Classic Northwest Passage & Baffin Island

  • days: 13
  • from US$10,795

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International Flights Not Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Canada

Description

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

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 Lights

Follow 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 explorers

Wildlife 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!

One-Ocean-Included-Kit-200-px

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.

Itinerary

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

We recommend extra nights pre/post tour

Info-Icon

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.

Inclusions

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

One-Ocean-Included-Kit-390

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

Dates & Prices

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Dates & Prices

CHARTER FLIGHTS ARE NOT INCLUDED

Please note that Charter flights are not included in the below cabin costs. These will be added to your booking at a cost of US$1995.00pp.

CANADIAN GST (5%) NOT INCLUDED

Canadian GST of 5% is required to be added to Canadian domestic itineraries such as this tour. This will be added to your cruise cabin, charter flights, optional sea kayaking, pre and / or post tour accommodation at time of confirmation.

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
20/08/19 01/09/19 $1,000 US$10,795 On Request  
Valid From: This tour does not include flights from Australia. Please contact our office for the latest special fares to match your independent tour.
Other departure cities:
Tips: Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $12-$15pp US per day
Taxes:
Single supplement:

Single Travellers Please Note:

  • No single supplement is required if you are happy to share. You would be matched up with a fellow expeditioner of the same gender. If there is no-one suitable to share the cabin you will have sole use of the cabin at no extra cost.
  • If you prefer exclusive use of the cabin a single supplement would apply which is 1.5 x the cabin price or 2 x cabin price for suites.
  • Triple share cabins are also available for single travellers on a limited basis.

Please Note: Cabin upgrades and itinerary length variations may be available, please contact Bunnik Tours for more details.

Optional Tours

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

ON BOARD CRUISE SHIP

Sea kayaking - $695.00pp US

Sea kayaking allows you to experience another side of the Arctic and highly professional guides will introduce you to a slower paced, quieter polar experience. Kayak excursions are offered whenever weather conditions permit and you can expect to get out around six or seven times over the course of your voyage, for periods up to three or four hours. The programme is directed at any passenger with an adventurous spirit and a some previous paddling experience.

Please note: This optional MUST be reserved at the time of booking and attracts an additional charge of $695 US per participant. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous paddling experience. Ask us for a copy of this document if you are interested in the sea kayaking programme.

Fitness to Travel

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Accommodation

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Accommodation

Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

One Ocean Navigator (Akademik Ioffe)

Designed for polar research, the One Ocean Navigator (Akademik Ioffe) is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge. Enjoy the sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team in our dining room, which can host all guests in a single seating with ample room.  Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and plunge pool.

One Ocean: Ship overview | Cabin types available

Visa Information

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Visa Requirements

Passport-AU2

Please note, Australian passport holders need to obtain a visa waiver for this tour. Please check with your travel agent for further details.

Important note: If you are travelling via the United States to get to Canada, including if only in transit, you will also need to obtain a visa waiver for the United States. 

The following government websites are also a handy source of general information.

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Special Experiences

  • Enjoy time Polar bear spotting
  • Look out for Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights!
  • Marvel at magnificent Icebergs
  • Visit historic locations of early Arctic exploration
  • Experience the culture of remote Inuit communities
  • View pristine Arctic scenery with endless photographic opportunities
  • Search for wildlife including walrus, grizzly bears, rich bird life and more.

Trip Info

Group Size

Transportation

Polar Expedition ship

Tips

Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $12-$15pp US per day

Tour Highlights

Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The ship's Captain and Expedition Leader will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife

View Tour Map