Baffin Island is one of the last great wilderness regions on the planet and the focus of this outstanding expedition. From Iqaluit, situated at the head of Frobisher Bay, we explore up the wild east coast of Baffin Island discovering the deep fjords, soaring mountains and immense glacial systems.
We are constantly on the lookout for variety of birdlife and marine wildlife - including polar bears - the icon of the north. At this time of the season, we anticipate exciting ice navigation as the pack ice continues to break up during the short period that defines Arctic Summer.
Visits to remote Inuit communities 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 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. This remote and desolate place is home to several small grave markers, which we see on our shore excursion.
We eventually reach the remote town of Resolute where our adventure comes to an end. This is remote, small ship expedition cruising at its best.
Please Note: this voyage starts from Ottawa on a special charter flight. The voyage ends with a charter flight to Edmonton. Flights are not included in your voyage cost.
• Wildlife Identification. An activity everyone can participate in! Join us as we work through our wildlife list identifying markers and checking off even the most elusive species.
• Photographer in Residence. On each and every departure our Photographer in Residence provides presentations, critiques, informal instruction and a photographer zodiac to assist you in your photographic goals.
• Education. Ornithology, marine biology, geology, & history make up the backbone of our educational program. Our educators are part of our expedition team travelling alongside you from the zodiac to the dinner table.
• Fitness & Yoga. Offered at various times throughout the day, as well as by private schedule, our fitness/yoga instructors/trainers offer a full suite of active movement programs for you to either stay fit, or start a new regime.
• Polar Bear Watching. Watch the icon of the north wandering through it’s natural environment from our ice strengthened vessel or keep an eye open for polar bears, when discovering the Arctic via zodiac.
• Trekking/Hiking. Where possible we tailor the options to offer our contemplative walk for those wanting to stay close to shore and not hike up slope, our mid range hike and our longer hikes. The longer hikes can range from two to three hours in duration, and may involve challenging terrain without the assistance of trails.
• Whale Watching. Experience the ultimate wildlife show from your front row seat. While sailing and exploring on the ship or cruising through the shallow waters of the coastal area, you will be surprised by the gracious movements of those majestic animals.
• Zodiac Cruising. Heavy duty mark V zodiac inflatables paired with yamaha 60HP four stroke engines and a trained guide/driver provide a brilliant platform for small group cruising.
We depart Ottawa this morning on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, situated on Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit we enjoy a walking tour of the town and board our expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe in the afternoon. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. 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.
Situated in the Davis Strait, the rocky dome of Monumental Island can be seen from a distance. We explore by zodiac along the rocky shoreline and hope to encounter polar bears in this vicinity. In good weather a complete circumnavigation of the island is possible. We should see our first large icebergs drifting southward towards Labrador and Newfoundland on the currents of the Davis Strait. Throughout the coming days and rest of the voyage, our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic and the locations we plan to visit.
Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the western gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, the village of Pangniqtuuq 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. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display featuringthe lifestyle and history of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.
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, cross it in the zodiac boats or the more active option maybe to 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 we have a number of great routes in mind. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining elevation and offering wonderful views of our surroundings. Or choose to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. For the sea kayakers, the sheltered waters of the fjord provide great conditions for paddling.
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 which can be found here. It’s a fascinating place experienced by only a few fortunate visitors every season. We plan on hiking and cruising the rocky shorelines looking for wildlife. 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.
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 vicinity.
This morning we enter the spectacular Gibb Fjord with towering cliffs all around us. Our expedition ship will seem dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as we cruise slowly along the dark waters. One past guest commented that Gibb Fjord 'was like something out of Lord of the Rings' – and we think you’ll agree!
Nearing the far north of Baffin Island, we enter a broad channel which is home to the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik. A highlight is a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community. 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 spectacular scenery consisting of rugged mountains, ice fields and glaciers, coastal lowlands and sizeable seabird colonies. Even your widest angle camera lens will seem inadequate to capture the vast scenery.
Leaving the wild landscapes of Baffin Island, we 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. 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.
Prince Leopold Island is 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 bears.
Our final shore landing - Beechey Island, is a place of great historic significance and suitable finale to our expedition. 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 long-lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a vital role in the search by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors of this history-defining mission. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach, is a thrilling experience for history buffs and for many, it will be a highlight of the expedition. We return to the ship and this evening 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.
Our expedition comes to an end as we arrive into 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 we disembark the ship and bid farewell to our crew and fellow passengers. We transfer to the airport for our flight south, to Edmonton. A transfer is also provided from the airport into a central downtown location.
This trip commences in Ottawa - Canada's elegant capital city. We recommend you arrive in Ottawa at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. From Ottawa we fly north to Iqaluit and after a tour of the town, we transfer to the ship for embarkation via zodiac. At the conclusion of the trip, we fly from Resolute to Edmonton (Alberta) via special charter flight. Upon arrival in Edmonton, a transfer is provided from the airport to a central downtown location. This flight arrives in the early evening and we advise staying the night in Edmonton and making your onward travel plans for the following day.
Polar exploration can be unpredictable. 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 . A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one. One triple cabin is reserved for female guests, the other is for male guests. Triple cabins can also be booked by groups of three travelling together.
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private â meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
Located on decks 4 and 5 these spacious. Well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths (one which can be converted to a sofa during the day), with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened.
Onboard Akademik Ioffe these very large cabins are located on deck 6, and feature two lower berths, a sofa, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. All cabins have a window that can be opened. These cabins provide great access to the outer observation decks and shipâs bridge.
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/pillows, night light, private facilities, iPad loaded with region specific material, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge areas is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large pictures windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and windows over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
Charter Flights: 1995 USD pp
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 117 metres
Passenger Capacity: 96
The Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need.
A separate lounge and bar, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.
The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in our dining room, which can host all passengers in a single seating and will keep you feeling healthy and strong for the myriad of activities offered throughout the voyage.
Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa, sauna and plunge pool. There’s also a dedicated expedition ‘mud-room’ where you prepare for your off-ship excursions.
Superior Comfort and Stability
Highest standards of Marine Safety
Fitness and Fitness Room
Top Deck and Observatory