Northwest Passage Franklin Special 10 DaysAboard: Akademik Ioffe
This special expedition follows in the footsteps of Franklin and the other 19th century explorers who sought the fabled North West Passage to the treasures of the East. On the way, you will encounter spectacular wildlife including myriad birds and hopefully, polar bears, beluga whales and even narwhals. A truly unique voyage which will take you from Resolute to Cambridge Bay.
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/to Edmonton are also charged at US$1995
- Follow in the footsteps of Franklin and other explorers
- Search for polar bears and other wildlife
- Myriad birdlife
- See beluga and other whales, with the possibility of seeing narwhal
- Historical sites and associations
- Kayaking option 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
So much to experience
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
Zoe’s abiding love of adventure travel has taken her to some of the most incredible wildlife-rich places on Earth. Her vast experience and genuine desire to share her knowledge makes her an outstanding and invaluable person to help you organise your wildlife adventure trip.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
Simon’s deep passion for and first-hand knowledge of a vast range of destinations all over the world gives him the ideal skills to help you create a truly unforgettable wildlife inspired adventure to the most exciting places on the planet.
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Edmonton to Resolute
Your expedition begins in Edmonton, Alberta where you will join your scheduled flight (not included in package price) to Resolute, a remote outpost above the Arctic Circle. Upon arrival in Resolute you will meet your expedition team who will brief you on your embarkation via Zodiac boat. After settling in to your cabin and exploring your new surroundings, you can enjoy a welcome cocktail as your ship casts off for your Canadian Arctic discovery voyage.
Note: there is a flight package covering flights from Edmonton to Resolute and return from Cambridge Bay at a cost of US$1995pp.
Beechey Island & Radstock Bay
The first stop on our thrilling voyage 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 as we take a moment to reflect upon the bravery of these pioneering explorers.
In the afternoon we will take a visit to Radstock Bay to see the huge rock headland of Caswell Tower, an imposing prominence of sedimentary rock rising from the sea, and enjoy a short walk to an 800 year old Inuit dwelling site.
Cape Charles Yorke & Elwin Inlet
Today we will sail south east towards Northern Baffin Island along the southern coastline of Devon Island and into the famous Lancaster Sound. We recommend spending some time on deck as we sail through this broad channel of water which 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 will make land at Cape Charles York for a hike or gentle walk along the coastline in search of the polar bears which are often spotted here, before sailing a short distance to navigate into the Elwin Inlet to enjoy a Zodiac cruise amongst the backdrop of this spectacular fjord.
Prince Leopold Island
Having crossed Prince Regent Inlet overnight, 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.
In nearby Port Leopold we will continue our search for the beluga whales which often come here to moult in the Arctic summer, as well as visiting the historic site where in 1848 English explorer James Clark Ross wintered during the search for the missing Franklin expedition.
Fort Ross & Bellot Strait
As we continue our navigation south into Prince Regent Inlet we will reach the historic site of Fort Ross on Somerset Island on the eastern end of the Bellot Strait. Here we will enjoy a gentle walk around to discover the former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading outpost along with fascinating archaeological sites which offer an insight into the more than a thousand years of habitation here by the Inuit and their predecessors.
After an exploration of Fort Ross accompanied by our expert historians we will re-board the ship to attempt an exciting navigation through the narrows of the Bellot Strait where we recommend spending some time on deck in search of the wildlife that abounds here including various species of seal and maybe even polar bears. This imposing stretch of water is well known for its fierce currents but you are in excellent hands as your experienced captain will time your passage perfectly to avoid the strongest currents, and your ship’s impressive capabilities will be more than apparent.
Having safely emerged from the Bellot Strait we will venture onwards across the Franklin Strait towards Prince of Wales Island for a day of exciting wildlife encounters and exploration. We will come ashore at Conningham Bay to experience one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. Conningham Bay is a well-known hotspot for polar bears and we hope to have some thrilling encounters with these ‘kings of the Arctic’ as they spend their days hunting for beluga whales to feast on. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons – and very healthy looking polar bears!
Victory Point, King William Island
Heading further south, the mystery of Sir John Franklin and his ‘lost expedition’ is beginning to unravel. Prior to the recent discovery of the HMS Erebus in September 2014, very little was known of how the Franklin Expedition spent its last months in the frozen Arctic. The vessels, abandoned in the ice of Victoria Strait are just coming to life thanks to the ongoing efforts of Parks Canada’s marine archaeological team and the recent Victoria Strait Expedition.
On Victory Point a lifeboat left abandoned, bits and pieces of copper and iron, cutlery and buttons and a skeleton here and there - all tell a story of a desperate race south in search of rescue that never came. We hope to visit Victory Point as we transit Victoria Strait, travelling very near the actual location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, all the while, learning about the quest for exploration that eventually opened up the Arctic. One can only imagine the last desperate days of Franklin’s men as another frigid Arctic winter approached, supplies dwindling and health failing.
Royal Geographical Society Islands
Our final day of exploration and discovery will offer us a visit to the Royal Geographical Society Islands, a small group of islands that are of tremendous historic importance in terms of polar exploration. It is in this location where in September of 2014 the wreck of HMS Erebus was finally found, followed by the finding of HMS Terror in 2016. Our expert historians will accompany us as we take a walk along the shore and take a moment to acknowledge the place where Franklin and his men abandoned their ships in the knowledge that hopes of rescue were virtually non-existent. As our historians conclude our journey through the path of Franklin we will re-board our ship filled with memories of our own voyage and join the captain for a special farewell dinner.
Cambridge Bay to Edmonton
Arrival into Cambridge Bay will sadly signal the end of our expedition. After breakfast we will disembark by Zodiac and bid a fond farewell to our expedition team before transferring to the airport for our flight back 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 charter flights at a cost of US$1995pp.
A view from Above
Built in Finland in 1989 as a Russian polar research vessel, the Akademik Ioffe, was operating as One Ocean Navigator until recently, is a comfortable, stable, ice-strengthened ship with all the facilities for modern expedition cruising. There is a mixture of suites and cabins, all with windows or portholes and some with private facilities. Public areas include dining room, lounge, bar, library with forward facing windows, multi-media room with Apple Mac computers and photo management software, presentation room, mud room, passenger lift and gift shop. There is also a wellness centre, sauna, spa, salt-water plunge pool, fitness room and infirmary. Along with plenty of open deck space, there is a top deck with 360degrees views and a small observatory with spotting scope. The ship has an open-bridge policy.
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