Northwest Passage + Greenland
Northwest Passage + Greenland 13 Days aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
This iconic voyage explores the remote Northwest Passage and stunning fjords of the Baffin Island coastline before crossing Baffin Bay to Greenland where we will marvel at the beauty of the icebergs calving off of the Greenland icecap. We follow in the footsteps of the early Arctic explorers such as Franklin, Amundsen and Larsen, exploring the archipelago of islands and channels that create Canada’s high Arctic region. This is the home of the polar bear, muskox, caribou and walrus and although wildlife is a major draw of our expedition, there is plenty of historical interest and the stories of that ill-fated expedition by Sir John Franklin nearly 170 years ago is central to our voyage.
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 icebergs and scenery
- Navigate the fabled Northwest Passage
- Historical sites and associations
- Transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Zodiac excursions and shore landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
ITINERARY12 Nights 13 Days
- Day 1 | Edmonton to Cambridge Bay
- Day 2 | Victory Point, King William Island
- Day 3 | Conningham Bay
- Day 4 | Bellot Strait and Fort Ross
- Day 5 | Beechey Island
- Day 6 | Lancaster Sound and Dundas Harbour
- Day 7 | Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
- Day 8 | Gibbs Fjord
- Day 9 | At sea in Baffin Bay
- Day 10 | Ilulissat and the Jacobshavn Icefjord
- Day 11 | Sisimiut, Greenland
- Day 12 | Sondre Stromfjord
- Day 13 | Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Edmonton to Cambridge Bay
We depart Edmonton on a charter flight to Cambridge Bay, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island, today it is a centre for hunting, trapping and fishing. Enjoy a walking tour of the town and then board our expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage.
Victory Point, King William Island
As we chart a course into the Northwest Passage, our onboard presentation series begins and we delve into the tale of the Franklin expedition. The mystery of what happened was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition found the HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. One Ocean Expeditions played a pivotal role in the search by carrying underwater search equipment on our ship as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors. We aim to visit Victory Point, travelling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, while learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. To end this remarkable find, the sister ship - HMS Terror was discovered nearby in the Summer of 2016.
This morning we arrive at Coningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales. This is one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. A hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on Beluga whales, it is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons and very healthy looking polar bears!
Bellot Strait and Fort Ross
Today we transit the narrow passage of Bellot Strait. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals, and we will keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain and officers and the capabilities of the ship become apparent during this exciting day of Arctic navigation. The historic site of 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 is of great historic importance. It is here that Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition spent its last ‘comfortable’ winter in 1845 before disappearing into the icy vastness. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach gives one pause to wonder on the bravery (or foolhardiness) of these pioneering explorers, as they sought a way through the barren, frozen landscape.
Lancaster Sound and Dundas Harbour
Cruising the coastline of Devon Island, we are now in the waters of Lancaster Sound – a rich, bio-diverse region often referred to as the wildlife ‘super highway’ of the Arctic. Massive volumes of water from Baffin Bay to the east, Beaufort Sea to the west, and the archipelago of islands to the north combine here to make a rich cocktail of nutrients supporting an abundance of Arctic wildlife. We plan to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour. Muskox and Arctic hare are sometimes seen around here, and there are great hiking options in the area.
Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet)
We sight the wild north coast of Baffin Island and navigate through Navy Board Inlet. The vast landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround us as we approach the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). A highlight will be a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. We also enjoy meeting the local children of Mittimatalik and marveling at their athletic abilities as they demonstrate traditional Inuit games.
This morning we enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord. Our expedition ship will be dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as we cruise along the dark waters.
At sea in Baffin Bay
Leaving the rugged coastline of Baffin Island, our crossing of Baffin Bay allows us time to slow down and reflect on the beauty and experiences we have shared. Our team of onboard experts will continue to educate us on the history and wildlife of the region while our naturalists keep watch looking for fulmars and dovekies, pilot whales and perhaps even orca. As we approach Greenland, we also increase our likelihood of spotting some of the big baleen whales like the fin and sei whales.
Ilulissat and the Jacobshavn Icefjord
If one word could sum up today’s experience it would be 'ice'. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site - spews giant tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 40 metres per day, creating around 50 cubic kilometres of ice annually. Our approach to Ilulissat is dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Our Captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and our ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters.
We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location. Characterized by colourful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘Eskimo rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.
One of the world’s longest fjords, Sondre Stromfjord towers above the ship as we sail up it. We plan to venture into some of the small side fjords that we can zodiac into and explore on foot or by kayak. Major geologic and geomorphologic features will surround us and we hope to find muskox along the shores of the fjord as well. Soaring high above us will be the white-tailed sea eagle, riding the thermals off the ridges. There are fantastic opportunities for hiking.
Our journey through the Arctic is all but complete as we disembark the ship in Kangerlussuaq and make our way to the airport and a charter flight returns us to Ottawa. A transfer is provided from the airport to a central location downtown.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
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!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
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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