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Classic Northwest Passage & Baffin Island

This iconic voyage explores Canada's remote Northwest Passage and the stunning fjords of the Baffin Island coastline. We enjoy excellent wildlife encounters, Inuit community visits, exciting navigation, hikes on shore and superb photographic opportunities along the way.Polar Bears, Fjords & Northern LightsFollow 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, the barren ground grizzly bear, musk ox, caribou and walrus. We'll explore the majestic Gibbs, Isabella & Sunshine Fjords offering incredible wildlife, photographic and hiking opportunities. This expedition also offers the best possibility to observe the majestic Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights!Trace the path of Heroic explorersWildlife is a major draw card of our expedition, but there is plenty of historical interest and the stories of that ill-fated expedition by Sir John Franklin more than 170 years ago is central to our voyage. Franklin made his last heroic foray into the Arctic in 1845 with two ships and 129 men, never to be heard from again. One of the vessels was discovered in late 2014 in a remarkable state of preservation, and considered one of the great archaeological discoveries of the last 100 years - likened to the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb.Everything included!
We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.

Inclusions

We include the use of an expedition gear package free of charge. Containing around $US900 worth of essential equipment, this kit includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants plus insulated rubber boots designed for extended walking. We also include a set of binoculars and a trekking pole for use when on shore. A waterproof backpack completes your package. This kit saves you buying expensive clothing and equipment you may only ever use once, and means more weight allowance for your main luggage.

Travel

  • All cruising onboard the Akademik Ioffe

Accommodation & Meals

  • 12 nights onboard the Akademik Ioffe
  • Cost based on twin-semi private cabin (one bathroom shared between 2 cabins)
  • 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners

Inclusions

  • Arctic gear hire package including waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, insulated comfortable rubber boots, binoculars, trekking pole and waterproof backpack for use on shore
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip in the Canadian Arctic
  • Transfers from the airport to your hotel upon arrival.
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport or local hotel on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes that open on each deck
  • High quality, eco friendly, Canadian made natural amenities in every cabin
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24 hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar lounge plus in cabin tea, coffee, hot chocolate replenished daily
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and community visits
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). On board or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests
  • Access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency trained Physician on board every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • On board sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
  • Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

Not Included

  • Any international or local airfares unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary. Note: Charter flights are not included and will be added to your booking at US$1995.00pp
  • Visa and passport expenses. Note: Most nationalities will be required to have an Electronic Travel Authorization (known as an eTA) to enter Canada (except US citizens). This is easily obtained online prior to travel and a fee of $CAD7.00 is payable at the time you lodge your application. The eTA is valid for a period of five years from date of issue. Speak to your travel consultant for more information or contact your local Canadian consular authorities for further details.
  • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Telecommunication charges (ie. email, satellite phone)
  • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
  • Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $12-$15pp US per day
Tour Provider Bunnik Tours
Number of Days
13
Price From
AUD $10,795
Start Location
Canada
End Location
Canada
Age Range
Avg. 50+
Group Size
20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Cycling/Trekking, Polar, Private, Small Marine/Cruise, Walking
Physical Rating
Moderate
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
20 Aug 201901 Sep 2019Fully BookedAUD $10,795 
ItineraryExpand
Classic Northwest Passage & Baffin Island

We recommend extra nights pre/post tour

This trip commences in Edmonton - Alberta's provincial capital city. We recommend you arrive in Edmonton at least one day prior to the scheduled voyage departure date. This gives you a buffer in the event of any unexpected travel delays between home and trip departure time. From Edmonton we fly to Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, via a charter flight. We transfer to the ship for embarkation via zodiac. At the conclusion of the trip, we fly from Iqaluit in Nunavut, back to Ottawa via a charter flight. Upon arrival in Ottawa, a transfer is provided from the airport to a central downtown location. This flight arrives in the early evening and we advise staying the night in Ottawa and making your onward travel plans for the following day. Full joining instructions are provided in your final travel documentation. If you have questions before this time, please ask us.

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 1. Edmonton, Alberta to Cambridge Bay (Nunavut) - Embark Cruise

We depart Edmonton this morning on our special charter flight to Cambridge Bay. Located on the southern shores of Victoria Island, today it is a centre for hunting, trapping and fishing. Upon arrival, enjoy a walking tour of the town and board our expedition ship in the afternoon. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and cast off, bound for the fabled Northwest Passage. [D]

DAY 2. Victory Point, King William Island

As we chart a course into the Northwest Passage, our onboard presentation series begins, and the legend of Sir John Franklin and his 'lost expedition' is beginning to unravel. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographic Society expedition, found the long lost Franklin shipwreck, 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 of this history defining mission. We aim to visit Victory Point, 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. [B,L,D]

DAY 3. Conningham Bay

This morning we arrive at Conningham Bay on the shore of Prince of Wales. Here, in the heart of the Northwest Passage we hope to encounter one of the most remarkable wildlife sites in the Arctic. This is a known hotspot for polar bears who come here to feast on Beluga whales, often caught in the rocky shallows at the entrance to the bay during low tide. It is not unusual to find the shoreline littered with whale skeletons and very healthy looking polar bears! [B,L,D]

DAY 4. Bellot Strait & Fort Ross

Today we transit the narrow passage of Bellot Strait a channel separating northerly Somerset Island from continental North America. The aim is to enter at slack tide if possible, in order to avoid a current that roars through the passage at more than seven knots during the peak flow. The mixing of waters in this strait provides an abundant food source for marine mammals and we keep our eyes peeled for harp seals, bearded seals and even polar bears. The skill of the Captain, Officers and capabilities of the ship becomes 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. [B,L,D]

DAY 5. Beechey Island

Beechey Island holds great historic importance on our journey through the Northwest Passage. 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 last almost three decades. 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. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and for many it will be the defining moment of our expedition. [B,L,D]

DAY 6. Lancaster Sound & Dundas Harbour

We are now at almost 75 degrees north of latitude. 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. These massive volumes of water from Baffin Bay to the east, Beaufort Sea to the west, and from the archipelago of islands to the north, combine to make a rich cocktail of nutrients supporting an abundance of Arctic wildlife. We plan on visiting the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbour, situated on the southern shores of Devon Island. [B,L,D]

DAY 7. 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. We are welcomed ashore and a highlight will be a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the north. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the community. [B,L,D]

DAY 8. Gibbs Fjord

This morning we enter the spectacular Gibbs Fjord with towering cliffs all around us. Our expedition ship will seem dwarfed by the giant peaks and snowy glaciers as we cruise slowly along the dark waters. One recent guest was heard to comment that Gibbs Fjord 'was like something out of Lord of the Rings' and we think you'll agree! [B,L,D]

DAY 9. Isabella Fjord

Isabella Bay (Niginaniq) is an important summer habitat and feeding area for endangered bowhead whales. These remarkable marine mammals are able to break sea ice with the crown of their head. The area also includes a shallow shelf at the entrance to the bay that provides protection for bowheads from predatory orca whales. Polar bears, ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese and narwhal are also found in and around the area. [B,L,D]

DAY 10. Sunshine Fjord

Sunshine Fjord straddles the Arctic Circle. This location offers terrific hiking opportunities and we have a number of great routes in mind. You may wish to take the extended hike, gaining some real elevation and offering wonderful views of our surroundings. Or choose to take the less strenuous option along the shoreline. The sheltered waters of the fjord provide the kayakers with great conditions for paddling. [B,L,D]

DAY 11. Pangnirtung

Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, Pangnirtung is beautifully situated between the mountains and the sea. This remote town is known for its arts and crafts and a visit to the local art gallery is a highlight. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle of the Thule and of the modern Inuit. [B,L,D]

DAY 12. Monumental Island

Situated in the Davis Strait, the rocky dome of Monumental Island can be seen from a distance. We explore by zodiac along the rocky shoreline and hope to encounter polar bears in this vicinity. In good weather a complete circumnavigation of the island in the zodaics is possible. We often encounter large icebergs drifting southward towards Labrador and Newfoundland on the currents of the Davis Strait. As we near the end of our journey we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap from the Expedition Leader. This evening we celebrate with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one our voyage across the top of the remote Canadian Arctic. [B,L,D]

DAY 13. Disembark - Iqaluit to Ottawa

By morning we are anchored off the beach from Iqaluit the largest community on Baffin Island. We say goodbye to our crew and make our way ashore on our final zodiac ride. We are transferred to the airport and board out scheduled flight to Ottawa. On arrival in Ottawa our journey comes to an end. A transfer is provided to a downtown location. [B]

Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship. Please ask us if you have any questions about this program.