Summary : This iconic voyage explores the remote Northwest Passage and stunning fjords of the Baffin Island coastline. You will follow in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, while exploring the archipelago of islands and channels that create Canada’s high Arctic region. This is the home of the polar bear, the barren ground grizzly bear, musk ox, caribou and walrus.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
- Charter Flights 50% Off
- Youth Savings up to 25% Off
$9,595 to $17,095
Depart Edmonton for your flight to Cambridge Bay, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island, today it is a center for hunting, trapping and fishing. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage.
As you chart a course into the Northwest Passage, our onboard presentation series begins, and the legend of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ starts to unravel. You will aim to visit Victory Point, traveling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus & the HMS Terror.
This morning you will arrive at Coningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage, you will hope to encounter one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. This is a known hot spot for polar bears who come here to feast on Beluga whales, often caught in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay during low tide. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy looking polar bears!
Today you will transit the narrow passage of Bellot Strait – a channel separating northerly Somerset Island from continental North America. The skill of the Captain and Officers and capabilities of the ship becomes apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation. Nearby Fort Ross, located at the southern end of Somerset Island, is a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost. Fascinating archaeological sites nearby tell a story of more than a thousand years of habitation by the Inuit and their predecessors.
Beechey Island holds great historic importance on your journey through the Northwest Passage. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and for many it will be the defining moment of your expedition.
Cruising the coastline of Devon Island, you are now in the waters of Lancaster Sound – a rich, bio-diverse region often referred to as the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. You will plan to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour, on Devon Island. Musk ox and Arctic hare are sometimes sighted in the vicinity and there are some great hiking options in the area.
Today you will sight the wild north coast of Baffin Island and navigate through Navy Board Inlet. The vast landscapes of Sirmilik National Park tower surround us as you approach the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). You are welcomed ashore and visit the Natinnak Center, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewelry and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community.
This morning you will enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord with towering cliffs all around 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 was known to liken Gibbs Fjord to a 'scene from a Lord of the Rings' - it's hard to disagree!
Isabela Bay (Niginaniq) is an important summer habitat and feeding area for endangered bow head whales. These remarkable marine mammals are able to break sea ice with the crown of their head. The area also includes a shallow shelf at the entrance to the bay that provides protection for bow heads from predatory Orca whales. Polar bears, ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese and narwhal are also found in and around the area.
Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle and offers terrific hiking opportunities. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining some real elevation and offering wonderful views of your surroundings, or elect to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. The sheltered waters of the fjord provide the kayakers with great conditions for paddling.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, the small community of 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 Center has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.
Monumental Island is a final highlight and a known location for walrus. You will explore by Zodiac along the shoreline looking for these fascinating creatures. Watchful eyes may locate smaller pups within the masses. You will sometimes encounter polar bears in this vicinity. This evening you will celebrate with a special dinner and reflect on your voyage across the top of the remote Canadian Arctic.
By morning you are anchored off the beach from Iqaluit – the largest community on Baffin Island. You will be transferred to the airport and board your flight to Ottawa where your journey comes to an end. A transfer to a downtown location is provided.
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.
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.
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.
Important Voyage Logistics:
This trip starts in Edmonton, Alberta's capital city. It is recommended that you arrive in Edmonton at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. From Edmonton you will fly to Cambridge Bay in Nunavut via a charter flight. You will transfer to the ship for embarkation via Zodiac. At the conclusion of the trip, you will fly from Iqaluit in Nunavut, back to Ottawa via a charter flight. Upon arrival in Ottawa, a transfer is provided from the airport to a central downtown location. This flight arrives in the early evening and it is recommended that you make your onward travel plans the following day.
The photographer in residence provides presentations, critiques, informal instruction, and a photographer zodiac to assist with each passenger's photographic goals.
A range of guided hiking options are available for passengers, from contemplative, relaxing shore walks to two-to-three hour treks with challenging terrain.
Sea Kayaking: $695 per person; pre-booking required
Limited to 16 participants. Kayakers will be accompanied by three kayak guides. This optional activity requires previous experience and must be booked in advanced. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Transfer from the airport to the hotel upon arrival; transfer to the ship on embarkation day; transfer from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; daily afternoon tea; 24-hour tea, coffee, and hot chocolate in the lounge and in all cabins (replenished daily); expertise of experienced expedition leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides, and photographers; daily shore excursions by Zodiac boat in small groups; guided hikes; educational presentations and talks by polar experts; access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up, and management; emergency-trained physician onboard every voyage; onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness center with personal trainer and massage options (additional charges apply for massage and spa treatments); well-stocked library with polar reference books; end of voyage video, photos, and take home USB; port fees and permits to access visited areas; and gear on loan (waterproof/windproof jacket, bib pants, insulated rubber boots, binoculars, and trekking poles). Subject to change without notice.
Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary; airport taxes; visa and passport expenses; pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodations unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges, extra meals, or laundry expenses; telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone); baggage, cancellation, or medical travel insurance-related expenses; travel insurance (mandatory on all trips); optional activities (i.e. kayaking); a voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount $12-15 per day).
PHOTOS: © Nate Small, © Rob Stimpson, © David McEown, © Ira Meyer