David Tanguay loves to travel, but nothing had quite prepared him for experiencing the spectacular Canadian High Arctic. David had spent eight years working in travel and tourism, a career that took him to China, Spain and other destinations. Three years ago, he joined Quark Expeditions as an account manager, to work with travel agencies and tourism companies and help them understand the polar travel experience.
The best way to speak knowledgeably about polar travel is to experience it first-hand. So, in 2013 when David had the chance to participate in the Antarctic Explorer: Discovering the 7th Continent expedition, he jumped at the chance.
When the 12-day expedition was over, David couldn't stop thinking about the trip and how amazing it was. The following year, when he had the opportunity to go to the High Arctic, he knew only one thing could make the experience even more amazing: he invited his father to join him.
“I've been a traveler since I was young, and my parents always supported me,” David said, “but even so, they never did much traveling themselves.”
A Resolute Departure
Despite being nervous because he speaks only French, David's father, Yves Tanguay, agreed to go. They traveled together to Resolute, cruised down the eastern coast of Baffin Island and then crossed the Davis Strait to reach Greenland. He and his father had a great time, and David noted the experience was completely different from his first expedition.
“No one lives in Antarctica; the continent is purely ice, so you see mainly wildlife, as opposed to the Arctic where it's a region in itself. There are multiple destinations with different highlights and there's also a huge cultural experience component to an arctic expedition.”
On his first polar expedition, David thought he knew what to expect, but he quickly learned to expect the unexpected while traveling in the Polar Regions.
"You can go from one place where you'll see eight whales jumping out of the water, then the next day you'll see 100,000 king penguins in South Georgia, and then another day you'll see Adélie penguins, or leopard seals on icebergs,” he said. “The diversity and surprises are just non-stop. Every day is an amazing day."
Unforgettable Moments in Ilulissat
Their High Arctic expedition took the Tanguays across Greenland, to Ilulissat, Sisimiut and Kangerlussuaq. It was all amazing, but David said that for both he and his father, the Ilulissat Icefjord remains a perfect memory.
“There's a huge walk you can do along the glacier and we did that, because we're both huge hikers; we love hiking,” David recalled. “At one point, we were going up a hill and then we sat down to rest. It was a beautiful day -- it was stunning. It was sunny and there were no clouds and it was warm enough to take off our jackets and we started looking at the icefjord and were talking and all of a sudden, there was this whale we could see jumping out of the water and we saw it together. It was a very emotional moment for both of us, one that neither of us will ever forget.”
It was one of life's perfect moments, and David said his father will probably talk about the trip for the next five years.
“He was excited every day and I think the fact that he did this with one of his sons was the cherry on the cake.”