An Arctic Ghost Ship?

“ALL ABOARD! The Ghost Ship of Cannibal Rats!” – so it sounds in one song on the latest album of Canadian rock band “Billy Talent“. It is said that the lyrics were inspired by news about the ship “M/V Lyubov Orlova”, which had disappeared in the North Atlantic in 2013. It’s an occasion again to remember this legendary ship, where once we ourselves have been on board! – Below we will post a contribution from February 2013.

M/V Lyubov Orlova – lots of good memories

Deutsche Leser finden einen anderen Text zum Thema hier.

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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

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
Hebron, old Moravian mission station

The Lyubov Orlova has 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 [2013] 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
M/V Lyubov Orlova in the Hudson Bay

Reblogged vom 24. Februar 2013 by Mechtild Opel

P.S.: Very nice blog on the history of Lyubov Orlova on “Original Shipster” .

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