Baffin Island - Jewel of the Arctic
Baffin Island - Jewel of the Arctic 12 Days aboard Akademik Ioffe
Baffin Island is one of the last great wilderness regions in the world and this outstanding expedition explores the island in depth. From lqaluit, on Frobisher Bay, we travel 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 bear - the icon of the north.
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 flights from Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton are also charged at US$1995
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 >
- Polar bears and other animals
- Myriad birdlife
- Beluga and other whales, and maybe narwhal
- Spectacular scenery with deep fjords, glaciers, national parks and ice navigation
- Historical sites and associations
- Visits to remote Inuit communities
- Kayaking options available
- Transfers to and from ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Zodiac excursions and shore landings including hikes and wildlife colony visits
- Programme of expert lectures
- Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
- 24 hour hot drinks
- Expedition gear loan package
ITINERARY11 Nights 12 Days
- Day 1 | Ottawa to lqaluit
- Day 2 | Monumental Island
- Day 3 | Pangnirtung
- Day 4 | Sunshine Fjord
- Day 5 | Auyittuq National Park
- Day 6 | Isabella Bay
- Day 7 | Gibb Fjord
- Day 8 | Pond Inlet & Sirmilik National Park
- Day 9 | Lancaster Sound & Devon Island
- Day 10 | Prince Leopold Island
- Day 11 | Beechey Island
- Day 12 | Resolute, to Edmonton
Ottawa to lqaluit
Your expedition begins in Ottawa where you will join your scheduled flight (not included in package price) to lqaluit on Baffin Island. Upon arrival in lqaluit you can enjoy a walking tour of the town before boarding your ship in the afternoon. As you settle in to your cabin, meet your expedition team and explore your new surroundings, you can enjoy a welcome cocktail as your ship casts off to discover Baffin Island, one of the most remote places on earth.
Note: there is a flight package covering flights from Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton at a cost of US$1995pp.
The first stop on our Baffin Island adventure will be Monumental Island. Situated in the Davis Strait, Monumental Island is a well-known location for walrus and we will explore by zodiac boat along the shoreline looking for these fascinating creatures and hoping especially to see smaller pups within the masses. We sometimes encounter polar bears in this vicinity and during their hunting forays, they have been known to chase walrus off their haul out and into the water.
Here we also expect to see the first of many large icebergs and as with throughout your voyage your expert expedition team will offer informative and entertaining talks and presentations on the area’s geology, wildlife and history.
Today we will visit the scenic village of Pangnirtung, beautifully located between the mountains and the sea in the heart of Cumberland Sound. The area is within the western gateway to Auyuittuq National Park and we will spend some time here walking through this remote community and visiting the Angmarlik Visitor Centre which has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle and history of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.
We will spend today exploring amongst the spectacular Sunshine Fjord. Straddling the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north of latitude, this area offers an excellent chance to cross the Circle in style and your captain will assess the weather conditions to decide on how we do it. Whether it be on board the ship, in our Zodiac boats, or even on foot, we will feel a sense of excitement as we celebrate reaching above the Arctic Circle.
In this region there will be lots of opportunities for adventures, with thrilling hikes being a particular draw. Gentle walks along the shoreline will offer great photo opportunities and an extended hike across the tundra will result in wonderful views across the fjord. This is also a great place for kayaking and those who have chosen to participate in this optional activity can enjoy a scenic paddle through the sheltered waters of the fjord.
Auyittuq National Park
Sailing further up the eastern coast of Baffin Island we will reach Auyittuq National Park, one of Canada's most spectacular, remote and least visited National Parks, where the landscape is dominated by steep and rugged mountain scenery, extensive glacial systems and fast flowing rivers. We plan to venture into the park with skilled local guides who, along with our expedition team, will help us to interpret the remarkable flora, fauna, geological and glacial systems which can be found here. Throughout your time here you will be able to enjoy hikes through the park as well as Zodiac cruises along the rocky shorelines to look for wildlife.
In the afternoon we will board our ship again and sail to Qikiqtarjuaq to see the small settlement here that is home to several Inuit families, before continuing north and deeper into the Arctic wilderness.
Today we will spend some time sailing around Isabella Bay in search of wildlife sightings. Isabella Bay (Niginganiq) is an important summer habitat and feeding area for endangered bowhead whales and we hope to get some sightings of these elusive animals breaking through the sea ice with the crown of their heads. As we explore around we are also likely to see ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese, narwhal and even polar bears in this unique wildlife location.
Today we will encounter some of the most beautiful scenery of our whole voyage as we enter the breathtaking Gibb Fjord surrounded on all sides by majestic cliffs and snowy glaciers. As we cruise slowly through the dark waters our expedition ship will appear to be dwarfed by the giant peaks towering above us and we recommend spending the day on deck with your camera in hand. Your resident photographer will join you to offer hints and tips for capturing the perfect landscape shots.
Pond Inlet & Sirmilik National Park
As we near the far north of Baffin Island we will enter the broad channel which is home to the remote Inuit community of Pond Inlet. Here we will visit the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of the daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other traditional crafts are on display here and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community.
Pond Inlet is also the main access point to the pristine wilderness of Sirmilik National Park and we will take a visit here to discover the “jewel in the crown of Canada's Arctic Park system”. Sirmilik National Park features spectacular scenery consisting of rugged mountains, ice fields and glaciers, and coastal lowlands, and we will spend some time here perfecting our landscape photography skills alongside the resident photography expert. We can also spend some time looking for the sizeable seabird colonies that reside here before re-boarding the ship to start our journey across the Lancaster Sound.
Lancaster Sound & Devon Island
This morning you can enjoy some time on deck as we leave the wild landscapes of Baffin Island behind and cross the Lancaster Sound on our sail towards 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.
As we reach Devon Island we plan to make land at Dundas Harbour to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost located here before repositioning the ship to Crocker Bay for a chance to see its substantial glacier system.
Prince Leopold Island
Today we can enjoy another thrilling day of wildlife sightings as we visit Prince Leopold Island, an important migratory bird sanctuary that is 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. Yet where there are birds there are often nearby predators, and given the abundance of food in this vicinity we often sight polar bears here along with beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales, and several species of seal.
The final stop on our thrilling Baffin Island cruise will be one for the history lovers as we visit Beechey Island, an area of great historic significance. 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 lasted almost three decades. Accompanied by our expert historians we will take a walk through this area to discover more about the mystery of what happened to Franklin and about how the operators of your tour played such a huge part in the discovery of the long-lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus.
We will also visit the grave markers on the remote windswept beach, which pay homage to Franklin and his team, and for the history buffs amongst us this is likely to be one of the highlights of the voyage.
In the late afternoon we will return to the ship for a special farewell dinner attended by the captain before enjoying our final night onboard as we begin our journey to Resolute.
Resolute, to Edmonton
Arrival into Resolute will sadly signal the end of our expedition. 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. After breakfast we will disembark and bid a fond farewell to our expedition team before transferring to the airport for our flight to Edmonton. Upon arrival in Edmonton a transfer will also be provided, if required, to a central downtown location.
Note: there is a flight package covering flights from Ottawa to Iqaluit and Resolute to Edmonton at a cost of US$1995pp.
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.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot
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