Northwest Passage & Baffin Island 13 Days aboard Akademik Ioffe
This classic Northwest Passage voyage will take you on an iconic journey through the remote lands of Canada's high Arctic region and stunning fjords of the Baffin Island coastline. Following in the footsteps of historic Arctic explorers, on this first class itinerary you can enjoy thrilling Zodiac excursions, Inuit community visits, shore hikes and fantastic photo opportunities and wildlife observations. In the lands of the polar bear, the grizzly bear, musk ox, caribou and walrus, each day will bring a new adventure and experience as you travel through these fabled waters discovering all that makes them so remarkable.
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 Edmonton to Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit to Ottawa 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 >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy 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 >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA 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 >
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 >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive 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 >
Special Guest Photography GuideChris 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 >
- Voyage through the fabled Northwest Passage
- Enjoy encounters with polar bears, grizzly bears and other animals
- Myriad birdlife
- Beluga and other whales and maybe narwhal
- Historical sites and associations
- 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
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 | Pond Inlet
- Day 8 | Gibbs Fjord
- Day 9 | Isabella Fjord
- Day 10 | Sunshine Fjord
- Day 11 | Pangnirtung
- Day 12 | Monumental Island
- Day 13 | Iqaluit to Ottawa
Edmonton to Cambridge Bay
Having arrived independently to the Canadian city of Edmonton, this morning you will join your chartered flight to Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, to begin your thrilling Northwest Passage adventure. Upon arrival at this remote outpost above the Arctic Circle on the southern shores of Victoria Island, we can enjoy a walking tour before making our way to the ship for embarkation. After you have settled in to your comfortable cabin and explored your new surroundings, you will be invited to join your expedition team and fellow passengers to enjoy a welcome cocktail as we cast off to begin our exploration of some of the world’s most remote and intriguing regions.
Note: there is a flight package covering flights from Edmonton to Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit to Ottawa at a cost of US$1995pp.
Victory Point, King William Island
Our first full day on board will see us charting a course into the fabled Northwest Passage, with our fascinating programme of interesting lectures and presentations beginning. These expertly delivered talks will introduce you to the history and stories surrounding the areas you will be visiting, with a special focus on the historical polar explorations that took place here including the legend of Sir John Franklin and his “lost expedition”. 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.
This morning we will arrive along the shores of Conningham Bay on Prince of Wales Island where we will enjoy a day of Zodiac exploration in search of exciting wildlife observations. Known as one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic, Conningham Bay plays host to a wide range of animals including Beluga whales and their known predator, the “Kings of the Arctic” polar bears. As we search through the bays the full reckoning of nature’s ways may become strikingly apparent as the whalebone littered shorelines lead us to the source…the iconic polar bears.
Bellot Strait and Fort Ross
Today’s adventures will include an exciting navigation through the narrows of the Bellot Strait - a channel separating northerly Somerset Island from continental North America - 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 successfully navigated through the Bellot Strait we will arrive at the historic site of Fort Ross on Somerset Island on the eastern end of the 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.
Today 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.
Lancaster Sound and Dundas Harbour
This morning we will find ourselves at almost 75 degrees north of latitude as we cruise along the coastline of Devon Island in the waters of 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.
In the afternoon we plan to visit Dundas Harbour to visit the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost located here. We can also enjoy some great hiking opportunities in search of the musk oxen and Arctic hares that are often found here.
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 photo opportunities will abound as the epic landscapes of the park surround us on approach.
Today we will encounter some of the most beautiful scenery of our whole voyage as we enter the breathtaking Gibbs 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.
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.
We will spend today exploring amongst the spectacular Sunshine Fjord, straddling the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees, 33 minutes north of latitude.
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.
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.
The last stop on our Northwest Passage and Baffin Island adventure will be Monumental Island. Situated in the Davis Strait, Monumental Island is a well-known location for walruses 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. We also expect to see numerous large icebergs drifting southwards here so make sure to have your cameras ready!
As we get back on board to enjoy our final night at sea you will be invited to attend a voyage recap hosted by your expedition leader and this evening you can join the captain for a special dinner to commemorate our journey and reflect on the adventures we will have had.
Iqaluit to Ottawa
Our journey ends as you awake back along the shores of Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. After breakfast it will be time to disembark and bid a fond farewell to the expedition team before making our way to the airport for our flight to Ottawa. Upon arrival in Ottawa, if you are planning to spend more time here a transfer will be provided to a downtown location.
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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