- Starts at: Baffin Island
- Ends at: Edmonton
- Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Baffin Island is one of the last great wilderness regions on the planet and the focus of this outstanding expedition. From Iqaluit, on Frobisher Bay, we explore up the wild east coast of Baffin Island discovering the deep fjords, soaring mountains and immense glacial systems. We are constantly on the lookout for variety of birdlife and marine wildlife – including polar bears – the icon of the north. Visits to remote Inuit provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who call this remote wilderness their home.
We depart Ottawa this morning on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, situated on Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit we enjoy a walking tour of the town and board our expedition ship, the Akademik loffe in the afternoon. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers.
Situated in the Davis Strait, Monumental Island is a well-known location for walrus. We explore by zodiac along the shoreline looking for these fascinating creatures. We sometimes encounter polar bears around here as well – they have been known to chase walrus off their haul into the water.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the western gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, the village of Pangniqtuuq (Pangnirtung) is beautifully situated between the mountains and the sea. This remote community is a well-known centre for traditional and contemporary arts and crafts – including carvings, prints and textiles. The Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display sharing the lifestyle and history of the Thule and the modern Inuit.
Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north of latitude. Depending on the weather, we might cruise across the Circle on the ship, by zodiac boats, or maybe by foot. Whichever way, it’s a thrill to be above the Arctic Circle. Sunshine Fjord offers terrific hiking opportunities, from long routes that offer wonderful views of our surroundings to less strenuous options along the shoreline. For the sea kayakers, the sheltered waters of the fjord provide great conditions for paddling.
On the eastern coast of Baffin Island lies one of Canada’s most spectacular National Parks: Auyuittuq. The landscape is dominated by steep and rugged mountain scenery, extensive glacial systems and powerful rivers. In partnership with Parks Canada, we venture into the park with skilled local guides who are able to interpret the flora, fauna, geological and glacial systems. It’s a fascinating place, experienced by only a few fortunate visitors every season. We also plan a visit to Qikiqtarjuaq, a small settlement which is home to several Inuit families. After an inspiring day of exploration we continue north along the coastline of Baffin Island, venturing deeper into the Arctic wilderness.
Isabella Bay (Niginganiq) is an important summer habitat and feeding area for endangered bowhead whales. These remarkable marine mammals are able to break sea ice with the crown of their head. Polar bears, ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese and narwhal are also commonly sighted in this area.
This morning we enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord with towering cliffs all around us. Our expedition ship will be dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as we cruise slowly along the dark waters.
Nearing the far north of Baffin Island, we enter a broad channel which is home to the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). A highlight is a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases the daily life, culture and history of the people of the North. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other traditional craft are on display. Mittimatalik is also the main access point to the pristine wilderness of Sirmilik National Park. This jewel in the crown of Canada’s Arctic Park system features the most spectacular scenery, with rugged mountains, ice fields, glaciers, coastal lowlands and large seabird colonies.
Leaving the wild landscapes of Baffin Island, we cross Lancaster Sound to Devon Island. Lancaster Sound, which separates Devon and Baffin Island, has been named the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. Waters from the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, and the northern archipelago of islands meet here, combining to create a rich source of nutrients and food for an abundance of Arctic wildlife. We plan on visiting the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour. In the afternoon we reposition the ship into Crocker Bay, home to a substantial glacial system.
Prince Leopold Island is an important migratory bird sanctuary, home to thick-billed murres, black guillemots, northern fulmars and black-legged kittiwakes. A population of several hundred thousand birds makes this one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the entire Arctic ecosystem. Given the abundance of food found in the nutrient-rich waters here, we often sight beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales, several species of seal, as well as polar bear.
Our final shore landing – Beechey Island, is a place of great historic significance and a suitable finale to our voyage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness, sparking an incredible series of search expeditions that last almost three decades. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a vital role in the discovery by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling experience for history buffs. This evening we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain. It’s a great time to reflect on the wildlife, history and dramatic scenery of the High Arctic.
Our expedition comes to an end as we arrive into Resolute and then take our flight to Edmonton. A transfer is provided from the airport into a central downtown location.
On every trip you do with us, we ensure that you are accompanied by exceptional local experts and guides with intimate knowledge of the flora, fauna and cultural history of the area.
There will be numerous opportunities to photograph and capture truly wonderful moments. From multimedia presentations to group workshops on the outer decks or in a Zodiac, our on board photographer will offer advice and instruction.
...with a whale expert! Outings onboard zodiacs, or from the bow of the ship: here is the chance to see these majestic giants up close and personal as they float asleep like semi-submerged submarines, fluke, 'spy hop', breach, hunt and feed.
Charter flights from Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton: USD 1,995 pp only booked through us with your expedition cruise. Please note that all bookings on voyages and charter flights (if applicable) that operate domestically within Canada are subject to a compuslory 5% good and services tax (GST) that will be added in your invoice.
For our latest discounts and exclusive deals see our special offers page.
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Iqaluit, Baffin Island
Included in the price of this voyage:
Extensive pre-departure information package
Onboard Information Folder
Educational presentations from experienced guides such as ornithologists, glaciologists, historians, geologists, naturalists and marine mammals experts
Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer. Extended photography workshops available on select departures
All zodiac and landing excursions
Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
All meals during the voyage prepared by One Ocean Expeditions chefs
Welcome reception & welcome dinner
One Ocean Expeditions Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
Natural essential oil amenities
Services of English speaking medical officer
Use of multimedia room to download images. Lightroom, Adobe, Photoshop and card readers are available for use on MAC and PC computers
Windproof / waterproof jacket and bib pants
Comfortable insulated rubber boots
Water resistant binoculars
Trekking poles available on shore
From/ to designated meeting points to/from the ship
Additional transfers in welcome / departure cities (only applicable on certain departures)
Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
Not included in the price of this voyage:
- Charter flights U$1995
- A 5% GST will be add to the voyage price for domestic Canadian itineraries
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival / departure cities
- Meals & transfers in arrival / departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls & email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew