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Northwest Passage Franklin Special Explore

Northwest Passage Franklin Special 10 Days aboard Akademik Ioffe

Prices From £5,912pp
9 nights
Sunday 11 AUG, 2019
Tuesday 20 AUG, 2019

Northwest Passage Franklin Special 10 Days aboard 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

Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An 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 >

Andy Pollard

Wildlife Guide & Photographer

Andy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >

Chris Coe

Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awards

A fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born 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 >

Doug Allan

Special Guest Lecturer

Exclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >

Chris Weston

Special Guest Photography Guide

Chris was 32 when he finally realised he really did want to be a photo-journalist and walked out on his career in IT sales to become a wildlife photographer Read more >


  • 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

What's Included

  • 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
Simon Rowland
Simon Rowland
Arctic Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic. Start planning your tailor - made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.


9 Nights   10 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Edmonton to Resolute
  • Day 2 | Beechey Island & Radstock Bay
  • Day 3 | Cape Charles Yorke & Elwin Inlet
  • Day 4 | Prince Leopold Island
  • Day 5 | Fort Ross & Bellot Strait
  • Day 6 | Coningham Bay
  • Days 7 - 8 | Victory Point, King William Island
  • Day 9 | Royal Geographical Society Islands
  • Day 10 | Cambridge Bay to Edmonton
Edmonton to Resolute

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

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

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

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

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.

Coningham Bay

Coningham Bay

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
7 - 8Days

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

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

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.

Akademik Ioffe

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What Our Customers

Ann Macleod, Scotland Sarah & David, Portsmouth James and Pamela Chapman, Halifax Geoff & Magda, Adelaide, Australia Ann & Paul, East Grinstead, Sussex Chris Janner, Manchester Gavin Burnett Stirling, United Kingdom Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Conlan, Manchester, UK Boyan Todorov, Holland Karen Worton, Suffolk,UK Malcolm Green , UK Malcolm Green , UK Frances Hadfield, East Sussex, UK Mike Unwin, Brighton, UK Christine Matthews, London, UK Jan Broderick, Northumberland
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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Simon Rowland
Simon Rowland
Arctic Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic. Start planning your tailor - made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.