Summary : This exceptional voyage explores the stunning fjords and soaring peaks of Baffin Island before crossing the Davis Strait to witness the glaciated landscapes and colorful fishing villages of western Greenland. From Iqaluit, explore the southeastern corner of Baffin Island's Monumental Island and the small hamlet of Pangnirtung. Throughout your adventure, scout for wildlife, including a variety of bird and marine life plus the icon of the North, the elusive polar bear, who roams the ice floe edge. Inuit communities of both Canada and Greenland are home to rich and unique cultures that have survived in this harsh landscape for centuries. Visits to these small towns and villages provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who call this remote wilderness their home. 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. Concluding in Kangerlussuaq, this voyage provides the quintessential Arctic experience.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
$10,895 to $16,495
Depart Ottawa this morning on a scheduled flight to Iqaluit, the provincial capital of Nunavut, situated on the southeastern coast of Baffin Island. Upon arrival, enjoy a walking tour of this historic settlement before boarding your 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 to explore one of the most remote regions in the world.
Located in the Davis Strait, the rocky dome of Monumental Island can be seen on approach. Travel by Zodiac to explore the rocky shoreline and hope to encounter polar bears in this vicinity. In good weather a complete circumnavigation of the island is possible. You should see your first large icebergs as they drift south towards Labrador and Newfoundland on the currents of the Davis Strait. Walruses have also been encountered in this area, so keep a close look out on the shoreline for this iconic species. Over the next few days, and throughout the voyage, your onboard experts educate and entertain you with a series of presentations about Inuit culture and traditions, as well as the environment, wildlife, and history of Baffin Island.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the western gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, the village of Pangnirtung is beautifully situated between mountains and 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 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. Explore this region and plan to hike the shoreline ridges, paddle the bays, and cruise by Zodiac through the ice while scouting for Arctic wildlife.
Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north latitude. Depending on the weather, you might cruise across the Circle on the ship, cross it by Zodiac or—the more active option—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 several great routes in mind. You may wish to take the extended hike, which rises in elevation and offers 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 your eyes peeled for bearded, hooded, and ringed seals and walruses. 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, take a Zodiac ride and explore through the ice floes hoping to view wildlife. Eventually the ship will 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. Hot springs and mineral deposits containing native iron 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 formations found here. Truly one of the wonders of the world is the Jacobshavn Icefjord—a UNESCO World Heritage site—which expels gigantic tabular icebergs into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 130-feet per day, creating approximately 1,765-cubic feet of ice annually. The 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 highlight of the trip. There's also a great hike through the town to a viewpoint, high above the ice field.
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. Hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of "kayak rolling" by a former Greenland kayak champion. The town's church and smaller museum are other points of interest. Restored historic houses and old Greenlandic fishing boats make for great photographic subjects.
Today, 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. The waters change color the further you venture into the fjord, from deep blue to grey, until silt-laden waters surround the ship. This water flows straight off the huge Greenland ice cap into rivers and, eventually, the fjord. Depending on your arrival time, you may visit the small town or check out the surrounding tundra, looking for muskox and birds of prey. Tonight, the chefs will prepare a special farewell dinner attended by the captain of the ship. It's a wonderful time to celebrate and reflect on a remarkable journey through the heart of the Arctic.
This morning you'll find yourself anchored off Iqaluit. Say goodbye to your crew and make your way ashore in a Zodiac. Transfer to the airport for your scheduled flight to the Ottawa. On arrival in Ottawa, your journey comes to an end. A transfer to a downtown location is provided.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions—and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance. The travel insurance must cover accidents, injury, illness and death, medical expenses, including any related to pre-existing medical conditions, emergency repatriation (including helicopter), luggage and personal effects, and personal liability. It is strongly recommended that you purchase cancellation and curtailment insurance. 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
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.
This trip commences in Ottawa, Canada's elegant capital city. It is recommended that you arrive in Ottawa the day before your voyage departure date to provide a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. From Ottawa, you'll fly north to Iqaluit and after a tour of the town, you'll transfer to the ship for embarkation via Zodiac. At the conclusion of your voyage, you will fly from Kangerlussuaq (Greenland) to Ottawa. A transfer will be provided from the airport to a central downtown location. It is recommended that you stay overnight in Ottawa and schedule your onward travel plans for the following day.
Fitness & Yoga: Included
Offered at various times throughout the day, as well as by private schedule. Fitness and yoga instructors offer a full suite of active movement programs.
The photographer-in-residence provides presentations, critiques, informal instruction, and a Zodiac to assist with passengers' photographic goals.
Kayaking: pre-booking required
Limited to 30 guests. If you have experience sea kayaking and are interested in this activity during the expedition, please book this option prior to departure from home. You cannot book this activity once onboard. All intending kayakers must complete a questionnaire outlining their prior paddling experience and attend several compulsory onboard meetings prior to the first kayak excursion. Provided equipment includes full Gore-Tex drysuits, kayak specific PFDs, neoprene booties, a waterproof deck bag, pogies, and a single or double kayak. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
A range of guided hiking options are available for passengers, from contemplative, relaxing shore walks to two-to-three-hour treks with challenging terrain.
Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation; shipboard accommodations; experienced expedition leader and professional team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides, and photographers; emergency-trained medical physician onboard every voyage; daily off-ship excursions and guided hikes; visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty, and community visits; educational presentations and talks; use of library, sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi, and fitness center; access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up, and management; end of voyage video, photos, and take-home USB; gear on loan (waterproof/windproof jacket, bib pants, insulated rubber boots, binoculars, and trekking poles); all meals onboard the ship; daily housekeeping; daily afternoon tea; 24-hour tea, coffee, and hot chocolate in the lounge and in all cabins (replenished daily); port fees and permits to access visited areas. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Additional Inclusions for Suites:
Exclusive check-in service on day of embarkation; deluxe welcome package (wine, fruit basket, natural snacks); single brew coffee machine; mini-stereo; private in-room One Ocean Adventure Concierge service; in-room dining menu; early morning in-room café service; evening après dinner drink service; premium in-room mini bar replenished daily (including spirits); complimentary 1-hour massage/spa experience. Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary; visa and passport expenses; pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation and transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged); optional paid activities such as sea kayaking; personal expenses onboard such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges, massage, spa treatments or laundry charges; telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone); baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses; a voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Tony Beck; © David McEown; © Mark Robinson; © Dave Sanford