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Baffin Island - Jewel of the High Arctic

12 Days FROM USD 7,895

Overview

We journey up the wild east coast of Baffin Island, discovering deep fjords, soaring mountains and immense glacial systems. A variety of birdlife and marine wildlife – sometimes even polar bears – are daily companions to our voyage. Visits to remote Inuit provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who call this wilderness their home. The history of early exploration is ever present and we visit former Hudson's Bay Company locations and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outposts. A highlight will be a visit to Beechey Island, the final resting place for some of the men of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in 1845-46.

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACTSBIJ

Location: Arctic

Ship: Akademik Ioffe

CRUISE ITINERARY

We depart Ottawa on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit we enjoy a walking tour of the town and board our expedition ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov in the afternoon. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off to explore one of the most remote places on earth – Baffin Island.

Departure day

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.

Monumental Island

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.

Village of Pangniqtuuq

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.

Sunshine Fjord

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.

Auyuittuq National Park

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.

Isabella Bay

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.

Gibbs Fjord

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.

Sirmilik National Park

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.

Lancaster Sound to Devon Island

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.

Prince Leopold

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.

Beechey Island

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.

Disembarkation
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Pricing & date

Baffin Island - Jewel of the High Arctic from USD 7,895
Departing Ending Duration
22 Jul 2019 02 Aug 2019 12
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Important Information

  • Arrival/Departure Transfers

    Shipboard accommodation 
    All meals onboard 

    All scheduled landings/excursions

    Guiding and lectures by expedition leader and team 

    English-speaking expedition team 

    Services of English speaking medical officer

    Windproof / waterproof jacket and bib pants

    Comfortable insulated rubber boots

    Water resistant binoculars

    Waterproof backpack

    Trekking poles available on shore

    All port fees

     

     

    Exclusions;

    Charter Flights - Additional USD$1,995 per person

    Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton

     

    Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city 

    Visa and passport fees (if applicable)

    Travel insurance
    Beverages (other than coffee and tea) 

    Laundry and personal expenses incurred on board 
    Gratuities 
     

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • *Charter Flights - Additional USD$1,995 per person

    Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton

     

    Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship. 

    Contact us for more details

  • Season and availability

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Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

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