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Northwest Passage - Westbound 2015

Introduction

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Peregrine.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


Your Trip

What's Included

Transport

Not Included


Preparing to Travel

Safety

Safety is paramount on a Peregrine voyage. Due to new International Security Regulations, you will not be able to approach the ship on your own. You will have to arrive with the rest of the group, accompanied by a Peregrine representative. Full details of embarkation/disembarkation procedures will be supplied with your final documentation. On board you will be asked to participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. We will also conduct important briefings on landing procedures, Zodiac operations, polar bear management and firearm safety (there is a good chance that we will see some of these magnificent animals during this trip, but extreme care must be taken if we ever encounter them whilst we are ashore!).

Visas and Permits

Greenland

Visa not required for stays up to 90 days, need onward flight ticket and sufficient funds during stay. This applies to Australians, New Zealanders, Brits, Canadians and Americans.

Government travel advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

U.S. Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport

Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.

Insurance

Every Peregrine traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader/guide can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.

Medical preparation

Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.

Copies of key documents

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy and credit cards. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.

What to take

General Packing List

The Arctic usually has - relatively - mild weather conditions in high summer. Temperatures below -5ºC are not common (although wind-chill factor can significantly add to the effect.) As a result, you should not need to make many expensive specialist gear purchases, although you do need good wet weather pants and you do need warm clothing. Wet weather jacket and boots are supplied on board the ship. On shore we do aim to provide hiking and walking opportunities whenever possible, so a reasonable pair of walking shoes or boots is suggested.

The Arctic usually has - relatively - mild weather conditions in high summer. Temperatures below -5ºC are not common (although wind-chill factor can significantly add to the effect.) As a result, you should not need to make many expensive specialist gear purchases, although you do need good wet weather pants and you do need warm clothing. Wet weather jacket and boots are supplied on board the ship. On shore we do aim to provide hiking and walking opportunities whenever possible, so a reasonable pair of walking shoes or boots is suggested.

The dress code on board is relaxed and casual; you will not need to dress formally for meals. The inside of the ship is well heated, so you will not require special clothing on board. Indeed, you could spend most of your time in light trousers and a t-shirt! However, it is not unusual for you to want to go out on deck suddenly - a whale sighting, or seals on a nearby ice-floe or hopefully a polar bear - nearly always produce a major exodus, so you need to keep warm clothing handy at all times, even when a shore excursion is not imminent. When you do go ashore you will require warm clothing - a few layers of light and medium-weight items which can be easily adjusted rather than one or two large and bulky items - and wet weather gear to protect you from the spray which can sometimes be encountered on the Zodiacs.

 

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday. Laundry facilities are available on board the ship.

Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
Spare passport photos
Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
Money belt (for travelling en route)
Small first-aid kit
Ecologically friendly laundry soap
Daypack (lightweight and waterproof)
Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
Electrical adapter plug
Toiletries/travel wipes
Sunscreen, lip balm, moisturising cream, sunhat and sunglasses (with UV protection)
Swimsuit
Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
Refillable water bottle
Phrase book (if travelling en route to ship)
Gloves (2 pairs minimum)
Hat that covers ears
Scarf or other face protection
Wind and waterproof pants (a few sizes larger)
Warm pants
Comfortable shoes
Long wool or cotton socks (for expeditions)
Silk or polypropylene socks (for inside the ship)
Jumpers/sweaters/fleeces
Cotton turtlenecks and t-shirts
Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
Plastic bags with zippers for carrying film, etc
Binoculars


Money Matters

Currency

Greenland

Danish Krone

Iceland-Arctic

Icelandic krona

Exchange rates

Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Greenland

The main bank, Grønlandsbanken readily exchange traveller's cheques for a commission of around US$5 and offer cash advances on Visa and MasterCard. Major credit cards are accepted in tourist resorts and restaurants and hotels. Larger towns now have ATMs that recognise all major foreign plastic.

Iceland-Arctic

Banks around Austurstaeti and Bankastraeti offer the best exchange rates. Commission is higher in hotels. ATMs accept MasterCard, Cirrus, Visa and Electron.


While you are travelling

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room is available after midday, and check-out is usually around 10 am. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning with prior request, but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive early in the morning, you may have to wait until a room becomes available. If arriving early or departing late, we suggest that you book an extra night's accommodation which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. All rooms have private facilities wherever possible. In Europe, it is common to have a bathtub equipped with a hand-held shower nozzle instead of a wall-mounted shower head. If you request a double bed, please keep in mind that European double beds are often two twin beds that have been pushed together. Also note that single rooms are often smaller than double rooms, although they cost more per person. Single room availability is limited. Make your reservations early during the busy season, as rooms in cities book well in advance. The hotels we utilise in Europe tend to fall within the 2 to 3 official star rating of the country being visited. We never contract 4 or 5 star properties and some smaller pensions and guesthouses may not have a star rating. Our properties are chosen for their good locations, smaller size and if possible 'family-run' nature.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.


Other Important Information

These Trip Notes should be read in conjunction with Peregrine’s Arctic pre-departure information that is provided to you shortly after booking. A second information manual dealing with Arctic history, geology, geography, marine and bird life will also be provided.

1. Itinerary:
Please note that due to the exploratory nature of this expedition, weather, ice, wildlife or other conditions may require changes be made to the itinerary and/or cancellation of certain shore excursions. Every effort will be made to adhere to the itinerary, within the limits of safety and time constraints. We shall fit in as many stops as is practical along the way allowing you to experience as much as possible of this wonderful area. The locations mentioned in this itinerary are just some of the highlights of our fascinating expedition of discovery and exploration and we shall attempt further landings wherever and whenever time and local conditions permit.

2. Budgeting:
In addition to funds for on-board expenses, it is possible to purchase souvenirs in some locations such as books, t-shirts, windcheaters, stamps, postcards, caps and some really good knitwear on many of the shore excursions that include visits to villages or towns. In addition some museums and sites charge entry fees and in some locations you may wish to buy some food and drink (although the meals on the ship are very good and plentiful!). Visa and MasterCard are accepted on board our ship, but elsewhere they are of limited use. Please note that there is almost nowhere in Greenland that will take credit cards and very, very few places are willing to accept foreign currency. Danish Kroner are a must for Greenland and they should be purchased before your trip starts. Credit cards again are of limited use. Please remember that all on board services are charged in US dollars and your on-board account (bar, gift shop, medical, gratuities) can be paid for by either US dollars cash, US dollars travellers cheques and the above-mentioned credit cards.

3. Clothes:
Please read our Arctic pre-departure information carefully. Although you don’t need to make expensive, specialist-clothing purchases for this trip, you will need clothes that adequately protect against cold and wet conditions. (Sea spray is common on board Zodiacs). It is recommended that you have warm, waterproof clothing available for use upon arrival to protect yourself against the inclement weather. A Zodiac transfer from the pier to the ship is likely to take place, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing.

4. Motion sickness:
Although our vessels are among the most stable ships in their class, we will still inevitably encounter motion. Unless you are certain you are impervious to the problem, you should take precautions against seasickness. Your doctor can advise you as to the best methods for avoiding this uncomfortable condition.

5. Gratuities:
We suggest you allow the equivalent of US$11-13 a day for gratuities for the crew and expedition staff. This is usually collected just prior to the end of the cruise. If you wish, the amount can be paid by Visa or MasterCard.

6. Sea kayaking:
There are separate Trip Notes for the sea kayaking option. Some of the fjords of Svalbard and Greenland in particular are outstanding and unique locations for this activity. Please note that this option must be booked prior to your departure from home and it cannot be booked on the ship. Some prior experience is required.

Peregrine Voyage Documentation
Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar regions with Peregrine, you will be required to complete a series of online forms. You will be sent a link via email (my polar forms) which will take you to an enrollment form, cruise contract, medical form, arrival/departure information form and expedition parka size order form. These forms must be completed.


Day to Day Itinerary

Northwest Passage - Westbound 2015

Trip Length

Trip Code

20 days PPNW15

Maximum Passengers

117 people

Countries Visited

Greenland, Iceland-Arctic

Start City

End City

Copenhagen Edmonton
Northwest Passage - Westbound 2015

For centuries, fortune-seekers risked their lives to find the Northwest Passage, the fabled sea route running between Europe and Asia. The greatest geographical problem of the last three centuries, according to the New York Times of November 25, 1852.

 

During this 20 day active adventure, cruise through the heart of the Northwest Passage. You will experience first-hand those islands, waterways and wilds that still yield a gratifying sense of achievement for all those who make the voyage, including Beechey Island, made famous by explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Sir John Franklin. As recently as 2013, searchers from Parks Canada were still looking for the ships lost in the mid-19th century Franklin Expedition.

 

KAYAKING
Imagine gliding along the surface of a bay in the presence of icebergs and glaciers! Our kayaking adventures are the best way to feel at one with the sea. Taken in small groups of 10-16 people, multiple times per voyage, kayaking adventures are only done during calm weather conditions. We require you to have some prior kayaking experience, including the capability to do a wet exit.

 

POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

KANGERLUSSUAQ
Just 60 km (37 miles) north of the Arctic Circle sits at the head of one of the longest fjords in Greenland. Musk ox, reindeer and Arctic foxes inhabit the tundra-covered.

ITILLEQ
Itilleq in Greenlandic means a hollow which is where this village is situated, on an island without any fresh water. The village has approximately 130 inhabitants and offers picturesque views of colorful Greenlandic houses along the tundra.

 

SISIMIUT
With a population of 5600, Sisimiut lies immediately north of the Arctic Circle and is the second-largest town in Greenland.

ILULISSAT
Ilulissat Kangerlua is Greenlandic for the Iceberg Fjord. UNESCO has designated the Ilulissat area a World Heritage Site.

UUMMANNAQ
Uummannaq was founded as a Danish colony in 1758 on the Nuussuaq mainland, but in 1763 it was moved to the nearby island, as seal hunting was more plentiful there.

UPERNAVIK
Upernavik is found at 72 degrees north and is the largest town in Greenland’s north at almost 1,100 residents.

 

POND INLET
Pond Inlet is a traditional Inuit community located on the northern tip of Baffin Island near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. Situated near scenic fiords, glaciers and icebergs, The waters around Pond Inlet are famous as a great place to see narwhal.

DUNDAS HARBOUR, DEVON ISLAND
At Dundas Harbour, be alert for wildlife as walrus, polar bears and muskox inhabit the area. The abandoned settlement you visit was once a Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot.

BEECHEY ISLAND
Beechey Island is associated with one of the most tragic episodes of arctic exploration history. During the winter of 1845-46, Sir John Franklin and his men stayed on the island as part of their ill-fated quest to find the Northwest Passage.

 

FORT ROSS
Fort Ross lies on the coast of Somerset Island and was founded in 1937 as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post.

VICTORY POINT
Located on King William Island; Victory Point is where the only written account of the ill-fated Franklin expedition was discovered.

IQALUKTUUTTIAQ (CAMBRIDGE BAY)
Iqaluktuuttiaq, also known as Cambridge Bay, is the largest community on Victoria Island. Passengers will have time to explore the community of 1,400, a commercial hub for the region.

 

KUGLUKTUK (COPPERMINE)
Kugluktuk, formerly known as Coppermine, is situated along the banks of the Coppermine River and on the shores of the Coronation Gulf.

 

Day 1: Copenhagen, Denmark

Enjoy an included night in Copenhagen and meet your fellow travellers.

Day 2: Embarkation Day in Kangerlussuaq

Meals included: 1 dinner

Just 60 km (37 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, Kangerlussuaqsits at the head of one of the longest fjords in Greenland. Muskoxand Arctic foxes inhabit the tundra-covered plain that surrounds the town. We will arrive by way of our group charter flight and thentransfer to the Sea Adventurer. Tonight, enjoy views of the fjord as the evening turns to twilight.

Day 3: Itilleqand Sisimiut

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

As we head north, the ship will reach the village of Itilleq, a typical Greenlandic village. Situated on a hollow,Itilleq is on an island without any fresh water. The village has approximately 130 inhabitants and offers charming views of colorful native houses along the tundra.

In Sisimiut, we will be treated to a traditional kayaking demonstration. Kayak is an Inuit word the English borrowed to describe a small vessel propelled by paddles, seating one or two people. There will be time to explore the town where 18th century buildings from Greenland’s colonial period still stand. Take the time to wander through the historic area by passing under the arch formed by two giant bowhead whale bones.

Day 4: Ilulissat

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

IlulissatKangerlua is Greenlandic for the Iceberg Fjord. The glacier at the head of the fjord is the most productive in the Northern Hemisphere. The icebergs it calves float down the fjord to enter Baffin Bay. As the ship approaches Ilulissat, have your cameras ready to take photos of young icebergs. The journey of these ‘bergs’ will end years later,somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland. So significant is Ilulissat Fjord that UNESCO has designated the area a World Heritage Site. Listen to the growling of the icebergs as we cruise the fjord in Zodiacs. We'll offer a hike along the lovely boardwalk down to a stunning viewpoint of the bay, or a helicopter ride to the foot of the glacier. If you have a little time left, enjoy a local microbrew at a pub, or shop for local handicrafts.

Day 5: Eqip Sermia

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

You’ll visit one of the best-runsmall villages in Greenland, Saqqaq. Several anthropologists have published books on the village’s original inhabitants and their hunting methods. The town gave the ancient people their name Saqqaq. We then sail to the beautiful glacier EqipSermia, tracing the massive glacier front for some distance.

Day 6: Uummannaq

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

You'll want to be out on deck as the ship approaches Uummannaq regardless of the time of day. The vista is simply breathtaking. The heart-shaped mountain that gave the town its name dominates the view.

Uummannaq was founded as a Danish colony in 1758 on the Nuussuaq mainland, but in 1763 it was moved to the nearby island, as seal hunting was more plentiful there. On your walk through the town, you’ll visit the historic oil warehouse built in 1860. Look for the peat hut, behind the warehouse, which was still in use up until a few years ago.

In the afternoon we’ll visit Qilaqitsoqwhere five Greenland mummies were discovered in 1972. Four women and a child are thought to have drowned and remain buried in a dry and cool cave for the last 600-700 years. The mummified remains are kept in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.

Day 7: Baffin Bay

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Baffin Bay is technically a sea not a bay; it is an extension of the Arctic Ocean, the massive body of water that separates Canada from Greenland. As the ship sails westward, travelers should be on the lookout for icebergs and seabirds gliding on the wing, and whales in the water below.

 

Day 8: Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Arriving in the Canadian Arctic, the people of Pond Inlet or Mittimatalik – as it has been called by the Inuit for thousands of years – will welcome us to their town and the Artist’s Co-operative. In addition to the internationally renowned art they produce, the people of “Pond” earn their living fishing for Arctic char. We will have time to take photos, explore the hamlet and hike the nearby tundra to a local Thule site before returning back to the Sea Adventurer.

Day 9: Devon Island

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

In the Maxwell Bay region of Devon Island, you will go for hikes and cruise in Zodiacs as you visit a Thule site, where the ancestors of the Inuit lived. Watch for wildlife at Dundas Harbour aswalrus and muskox inhabit the area. The abandoned settlement you'll visit was once a Royal Canadian Mounted Police depot. This depot is still considered active, as every year a detail of Mounties arrives to tend the graves of their fallen comrades.

 

Day 10: Beechey Island

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Just offshore at the western end of Devon Island is Beechey Island. There, on a stony beach, stand three grave markers; solemn reminders of the lives lost during Sir John Franklin’s search for the Northwest Passage. Upon approach to Beechey Island, we will be treated to presentations about Franklin and his expedition. Radstock Bay has an impressive archaeological site and is beside Caswell Towers, used as a polar bear observation point.

Day 11: Somerset Island

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

We'll call on Somerset Island, in Peel Sound, located above the 74th parallel directly on the Northwest Passage (close to 800 km north of the Arctic Circle). Here we may see Peary caribou and musk ox, as well as the hundreds of thousands of birds that nest on the sheer cliffs of Prince Leopold I, off the NE tip of Somerset. The island was named by Lt W.E. Parry who discovered it in 1819, after the county in England.

Day 12: Fort Ross and Bellot Strait

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Through the night we'll be sailing in a southerly direction, following the coast of Somerset Island, just as Amundsen did. We plan to go ashore at Fort Ross, an uninhabited Hudson’s Bay Company trading post. In May 1670, King Charles II granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to “the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay.” For nearly two hundred years, the administration of Canada’s north was the responsibility of the merchants of the Hudson’s Bay Company. We sail westward through Bellot Strait, a narrow channel separating mainland North America from Somerset Island. About mid-point through the channel is the northernmost area of the continental land mass, Zenith Point.

Day 13: Victory Point

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

In 1845, John Franklin led an expedition of 129 British naval officers and seamen to the Canadian Arctic, tasked with finding the Northwest Passage. By 1848, they were presumed missing. Rescue missions were conducted for 32 years. The first skeletal remains attributed to the crew were discovered in 1859 by Captain Francis McClintock on the western shore of King William Island. McClintock also discovered the only written remains under a cairn erected on Victory Point. Since 1859, many skeletal remains and artifacts from Franklin’s expedition have been found at various locations on King William Island. The most recent was in 2013 when Parks Canada gathered several bones for identification and analysis, as well as about 200 small artifacts, ranging from bits of canvas and leather to nails, rivets, cans, metal containers, cast iron and rope.

Day 14: King William Island

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Activities:

Day 15: Coronation Gulf and Cambridge Bay

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

In 1821, on an earlier voyage to the Arctic, Sir John Franklin named the gulf in honor of the coronation of King George IV. Your Expedition Team will use ice charts, weather forecasts and their years of Arctic expedition experience to make the most of time spent in Coronation Gulf. You will go ashore to hike or cruise in Zodiacs in search of wildlife. If weather conditions permit, visits will be made to historic sites. The people of Iqaluktuuttiaq, also known as Cambridge Bay and the largest community on Victoria Island, will welcome our ship and guests to their culture through dance and song. Travelers will have time to explore the community of 1,400, a commercial hub for the region.

Day 16: Bathurst Inlet

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

In the area around Bathurst Inlet, we’ll enjoy a hike on the tundra among the spectacular fall colors. Here we will fully appreciate the lush flora that flourishes briefly during the short Arctic summer. This is also the area where the first polar bear and grizzly hybrid was discovered, and we’ll be on the lookout for all three species.

Day 17-18: Amundsen Gulf

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

At the eastern end of the gulf is Dolphin and Union Strait, crossed in 1851 by Dr. John Rae, his two companions, two sledges and five dogs. At the completion of that expedition, Rae and his companions were only 80 km (50 miles) west of the beset ships of Sir John Franklin. Had Rae known, perhaps Franklin’s expedition would have had an entirely different ending. Our in-depth education program will provide the basis for on-going discussions over dinner or drinks in the bar.

Day 19: Kugluktuk (Coppermine)

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Our final destination is the town of Kugluktuk. We will have a chance to explore and bid the community farewell. We’ll later make our way to the airport where we board our charter flight back to Edmonton. Upon Arrival in Edmonton, we will be transferred to our nearby airport hotel.

Day 20: Edmonton

Today you can make you way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Edmonton area.

About this information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Your feedback is important

At Peregrine we are always looking for ways to improve our trips and your feedback is invaluable to us and to our tour guides. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Peregrine. At the end of your trip we ask that you to take a few minutes of your time to complete our on-line feedback form. Just go to http://www.peregrineadventures.com/tour-feedback for our easy to fill out questionnaire. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

27 March 2014


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