Labrador and The Torngat Mountains
Labrador and The Torngat Mountains 11 Days aboard Akademik Ioffe
This voyage links numerous historic locations on Canada’s east coast, including a known Viking settlement, a French-built fortress, several remote mission locations and isolated fishing ports. We journey from the more temperate climate found in the Maritimes, northwards and into the higher Arctic latitudes. Subtle changes to vegetation and wildlife species can be noticed and our expert guides will interpret and explain these changes throughout the journey. The region features strong cultural diversity and we encounter the Nunatsiavut people in small communities along the coastline of Labrador. Numerous wildlife species are found along this coastline including bears, seals, whales and both migratory and resident birds. A particular highlight of our voyage is a visit to Torngat Mountains National Park – home to the highest mountains in Canada, east of the Rockies. This is one of the jewels in the crown of the Canadian National Park network.
Note: All bookings on voyages that operate domestically within Canada, are subject to a compulsory 5% goods and services tax (GST). This will be added to the cruise price on the confirmation invoice. The charter flight from Iqaluit to Ottawa is also charged at US$995
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Searching for polar bears and other animals
- Whales and marine mammals
- Superb birdlife
- Spectacular scenery
- Experience Inuit culture
- Transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Zodiac excursions and shore landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
ITINERARY10 Nights 11 Days
- Day 1 | Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
- Day 2 | Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
- Day 3 | L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
- Day 4 | Battle Harbour, Newfoundland
- Day 5 | Hopedale, Newfoundland
- Day 6 | Hebron, Newfoundland
- Day 7 | Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador
- Day 8 | Nachvak Fjord, Labrador
- Day 9 | Button Islands, Nunavut
- Day 10 | Monumental Island, Nunavut
- Day 11 | Iqaluit, Nunavut
Louisbourg, Nova Scotia
Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of fresh, local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse, into the North Atlantic and on to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
This morning we are anchored off the tiny fishing community of Trout River, the access point into Gros Morne National Park. Our zodiacs take us ashore and we are transferred by bus for visit to the World Heritage-listed Tablelands. This incredible location is noted for its unique geology and exceptional scenery. Here, the Earth’s mantle is exposed on the surface – pushed up over millions of years by the movement of tectonic plates. We explore the boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, white-throated sparrows and may encounter the iconic moose as we explore the park. Continuing north through the park we enjoy a visit to the Discovery Centre, before arriving at Woody Point located in majestic Bonne Bay. We meet the ship here, re-boarding in the afternoon and continue our voyage northwards.
L’anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
Today tells a story a thousand years in the making. We board the zodiacs for a short cruise to the rocky shoreline. A millennium ago, Viking long-ships would have been found along this same beach. L’Anse aux Meadows is one of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is where Norseman, Leif Erikson, (son of Eric the Red) - is thought to have founded “Vinland” around 1000 AD. As we explore the reconstructed sod huts and Norse ruins with the site’s resident archaeologist, we see evidence that the Vikings discovered North America some five hundred years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. This evening we leave the coastline of Newfoundland, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle overnight.
Battle Harbour, Newfoundland
Battle Harbour marks our arrival into the province of Labrador. The location was one of the first British settlements on the east coast of the Americas. It was an important gateway to the rich Labrador fisheries. We venture ashore to explore the restored fishing, whaling, commercial buildings found in this remote community. The colourful buildings make for fantastic photographic subjects amid the backdrop of breathtaking coastal views.
The ancient rocks of the Canadian Shield (the exposed portion of the Earth’s crust) cradle the small coastal hamlet of Hopedale. This remarkable geological feature, estimated to be up to 4-billion-years-old greet us as we sail through narrow channels and weigh anchor off Hopedale. We venture ashore by zodiac to visit the Hopedale Moravian Mission – built in 1782 and said to be the oldest building east of Quebec. It’s a fascinating place and we learn of the influence of the early Moravian missionaries on the Inuit people of Northern Labrador. This location has been designated a Canadian National Historic Site. We plan a visit to the local museum for a deeper insight. The local Inuit produce wonderful carvings and other crafts which make wonderful souvenirs.
Today we enjoy a visit to the historic town of Hebron, once the northernmost settlement in Labrador. The Moravian missionaries established Hebron in the early 1830’s and the Germanic influence is clearly seen in the architecture. The Mission was closed and the local Inuit families relocated in 1959 but the original buildings still stand today. This is another designated National Historic Site and is considered one of the most historically significant mission-built structures in the entire province. We will hope to meet Buddy and Jenny, Nunatsiavut Government ambassadors, who have been looking after the historic site for years. They have a fascinating story to tell.
Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador
We will sail into Saglek Fjord, the southern gateway to the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, established in 2005.
We are midway through our exploration of Labrador at this point and our attention turns from history – to the magnificent wilderness of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve. The Park was established as recently as 2005 and covers almost 10,000 square kilometres of Northern Labrador. It is bordered by Quebec on one side, and the Labrador Coast on the other. It is home to Canada’s highest mountains East of the Rockies, and features breathtaking fjords, remnant glacial systems and stunning landscapes. The Inuktitut word Torngat, means “place of spirits” and the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for over 7500 years. These mountains represent a very spiritual connection to the Inuit spirit world. Polar bears hunt seals along the coast, and both the Torngat Mountains and George River caribou herds cross paths as they migrate to and from their calving grounds. Inuit continue to use this area for hunting, fishing, and travelling throughout the park during the year. There are some terrific hiking opportunities here explore the area on foot and along the shoreline in the zodiacs. Wildflowers are spectacular when in bloom and bears feast on local berries found among the sedges and grasses on the raised beaches along the shores of the fjords.
Nachvak Fjord, Labrador
Nachvak Fjord is exceptionally beautiful. The fjord is deep and narrow and stretches more than 20 kilometres. The rocky walls of the fjord soar almost 900 meters above us at several points. Many species migrate through the area during the short boreal summer. Numerous seal species may be encountered including ring, hooded, harp and harbour seals. Minke whales have been known to linger in the fjords, while larger species, including fin and humpback, tend to stay offshore. This is an outstanding location for landscape photography with endless subjects, a dynamic colour range interesting lighting.
Button Islands, Nunavut
As we reach the far northern stretches of coastal Labrador, we learn of the remarkable events at Martin Bay. Here a German U-boat made the only known armed landing in North America during WWII. In 1943, U-537 sat at anchor here, while the crew man-handled ashore and established an automated weather station. This station remained undiscovered until the late 1970’s when a German historian came across a reference to it in the German naval archives. The equipment was collected by the Canadian Coast Guard in the early 1980’s and is on permanent display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Later in the day, we visit the Button Islands before sailing into southern Davis Strait. Named after Thomas Button who explored the area in 1612, the islands are in the middle of the upwelling of nutrients on the edge of the continental shelf. This action makes it a magnet for thousands of seabirds and other marine mammals.
Monumental Island, Nunavut
Today we will sail across the mouth of Frobisher Bay and make landfall on Monumental Island, a small, steep-sided outcrop off the southeast coast of Baffin Island. Here we are on the lookout for both polar bears and walrus that live around the island in an uneasy truce. While polar bears have been known to attack and kill young walrus they are no match for a fully-grown male walrus, especially in the water. We enjoy our final zodiac cruise here and tonight we reflect on the last 10-days of exploration while enjoying a sumptuous farewell dinner, attended by the Captain of the ship. During the night the ship will negotiate the narrow channels of Frobisher Bay on the way to our disembarkation point, Iqaluit, the capital city of Nunavut.
We bid farewell to our crew and disembark the ship by zodiac and, after a short tour of Iqaluit (if time and tides permit) we transfer to the airport for our flight back to Ottawa. On arrival in Ottawa, an airport transfer is provided to a central downtown location.
What Our Customers
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We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
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Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
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