The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


September 23 – October 10, 2024

Join JARED DIAMOND on a Voyage From Greenland to Nova Scotia Aboard the New Expedition Cruise Ship Vega

Dear Friends,

map of the route

This voyage along the shores of Baffin Bay, through the Labrador Sea, and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence combines wild landscapes and seascapes of glaciers, fjords, and icebergs with villages and settlements whose recorded history dates to the arrival of Norsemen from the east in the 10th century followed by migrating Inuit from the west in the 13th.

Five days on Greenland’s western coast begin in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Disko Bay, with its magnificent calving glaciers and year-round population of beluga whales. Working our way south, through a world of fjords and ice floes and pausing along the way to visit Inuit communities that dot the shore, we explore a wilderness that remains largely unchanged since the time of Erik the Red, and call at the site of his settlement in Nuuk, now Greenland’s capital.

Crossing the Davis Strait, we reach the southern end of Baffin Island in Canadian Nunavut, where the town of Iqaluit invites us to experience the customs, traditions, and crafts of the Inuit who govern the province. Here in Frobisher Bay and on nearby small islands, we will be on the lookout for polar bears, whales, and walrus, as well as for the myriad seabirds who nest along the cliffs. Then, as we sail along the coast of Labrador and Newfoundland, we visit the Torngat Mountains, sacred to the Inuit, and the abandoned missionary community of Hebron, before exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Norse settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows and discovering the wonders of Gros Morne National Park.

Jared Diamond (photo by Reed Hutchinson)

Pulitzer-prize-winning author JARED DIAMOND

Our special guest lecturer throughout the voyage will be Pulitzer-prize-winning author JARED DIAMOND. In a series of lectures and discussions, Jared will bring his experience and expertise to bear on much that we see and do, with a particular emphasis on why Inuit communities in this part of the world were successful while Viking settlements failed—the subject of a major section of his 2005 award-winning book, Collapse. Jared Diamond is a Pulitzer-prize-winning author of six best-selling books, translated into 38 languages, about human societies and human evolution. As a professor of geography at UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles), he is known for his breadth of interests, which involves conducting research and teaching in three other fields: the biology of New Guinea birds, digestive physiology, and conservation biology. His prizes and honors include the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Pulitzer Prize for Non-fiction, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Science, and election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is a director of World Wildlife Fund/U.S. and of Conservation International. As a biological explorer, his most widely publicized finding was his rediscovery, at the top of New Guinea’s remote Foja Mountains, of the long-lost Golden-fronted Bowerbird, previously known only from four specimens found in a Paris feather shop in 1895.

The vessel for this cruise is the Swan Hellenic Vega, a state-of-the-art, new-generation expedition cruise ship built in Finland and launched in 2022. Accommodating only 152 guests in superb staterooms and balcony suites, Vega features elegant common areas and the most modern mechanical and environmentally conscious technology, far exceeding the standards set by international regulatory agencies. (Read more about Vega below.)

Please take a moment to look over the enclosed brochure and then begin making plans to join Professor Jared Diamond and fellow travelers next fall as we set off on an expedition to explore the Wonders of the Arctic.

Warm regards,
Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

7% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Swan Hellenic’s Luxurious Expedition Ship Vega

Built in Finland and launched in July 2022, Swan Hellenic’s Vega is a new generation expedition cruise ship. Although at 10,250 tons the ship is large enough to accommodate more than 250 passengers, Vega will accommodate a maximum of 152 guests in 76 spacious staterooms and balcony suites. The low guest density results in one of the most generous indoor and outdoor space-to-guest ratios among cruise ships.

Featuring the latest advances in technology and engineering, Vega is among the world’s first environmentally responsible ships. Equipped with hybrid engines and a unique water filtration system, Vega leaves a minimal footprint. For cruising in Polar regions, the ship meets the stringent requirements of the new Polar Code with its high PC5 Category A ice-strengthened hull and other advanced features. A computer-controlled Dynamic Positioning System allows the ship to maintain position without anchoring. Operated by a complement of 120 experienced European officers and international crew members, Vega will carry a fleet of Zodiacs, versatile landing boats, and kayaks. Powerful stabilizers provide a smooth ride.

Vega’s interior spaces exude sophisticated elegance, with most rooms opening to panoramic views of the sea. All staterooms and suites face outside and are equipped with private facilities, climate control, TV, Wi-Fi and USB connections, and other amenities. Of the ship’s 76 staterooms, 60 have balconies. Public areas include a spacious observation lounge equipped with state-of- the-art facilities for lectures and presentations; a club lounge; a restaurant that accommodates all guests at one seating; an outdoor café/bar that surrounds the heated swimming pool; a wellness area with gym, spa, and sauna with an adjoining outdoor jacuzzi; library; beauty salon; and an infirmary that is attended by a full-time doctor and nurse. The ship also features expansive open-deck areas. Two elevators connect all decks. Attentive service is provided on a 24-hour basis. The outstanding cuisine is complemented by fine wines at lunch and dinner.

Itinerary, Cabin Rates, Inclusions

For a detailed, day-to-day itinerary, cabin rates, and inclusions, please download and share with family and friends the complete 8-page Expedition Brochure (PDF):

Download the complete Expedition Brochure




IMPORTANT! This expedition must be booked through Thalassa Journeys. Please do not book through your own travel agent.

Loyalty Reward Program

Travel on this cruise program and enjoy savings of $400 to $900 per person on your next voyage with SKEPTICS and THALASSA JOURNEYS aboard a Swan Hellenic ship. Savings are determined by the stateroom category booked and is applicable when you reserve your trip within 30 days of the completion date of WONDERS OF THE ARCTIC. (This saving cannot be combined with other offers and is subject to change.)

Savings for Solo Travellers

A limited number of cabins are available for single occupancy in categories D to B at no additional charge. Additional single cabins are available at a supplement of 50% of the per person double occupancy rate, instead of the normal 70% supplement.

Reservation with Colin Church:
406–8815 Conroy-Windermere Rd.
Orlando, FL, 32835

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