Summary : This exceptional voyage offers an exploration of the wildlife, culture and spectacular scenery of the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. From Iqaluit on the east coast of Baffin Island to the west coast of Greenland, this 11-day adventure sails through a spectacular wilderness of glaciers, mountains, fjords and breathtaking icebergs. Along the way, the Inuit settlements of both Canada and Greenland will open eyes to the rich and unique cultures that have survived in this harsh landscape for centuries. Each day, venture off the ship to explore on shore and in Zodiac boats, photographing and reveling in the landscapes that surround you. A further highlight will be the opportunity to witness the vast expanse of the Greenland ice cap up close. Enjoy a walk on the ice cap itself in the company of expert local guides. This voyage provides the quintessential Arctic experience.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
NEW – Child and student rates are now available.
$7,495 to $13,595
Depart Ottawa this morning on the scheduled flight to Iqaluit, Nunavut, situated on Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit, enjoy a walking tour of the town and board your expedition ship in the afternoon. After settling into your cabin and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, setting sail for the remote Canadian Arctic and west Greenland.
Located in Davis Strait, Monumental Island is a known location for walrus. Explore by Zodiac along the shoreline looking for these fascinating creatures. Watchful eyes may locate smaller pups within the masses. Occasionally, polar bears are encountered in this vicinity. They have been known to chase walrus off their haul out and into the water. As you continue your journey, visit the bridge and learn about the operations of a modern research vessel. Throughout the coming days and rest of the voyage, your onboard experts educate with a series of presentations on the environment, wildlife and history of the Arctic and the locations you plan to visit.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the western gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, the village of Pangnirtung is beautifully situated between the mountains and the sea. This remote community is a well-known center for traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, including carvings, prints and colorful textiles. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Center has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle and history of the Thule and the modern Inuit.
Marking the northern headland of Cumberland Sound are the dramatic cliffs of Cape Mercy. As the Baffin Bay middle ice recedes throughout the summer, the stretch of Baffin coast from Cape Mercy to Cape Dyer is a great place to find polar bears coming ashore. Explore this region and plan to hike the shoreline ridges, paddle the bays and cruise by Zodiac through the ice on the lookout for Arctic wildlife.
Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north latitude. Depending on the weather, you may cruise across the Circle on the ship, cross it by Zodiac or, the more active option, maybe cross the Circle on foot. Whichever way, it's a thrill to be above the Arctic Circle at last. Sunshine Fjord offers terrific hiking opportunities and your guides have a number of great routes in mind. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining elevation and offering wonderful views of the surroundings. Or choose to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. For sea kayakers, the sheltered waters of the fjord provide great conditions for paddling.
Ice conditions along the Baffin coastline dictate navigation today. This is a fascinating transition zone to explore due to the rich and varied wildlife species you may encounter along the ice edge. Keep eyes peeled for bearded, hooded and ringed seals, and walrus. Not surprisingly, polar bears are often found in the vicinity. With such a rich abundance of food sources in close proximity, these are rich hunting grounds. It is also not uncommon to see bowhead whales cruising along the edges of the ice. If conditions allow, launch Zodiacs and explore through the ice floes hoping to view the wildlife. Eventually push out into the broad expanse of the Davis Strait making your way towards Greenland. From this point onward, huge icebergs will be present, making for incredible photographic subjects in the soft Arctic twilight.
Qeqertarsuaq is situated at the head of Disko Bay. The Inuit name for this location translates literally as "large island." After the main landmass of Greenland, this is the territory’s second largest island and one of the ten largest islands on earth. This is a place of great historic and geological interest. Eric the Red, the 9th century Norse Viking, is believed to have visited here using the location as a base for hunting, fishing and exploration. Mineral deposits containing native iron and hot springs are another feature of the area. Explore the southern coast and visit the island’s principal settlement of Qeqertarsuaq, home to a small, hardy community.
If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be "ice." Even your expedition team members, with years spent exploring both the Arctic and Antarctica, will take a moment to reflect on the awesome ice sculptures that surround the ship in all directions. Truly one of the wonders of the world is the Jacobshavn Icefjord—a UNESCO World Heritage site—which expels gigantic tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 40 meters per day, creating something in the order of 50 cubic kilometers of ice annually. The approach to Ilulissat is always dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Your Captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and your ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters. Ilulissat was the hometown of Knud Rasmussen, one of Greenland’s most famous early explorers. The town is home to a pretty harbor with colorful fishing boats and houses on shore.
Explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location in the afternoon. Characterized by colorful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. Hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of "Eskimo rolling" by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.
Sail into one of the longest fjords on the planet. Overlooking the fjord sits the town of Kangerlussuaq, a key outpost on the west coast of Greenland. An exciting day lies ahead as expert guides take you to view and experience the vast expanse of the Greenland ice cap. Covering roughly 80% of the surface of Greenland, the ice sheet measures approximately 1.7 million square kilometers. It's the second largest ice mass on earth, after the ice sheet that covers continental Antarctica. Your trip takes you through fabulous scenery offering a good chance of seeing musk ox, reindeer and local birdlife. Guides will take you walking on the actual ice cap, a major thrill. Later this afternoon, return to the ship where chefs will have prepared a special farewell dinner attended by the captain. It's a wonderful time to celebrate and reflect on a remarkable journey through the heart of the Arctic.
Your journey through the Arctic is all but complete as you disembark the ship and make your way to the airport. The charter flight returns to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. On arrival, bid farewell to fellow passengers as your voyage comes to an end. A transfer is provided from Ottawa Airport to the centrally located Fairmont Hotel.
Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions experienced and the itinerary will be updated throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favorable conditions.
Medical Documentation: Once you have booked your voyage to the Polar Regions, you will be required to complete a Medical Information Form. This form must be completed, signed and returned no later than 90 days prior to departure.
Sea Kayaking Option: $695 per person; pre-booking required.
Limited to 16 passengers. Guests will be accompanied by 3 kayak guides. Both single and double kayaks are available. This activity requires previous experience and must be booked in advanced. There is no option to book once onboard. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details and booking information.
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance which must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter) and personal liability. It must cover cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if requested by expedition staff. The expedition team reserves the right to cancel or suspend your participation on a trip or in certain activities that comprise part of a trip, at any time, including after the commencement of your tour, with no right of refund, if you are unable to provide proof of insurance when requested.
Accommodations onboard; meals onboard; complimentary tea and coffee 24 hours per day; shore excursions; services of guides and naturalist staff; access to multimedia room and download stations; use of onboard expedition rubber boots; use of wet weather gear; transfers as applicable.
International airfare; charter airfare where applicable; pre- and post-cruise hotel nights; passport and visa fees; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; travel insurance; all gratuities; meals, accommodation, and transfers in welcome city and departure city; items of a personal nature such as laundry, beverages, e-mail access, etc.; medical expenses; optional activities and trips; kayaking supplement.