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Baffin Island – Jewel of the Arctic

Baffin Island Cruise

  • Akademik Ioffe
  • Research Ship
  • 96 Capacity
  • 13 Days
  • 2016 View Departure>
    • 2016
    • Aug 1 Mon Offer
  • Price from
  • $7,995

Summary : 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, explore up the wild east coast of Baffin Island discovering the deep fjords, soaring mountains and immense glacial systems. You are constantly on the lookout for varied birdlife and marine wildlife, including polar bear—the icon of the north. Visits to remote Inuit villages provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who call this remote wilderness their home. The history of early exploration is ever present: 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. This remote and desolate place is home to several small grave markers which you see on an excursion ashore. Reach the remote town of Resolute where the adventure concludes. Experience the thrill and joy of remote, small ship expedition cruising on this Arctic adventure.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography


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Day 1
Ottawa to Iqaluit

Depart Ottawa this morning on your scheduled flight to Iqaluit, situated on Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit, enjoy a walking tour of the town and board your expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe, in the afternoon. After settling in to 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 to explore one of the most remote places on earth—Baffin Island.

Day 2
Lower Savage Islands

At the mouth of Frobisher Bay on the southeast tip of Baffin Island, the Lower Savage Islands are a geological wonder. A maze of channels criss-cross the islands and provide superb Zodiac cruising opportunities. It's possible to navigate from one side of the island to the other where the ship will collect the group. 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 life, including polar bears.

Day 3
Monumental Island

Situated in the Davis Strait, Monumental Island is a well-known location for walrus. Explore by Zodiac along the shoreline looking for these fascinating creatures. Watchful eyes may locate smaller pups within the masses. Sometimes polar bears are encountered in this vicinity and during their hunting forays, they have been known to chase walrus off their haul out and into the water. Throughout the coming days and rest of the voyage, your onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic and the locations you will plan to visit.

Day 4

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 textiles. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Center has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle and history of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.

Day 5
Sunshine Fjord

Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north latitude. Depending on the weather, cruise across the Circle onboard the ship, cross it in Zodiac boats, or possibly 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 your 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.

Day 6
Auyittuq National Park

On the eastern coast of Baffin Island lies one of Canada’s most spectacular National Parks—Auyittuq. The landscape is dominated by steep and rugged mountain scenery, extensive glacial systems and powerful rivers. In partnership with Parks Canada, venture into the park with skilled local guides who are able to interpret the flora, fauna, geological and glacial systems which can be found here. It’s a fascinating place experienced by only a few fortunate visitors every season. Plan on hiking on shore and cruising the rocky shorelines looking for wildlife. Plan a visit to Qikiqtarjuaq, a small settlement which is home to several Inuit families. After an inspiring day of exploration, continue north along the coastline of Baffin Island, venturing deeper into the Arctic wilderness.

Day 7
Isabella Fjord

Isabella Bay (Niginaniq) 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 vicinity.

Day 8
Gibb Fjord

This morning enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord, where towering cliffs surround you. Your expedition ship will seem dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as you cruise slowly along the dark waters. One past guest commented that Gibbs Fjord was like "something out of Lord of the Rings."

Day 9
Pond Inlet and Sirmilik National Park

Nearing the far north of Baffin Island, enter a broad channel which is home to the remote Inuit community of Pond Inlet. A highlight is a visit to the Natinnak Center, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewelery and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community. Pond Inlet 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 spectacular scenery consisting of rugged mountains, ice fields and glaciers, coastal lowlands and sizable seabird colonies.

Day 10
Navy Board Inlet and Sirmilik National Park

Venture north into Navy Board Inlet, separating Bylot Island from the northern extremes of Baffin Island. You are completely surrounded now by the National Park. Spotting scopes and binoculars will be trained ashore as you search for polar bear, birds and other wildlife. In the icy waters, keep a look out for Harp seals, walrus, narwhal and the white Beluga whale. Excellent photographic opportunities are all around and your onboard professional photographer will be on hand to assist you with image composition and provide other tips and advice.

Day 11
Dundas Harbor and Croker Bay

Leaving the wild landscapes of Baffin Island, cross Lancaster Sound to Devon Island. This broad channel of water has been likened to the wildlife "super highway" of the Arctic. Massive volumes of water from the Atlantic to the east and Pacific to the west, and from the archipelago of islands to the north all mix here, combining to make a rich source of nutrients and food for an abundance of Arctic wildlife. Plan on visiting the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbor. In the afternoon, reposition the ship into Croker Bay, home to a substantial glacial system.

Day 12
Prince Leopold Island and Beechey 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 in this vicinity, beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales are often sighted here, as well as polar bears and several species of seals. Your final shore landing, Beechey Island, is a place of great historic significance and a suitable finale to the expedition. Here, 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 lasted 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 long-lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus, in the Victoria Strait. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach is a thrilling experience for history buffs. For many, today will be a highlight of the expedition. Return to the ship this evening and 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.

Day 13
Resolute, Nunavut to Edmonton, Alberta

Your expedition comes to an end, arriving in Resolute. The town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which became trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin expedition. A weather station and airstrip made Resolute a strategic outpost during the time of the Cold War. After arriving in Resolute, disembark the Akademik Ioffe and bid farewell to your crew and fellow passengers. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Edmonton.


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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.

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-booked option. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in doing this activity during the expedition, you will need to book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. There is a separate document for sea kayakers that you will need to review beforehand.

Mandatory Insurance:
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; 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.

Not Included:
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; extra meals; items of a personal nature such as laundry, drinks; medical expenses; optional activities and trips; kayaking supplement.

PHOTOS: © David McEown; © Graham Charles; © Ira Meyer; © Mark Robinson; © Nate Small