Baffin Island – Jewel of the High Arctic – Ioffe, August 2016
Baffin Island – Jewel of the High Arctic – Ioffe, August 2016
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About the Canadian Arctic Itinerary
Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland (Departing from Reykjavík, Iceland) Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam, with the Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland itinerary. You’ll be exploring the northerly shores of Canada’s Baffin Island and the western coast […]
About the Canadian Arctic Itinerary
Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland (Departing from Reykjavík, Iceland)Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam, with the Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland itinerary. You’ll be exploring the northerly shores of Canada’s Baffin Island and the western coast of Greenland, searching for the wildlife and visiting the communities that call this mysterious realm home. Zodiac cruising gives you an awe-inspiring perspective of impressive icebergs, glaciers and fjords, while visits to communities immerse you in their traditional and modern way of life. The rugged beauty of these pristine places will have you marveling at the soaring cliffs of Sam Ford Fjord and the dazzling icebergs dotting the Ilulissat Icefjord. In this remote, wildlife-rich region, you may spot whales in their natural surroundings or get a glimpse of one of the Arctic’s most iconic animals; the polar bear. The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure!
- Search for iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, muskoxen, walrus and whales
- Explore Canadian wildlife sanctuaries and the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Visit traditional settlements and meet Inuit and Greenlandic locals
- Cruise in a Zodiac to explore icebergs, glaciers, fjords and more
- Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures
Day 1 — Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland
Your Arctic expedition begins in Reykjavik. Explore Iceland’s capital city on your own before spending the night at your included hotel.
Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
In the morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Kangerlussuaq, a small town at the eastern head of Sondre Stromfjord, one of the longest fjords in the world. After embarking your ship in the afternoon, enjoy time out on deck, taking in your new surroundings as you set sail on your arctic expedition.
Day 3 — At Sea
As we cruise across the Davis Strait, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. Staff will also keep a lookout for seabirds soaring above your ship, as well as whales that frequent the waters here.
Days 4 to 6 — Exploring Baffin Island, Canada
Baffin Island is the fifth-largest island in the world, it was named for English navigator William Baffin, who ventured to the area in the early 17th century in search of the fabled Northwest Passage. Your days sailing along the island’s eastern coast will be guided by weather and ice conditions, with each day and each landing presenting new adventures. Some of our favorite destinations include Qikiqtarjuaq, Isabella Bay and Sam Ford Fjord. Towering mountains, deep fjords, colorful tundra, and Inuit settlements await!
The Inuit community of Qikiqtarjuaq (which means “the big island” in Inuktitut) is located just north of the Arctic Circle, on Broughton Island. Fondly called Qik by locals, the welcoming hamlet offers a superb vantage point of the Davis Strait. You’ll also have a chance to support local Inuit artisans here by purchasing unique artwork, crafts and jewelry.
The rarely explored Sam Ford Fjord is one of the most isolated places on the planet. It is a spectacular big-wall playground, attracting adventurous climbers eager to scale the dozens of towering vertical granite cliffs that erupt from the sea. Have your camera handy as you cruise along this impressive coastline carved by ancient glaciers—the towering formations, stacked side by side, are simply majestic.
Day 7 — At Sea
As our ship sails farther north, take in a presentation by our on-board experts, sip an icy cocktail in the bar, watch a movie or join your Expedition Team on the bridge as they scan for wildlife—there is no shortage of activities while at sea.
Days 8 to 11 — Lancaster Sound
The gateway to the Northwest Passage, Lancaster Sound is one of the richest marine habitats in the Arctic. With open-water areas staying ice-free all year, it is an important summer feeding area for whales and other marine wildlife. Our days here will be spent exploring several of the sound’s beautiful bays and inlets, discovering historical sites, enjoying Zodiac cruises and searching for such iconic wildlife as walrus, seals and, of course, whales. Polar bear sightings are possible too, as Lancaster Sound is known for polar bear sightings. If you’re fortunate, you may even spot the elusive narwhal.
There may be a possibility for a shore visit at Radstock Bay, the location of one of the most impressive ancient Thule sites in the Arctic. Exploring the well-preserved remains of the subterranean houses, including the whale bones used as supports for the dwellings, will give you an understanding of how these pre-Inuit people thrived in the Far North.
We will attempt to land at Beechey Island, a Canadian National Historic Site. Named after explorer Frederick William Beechey, the island is the final resting place of members of Sir John Franklin’s 1845–46 expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The graves, on a desolate rocky beach, were discovered in 1850 by a team searching for signs of the ill-fated expedition.
Predominantly covered in glaciers and ice fields, Coburg Island and its surrounding waters comprise the Nirjutiqavvik National Wildlife Area. The island’s steep coastal cliffs are an ideal habitat for hundreds of thousands of nesting seabirds like Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres), black-legged kittiwakes, northern fulmars and black guillemots.
Day 12 — Smith Sound
Before saying goodbye to Canada, we’ll push as far north as possible, exploring both sides of Smith Sound, the uninhabited passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Experience a true expedition as weather and ice determine how far north we explore.
Days 13 and 14 — Exploring Northwest Greenland
Your return to Greenland will have you sailing along the remote northwest coast, a land of impressive icebergs and massive glaciers. Qaanaaq, formerly known as Thule, is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Here, local Inuit share their culture and traditions, while the museum sheds more light on life near the top of the world.
We hope to explore Melville Bay, a significant whaling site until the early 1900s. Opening up to Baffin Bay, the area is a major egress for the Greenland ice cap and is home to spectacular icebergs in all shapes and sizes, making it an ideal spot for Zodiac cruising. If you’re feeling adventurous, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to a unique arctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (additional cost).
Day 15 — At Sea
As we continue sailing south along the west coast of Greenland, presentations by our on-board experts will prepare you for the adventures that lie ahead.
Days 16 to 18 — Exploring West Greenland
Boasting spectacular glaciers, mountainous landscapes, dramatic fjords and vibrant communities, the west coast of Greenland will leave you breathless. Some areas we hope to explore here are Uummannaq, Itilleq and the impressive Ilulissat Icefjord.
Quite possibly the most picturesque place in Greenland, the traditional Inuit town of Uummannaq (which means “heart-like”) takes its name from the red heart-shaped mountain that rises up a staggering 3,840 feet (1,170 meters) behind it. You’ll want to be positioned on deck as your ship approaches the shore, with your camera ready to capture the inspiring vistas of the twin peaks soaring high above the colorful houses dotting the rugged coastline.
Another beautiful locale is the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Home to Jakobshavn, one of the most active glaciers in the world, this is a great spot to enjoy a Zodiac excursion past towering icebergs. Venturing ashore in the town of Ilulissat (which means “iceberg”) will allow you to visit the icefjord on foot and gaze at this unforgettable river of ice from the rocky shore.
Surrounded by sea and mountains, Itilleq (meaning “crossing place”) is situated about a mile (2 km) above the Arctic Circle, in a scenic hollow on a small island. It is the southern limit of the Greenlandic sled dog. To keep the breed pure, the dogs are not permitted south of this community and all other dog breeds are prohibited this far north. Explore the town’s traditional wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colors, chat with the locals, whose main trade is fishing, and maybe challenge them to a game of football (soccer) —it won’t be long before you’re experiencing Itilleq’s famous friendly vibe.
Day 19 — Disembark in Kangerlussuaq and Fly to Reykjavik
Enjoy one more Zodiac ride to shore, where you’ll board your charter flight back to Reykjavik, Iceland. Upon arrival in Reykjavik, we will transfer you to your included hotel.
Day 20 — Depart Reykjavik, Iceland
Today, you can make your way home at your leisure or spend time exploring this vibrant city.
Welcome Aboard the Ioffe
Built for polar research, the Akademik Ioffe is a modern, comfortable and safe vessel that carries a maximum of 96 passengers. The ship underwent extensive renovation of cabins and the bar in 2011, giving it a new feel.
She has public spaces ideally suited for small group lectures to full ship briefings. The bar or the lounge are great places to have a drink and take in the scenery, and the library provides a spot to relax or catch up on some reading. The Ioffe and her sister ship, the Akademik Vavilov are two of the most stable, advanced vessels in the expedition cruise business.
- Guests: 96
- Staff & Crew: 65
- Length: 117 m
- Breadth: 18.2 m
- Draft: 6 m
- Propulsion: 5,000 KW diesel twin engine
- Ice Class: Lloyds 1A
- Hull Classification: Ice Strengthened
- Cruising Speed: 13.5 knots in open water/ Max Speed: 14.5 knots
- Electrical Supply: 220 volts/ European pin
- Registered: Russia
- Zodiac boats: 10
Cabins & Amenities
- All cabins have exterior views
- Cabins have either shared, semi-private or private facilities (see deck plan)
- One dining room with unreserved seating
- Theater-style presentation room
- Lounge and bar with 180-degree views, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits
- Library with excellent outdoor viewing and a collection of polar-themed books
- Ship-to-shore communications via satellite
- Clinic with licensed doctor
- Gym, sauna and swimming pool
- Wellness centre with registered massage therapist, fitness trainer and yoga instructor (on selected departures)
- One elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level
Join us on the Bridge
There is an open-bridge policy and guests are welcome to meet the navigating crew at virtually any time of day; there’s always something to learn from the officers on watch and the bridge is one of the best places on the ship for spotting whales and sea birds.
An expedition gear package is included
An expedition cruise requires a fair bit of planning and some special items of clothing and equipment are needed. You will have use of an expedition wet weather gear package free of charge, which includes a quality waterproof/windproof jacket and bib-pants as well as insulated, comfortable rubber boots designed for extended walking. A set of expedition binoculars and a walking pole are also available for the duration of your voyage. This saves you buying expensive items you may only ever use once and eliminates the need to carry such cumbersome gear all the way to the ship. If you do have your own gear, of course you are welcome to bring it. Make sure it is wind and waterproof. If you have questions about gear, feel free to ask.
- Camping is offered free of charge to all passengers.
- Photography – Free of Charge
- Kayaking – $795
- Rates are per person, based on twin-share.
- The Single supplement is 1.5x the published twin rate for twin-semi private, twin private and superior cabins. Single supplement is 2x the published twin rate for suites. Single supplement is not available in triple cabins. No single supplement applies for passengers willing to share.
- Voyages commencing/ending in Stanley (Falkland Islands) or King George Island (Antarctica) include flights from Punta Arenas (Chile).
- Voyages ending in King George Island (Antarctica) include one night hotel accommodation in Punta Arenas at the end of the trip.
- Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.
- All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.
Costs for standard adventure options:
- Photography – Free of charge
- Snowshoeing – Free of charge
- Camping – Free of charge [Please note – camping is less likely to happen on the longer voyage to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica itinerary or on March voyages.]
- Kayaking (must be pre-booked, maximum 16 participants) – $795.
Costs for Off the Beaten Track adventure options (must be pre-booked):
- Standard Kayaking (maximum 16 participants) – $795
- Overnight Kayaking – Additional $300 add-on to standard kayaking program (maximum 6, minimum 4 participants)
- Ski Touring (maximum 16, minimum 6 participants) – $750
- Expedition Snowshoeing (maximum 12 participants) – free
- Expedition Field Photography (maximum 18 participants) – $45.
- Additional options (No pre-booking/no fee): Overnight Camping, Hiking, Classic Snowshoeing.
Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.