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She had seen much better days. When the cruise ship M/V Lyubov Orlova sailed through the Canadian Arctic and up to Greenland, operated by the Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions between 2006 and 2010, it was always an adventure – and also kind of expedition – for the passengers.
M/V Lyubov Orlova off the coast of Labrador
And it was an adventure, too, for young Inuit. They got the opportunity to work as trainees aboard the ship, making their work experiences with cruising and with hospitality management and meeting tourists from many parts of the world, all the while telling them about Inuit culture and ways of life and showing them the landscape and wildlife of the Arctic.
An Inuit trainee from the M/V Lyubov Orlova, preparing a Zodiac for landing
The M/V Lyubov Orlova was not really luxurious. The interior greeted the passengers with the „charme“ of the 1970s. But this was not important for most of the passengers, like us, who just came aboard to see uniqueness and to visit special locations that could not be reached any other way.
The „Star of friendship between nations“ – a remnant from Soviet Union times
With the help of M/V Lyubov Orlova, we were able to see Makkovik for the first time, a community which was founded around 1900 by Hermann Theodor Jannasch and his wife, who were sent by the Moravian Mission from Herrnhut/Germany, with the help of the settler Torsten Andersen from Norway.
M/V Lyubov Orlova in front of Makkovik
Passing the impressive Kaumajet Mountains north of Nain, capital of Nunatsiavut, was a special adventure. Unfortunately, there was no stop and no opportunity to see Okak, the place where Miertsching – later Inuktitut interpreter on the search for Franklin aboard of HMS Investigator – was working from 1844-49.
M/V Lyubov Orlova off the Kaumajet Mountains
Going farther north along the Labradoar coast, we entered the area where polar bears are at home. We also passed White Bear Island, a common birthplace for polar bears.
M/V Lyubov Orlova off the Labrador coast
With this ship, we had the opportunity to get to such remote places as the former Moravian mission station Hebron. An extraordinary place of spirits and memory for the Inuit, who were resettled to more southernly communities of Labrador 1959, now the cruise tourists can experience kayaking the coastal area.
Kayaking near Hebron
This is also a place where we got a breath of history thinking of the Moravian missionaries who founded Hebron in 1830, with the old mission building still existing, provisionally restored as a National Historic Site.
Hebron, old Moravian mission station
The Lyubov Orlova brought us to the awesome landscape of the Torngat Mountains on the coast of Labrador, with the magnificient Saglek Fjord.
M/V Lyubov Orlova in Saglek Fjord
The scenery of the Torngat Mountains National Park offers more than one stunning view. Some Inuit are calling the place „paradise on earth“ – very understandably.
Lyubov Orlova in Nachvak Fjord, Torngat Mountains
During the years, the ship did many cruises into the Arctic. On our trip, we got from Kuujjuaq to Hudson Bay via the Hudson Strait.
M/V Lyubov Orlova in the Ungava Bay
With the help of Lyubov Orlova, we reached the realm of icebergs. Some of them, on their way south from Greenland, are deviated into the Hudson Strait by the currents.
M/V Lyubov Orlova near Nannuk Harbour
We stopped at Cape Dorset to view the archeological sites, as well as the famous Kinngait Studios of Inuit fine art.
M/V Lyubov Orlova near Cape Dorset
The portholes of the Lyubov Orlova offered a spectacular view into Frobisher Bay with the snow- and ice-covered mountains in the background.
Through the porthole of M/V Lyubov Orlova: Frobisher Bay
We have lots of good memories with M/V Lyubov Orlova, as she brought us to extraordinary places and to stunning landscapes with amazing wildlife; and, last but not least, we met wonderful people there, who are now our good friends.
A wedding ceremony on board of M/V Lyubov Orlova
The ship originally had a Russian owner who did not fulfill his obligations and due to some legal issues she was seized by the Canadian Government in 2010. When it came to an auction, an Iranian businessman bought the hull to the end of it being scrapped in the Caribbean. Therefore, after two years of sitting derelict in the harbour of St. John’s/Newfoundland, M/V Lyubov Orlova recently departed on her last cruise.
On her way, however, the tow-line snapped, and she escaped. Now, as the ship is drifting on her own across international waters in the Atlantic Ocean, we wonder where she might end up – maybe she will make her way, instead of being scrapped, into Arctic waters again?
M/V Lyubov Orlova in the Hudson Bay
posted by Mechtild Opel