the cruise ship action, the small N.W.T. community of Sachs Harbour welcomed about 100 visitors of its own Wednesday.

Quark Expeditions brought about 100 passengers to the community, which has population of about 130

A Zodiac full of cruise ship passengers arrives on the shores of Sachs Harbour. The Quark Expeditions ship can be seen in the background. Approximately 100 tourists visited the N.W.T. community on Wednesday, nearly doubling its population of 130. (Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization)

Not content to let its regional neighbour Ulukhaktok have all the cruise ship action, the small N.W.T. community of Sachs Harbour welcomed about 100 visitors of its own Wednesday.

Though the small Quark Expeditions ship that docked off the hamlet's shores pales in comparison to the luxury-liner Crystal Serenity — which carried about 1,000 passengers — it's still significant for Sachs Harbour, the Northwest Territories' northernmost community. 

The cruise ship was the first to visit Sachs Harbour in at least five years, and its passengers nearly doubled the size of Sachs Harbour, which has a population of about 130.
Tourists are welcomed to the shores of Sachs Harbour by locals. The Quark Expeditions passengers were easily identifiable in their yellow jackets. (Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization)

"It was excellent," said Stephen Wylie, Sachs Harbour's senior administrative officer. "The people coming off the ship were very nice, friendly. Everybody was anxious to learn about Sachs Harbour, and we were anxious to learn about their hometowns as well."

After being brought from the ship by Zodiac, the tourists were greeted by locals who served as tour guides for their visit, directing them through the community with stops at the local museum, grocery store, and community centre.

There, local artisans displayed and sold arts and crafts and provided refreshments, including tea and bannock.
Artisans welcomed the passengers at the hamlet's community centre, displaying and selling crafts and providing refreshments. (Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization)

"It was a little bit different for them," said Wylie. "They wondered how we survive up here when it's so cold! But besides that, they were really impressed.

"People commented how nice and quiet it is, and how clean Sachs Harbour is, and how pretty it is, because we're overlooking the beach and the ocean."

The visitors only made an afternoon stop — part of an 18-day expedition that began in Resolute, Nunavut, and will ultimately end in Anchorage, Alaska — but Wylie is hoping that the Quark Expeditions boat is a sign of more cruise ship traffic in the future.

"The first ship that came through was such a good experience," he said. "We're hoping that this will become a regular thing."
Sachs Harbour sits on the edge of the Arctic Ocean. It is the Northwest Territories' most northerly community. (Inuvialuit Community Economic Development Organization)