- Starts at: London to Kangerlussuaq
- Ends at: Time to go home
- Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights
Friends of SPRI Signature Voyage
03 – 17 September 2018
This outstanding voyage explores the icy landscapes and colourful fishing villages of western Greenland before crossing the Davis Strait to witness the stunning fjords and soaring peaks of Baffin Island. Throughout our journey we are constantly on the lookout for wildlife – including a variety of bird and marine life and, of course, the icon of the north – the elusive polar bear. Every day we venture off the ship to explore in our zodiac boats, enjoy guided hikes to places of outstanding natural beauty, and observe and photograph the wildlife, landscape and the delicate Arctic flora
We depart from London Heathrow very early in the morning allowing a same day connection in Copenhagen for the flight to Kangerlussuaq, with Air Greenland. This will be the first of many adventures as we flight over the Greenland Ice Cap.Kangerlusssuaq offers incredible landscapes of pristine beauty and nature, located at the end of the third longest fjord in the world.We will overnight at the Kangerlussuaq Hotel
Powerful 4WD-vehicles will take us through an incredibly beautiful landscape, through mountains, plains and semi-desert valleys. Near the Ice Cap, we drive through the fantastic moraine landscape. At the end of the road, we walk to the Greenland Ice Cap and onto the vast ice sheet.We spend some time in this incredible world of ice before returning to our vehicle. There are good chances of spotting musk oxen, reindeer and, depending on the season, many species flowers and birds.Invigorated after the experience of walking on the Ice Cap, we enjoy grilled Greenlandic specialities including a beverage while taking in the stunning view.We will overnight at the Kangerlussuaq Hotel
After breakfast we will check out and leave our luggage to be taken to the vessel while we enjoy a Tundra and wildlife tour. We will drive through the stunning tundra landscape in our 4WD truck and the guide will fill us in on the various wildlife in this area. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to spot musk oxen and learn more about these incredible creatures.Following a Greenland Buffet lunch we will board the Akademik Vavilov. After settling into our cabins and exploring the vessel, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we cast off and enjoy a welcome cocktail while cruising along Sondre Stromfjord in the soft Arctic twilight.
We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore for further exploration. Characterized by colorful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘kayak rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. The town’s church and a small museum are other points of interest. The restored historic houses and old Greenlandic fishing boats make for great photography.
If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be ‘ice’. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site – projects gigantic icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 40 metres per day, creating an estimated 50 cubic kilometres of ice annually! Our approach to Ilulissat is always dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. A cruise by zodiac along the face of the massed icebergs is a memorable experience. There’s also a great hike through the town to a viewpoint, high above the ice field. This place will take your breath away.
We cruise across the bay overnight, approaching the small town of Qeqertarsuaq, situated at the head of Disko Bay. Keep a look out for humpback or fin whales which we often encounter here. A small harbour filled with local fishing boats greets us as we head ashore. Our landing site is right next to the old Customs building – now a small museum. Qeqertarsuaq is a very historic location where Eric the Red, the 9th century Norse Viking, is believed to have visited and used the location as a base for hunting, fishing and exploration. The town is easily explored on foot and a hike up to a high point provides great views of the town, the harbour and offshore where large icebergs drift by.
We wake this morning to find ourselves in the Davis Strait – a broad expanse of open water that separates Greenland from Canada. Whale sightings are possible and we sometimes encounter fin, sperm, sei and humpback whales, plus seals and seabirds. Our onboard experts deliver fascinating presentations that focus on wildlife, history, geology and the culture of the Arctic as we navigate closer towards the coast of Baffin Island. At this time of the season and with the right atmospheric conditions, we hope to catch a glimpse of the dancing lights in the night sky – the mystical Aurora Borealis.
Our first landfall on Baffin Island will be at Sunshine Fjord where you will have the opportunity to cross the Arctic Circle however you wish – on foot, in a zodiac or on board ship. This location offers terrific hiking opportunities and we have a number of great routes in mind. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining some real elevation and offering wonderful views of our surroundings. Or choose to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. The sheltered waters of the fjord provide the kayakers with great conditions for paddling.
Protecting the northern entrance to Cumberland Sound, Cape Mercy is an exposed headland jutting out into the Davis Strait. As the Baffin middle ice recedes throughout the summer, this stretch of coastline is a great place to look for polar bears. All eyes will be off the ship looking for these majestic animals in their natural environment.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, Pangnirtung is beautifully situated between the mountains and the sea. This remote town is known for its arts and crafts and a visit to the local art gallery is a highlight. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.
Situated in the Davis Strait, the rocky dome of Monumental Island can be seen from a distance. We explore by zodiac along the rocky shoreline and hope to encounter polar bears in this vicinity. Walrus are also known to haul out along the shore here. In good weather a complete circumnavigation of the island in the zodiacs is possible.
At the mouth of Frobisher Bay on the south-eastern tip of Baffin Island, the Lower Savage Islands are a geological wonder. A maze of channels crisscross the island and provide great zodiac cruising opportunities. It’s possible to navigate from one side of the island to the other where the ship will collect us. The islands are ideally situated between the dynamic flow of the Hudson Strait and this mixing of nutrient rich waters makes for a diversity of marine line. Tonight, as we near the end of our journey we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap from the Expedition Leader. We celebrate with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on our journey through the landscapes of the Arctic.
By morning we are anchored off the beach from Iqaluit – the largest community on Baffin Island. We say goodbye to our crew and make our way ashore on our final zodiac ride. We are transferred to the airport and board out scheduled flight to Ottawa. A transfer is provided to the Hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast we will go for a Half Day city tour of this unique Canadian city, learn about its history and enjoy its magnificent architecture. Angie Butler is already organising a special visit of the National Gallery which holds the most incredible Inuit Art.
After 2 amazing weeks together we will say good-bye to our fellow travellers and head home. A transfer will be organise to take the group back to the Ottawa International Airport in time to take the flight back to London.
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.
...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.
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.
Hiking / Trekking
Hiking / Trekking
There is no better way to experience the sights, sounds and even smells of a place than by taking a walk through its landscapes - there are ample opportunities for hiking, walking or trekking, for any level of fitness, at each of our destinations. Yes, even in Antarctica!
Please note the published prices below (expressed in US Dollars) are for the expedition cruise only.
The Greenland and Canada land portion of our itinerary specially designed for the Friends of Scott Polar Research Institute including Day 1-2-3 in Greenland and Day 13-14-15 in Ottawa, Canada has a cost of US$ 1,445/£ 1,135 pp.
Prices for charter flight Iqaluit – Ottawa US$ 995 / £ 795 pp.
International flight package available:
3 September 2018: London (LHR) – Copenhagen
4 September 2018: Cophenhagen – Kangerlussuaq
16 September 2018: Ottawa – London (LGW)
£1,050pp. Upgrades available on request. Please contact us if you would like to find out more about the flight package and relevant upgrades.
For our latest discounts and exclusive deals see our special offers page.
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- Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic
- Welcome in Kangerlussuaq and assistance to get to the hotel
- 02 nights accommodation at Kangerlussuaq Hotel – B&B
- Full Day Greenland Ice Cap Experience including lunch
- Half Day Tundra and Wildlife Experience including lunch
- Transfer to the embarkation point
- Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category
- High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin
- All breakfasts, lunches, afternoon tea and dinners on board
- 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge
- Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine bioligists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
- Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
- Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
- Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
- Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
- Resident photographer available to assist all guests
- Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image
- An emergency trained physician onboard every voyage
- Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre
- Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books and holiday reading
- End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
- Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
- Transfer from Ottawa Airport to Hotel
- 02 nights accommodations at the Fairmont Chateaux Ottawa Hotel – B&B
- Half Day Tour in Ottawa
- Group Transfer from Hotel to Ottawa Airport
- International and domestic flights
- Charter flights from Iqaluit to Ottawa US$ 995 pp
- Visa and passport expenses
- Meals and activities not specified in the itinerary
- Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
- Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
- Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
- A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – $US12-15 per day)