Baffin Island and Greenland – Jewel of the High Arctic

Ioffe Cruise Ship
96 Passengers
Adventure Options

Baffin Island is one of the last great wilderness regions on the planet and the focus of this outstanding expedition. From Iqaluit, situated at the head of Frobisher Bay, we explore up the wild east coast of Baffin Island discovering the deep fjords, soaring mountains and immense glacial systems.

Moving towards the southwestern coast of Greenland – the world’s largest island, we will come across colorful houses and buildings that dot the sparsely vegetated landscape. Daily excursions are plentiful; exploring in the Zodiac boats to witness glaciers and icebergs, observing wildlife, and strolling through the colorful villages or stretching our legs on longer hikes.

Visits to remote Inuit communities provide a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of the people who call this remote wilderness their home. A highlight will be a visit to Beechey Island, the final resting place for some of the men of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in 1845-46. This remote and desolate place is home to several small grave markers, which we see on our shore excursion.

We eventually reach the remote town of Resolute where our adventure comes to an end. This is small ship expedition cruising at its best.

Expedition Highlights
• Glaciated scenery, deep fjords, superb national parks and exciting ice navigation
• Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, on Zodiac cruises and from the ship
• Historic locations of early Arctic exploration
• Cultural interaction and understanding through visits to remote Inuit communities

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Iqaluit (Nunavut)
Day 2 Monumental Island, Frobisher Bay
Day 3 Cape Mercy
Day 4 At Sea - Davis Strait
Day 5 Sisimiut, Greenland
Day 6 Ilulissat, Disko Bay, Greenland
Day 7 Uummannaq & Qilaqitsoq, Greenland
Day 8 At Sea - Baffin Bay
Day 9 Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Baffin Island
Day 10 Dundas Harbor and Croker Bay
Day 11 Prince Leopold Island
Day 12 Beechey Island
Day 13 Resolute, Nunavut to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Day 1 — Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Iqaluit (Nunavut)

We depart Ottawa this morning on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, situated on Baffin Island. Upon arrival into Iqaluit we enjoy a walking tour of the town and board our expedition ship, the Akademik Ioffe in the afternoon. After settling into 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 to explore one of the most remote places on Earth – Baffin Island.

Day 2 — Monumental Island, Frobisher Bay

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 is possible. We should see our first large icebergs drifting southward towards Labrador and Newfoundland on the currents of the Davis Strait. Throughout the coming days and rest of the voyage, our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of Baffin Island and the Canadian Arctic and the locations we plan to visit.

Days 3 — Cape Mercy

Today we approach the northern entrance to the Cumberland sound – a headland known as Cape Mercy. The region is lined with outstanding cliffs and offers a wonderful hike along the shoreline ridges. Be on the lookout for icebergs and wildlife as large deposits of ice receding from Baffin Bay float by. During the summer months, this area is often frequented by polar bears coming ashore. Time on the water by Zodiac and Kayak will allow for further exploration and if we are in luck we may encounter whales and seals.

Day 4 — At Sea - Davis Strait

We awaken to the vast expanse of the Davis Strait, which separates Greenland from Canada. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. This is an important migration corridor for birds and whales, and we keep our eyes out for signs of wildlife from the outer decks. Large icebergs of all shapes drift on the currents of the Davis Strait and while these won't be your first iceberg sightings, seeing them in open water is an impressive sight. Be sure to visit the ship’s bridge and watch the captain and officers navigate our modern expedition ship. Enjoy the wonderful facilities onboard the ship, spend time with the photography guide or relax with a book or your journal.

Day 5 — Sisimiut, Greenland

We will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore to explore this beautiful location. Characterized by colorful local houses, the town features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘Eskimo rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. A small museum is another interesting diversion.

Day 6 — Ilulissat, Disko Bay, Greenland

For many, today is a highlight of the voyage. Truly one of the wonders of the world, the Jacobshavn Icefjord – a UNESCO World Heritage site - spews gigantic tabular icebergs out into Disko Bay. The glacier that creates these stunning monoliths advances at over 130 ft (40 m) per day, creating around 12 cubic mi (50 cubic km) of ice annually. Our approach to Ilulissat is always dependent on the amount of ice in and around the mouth of the fjord. Our captain and officers are skilled ice navigators and our ship has one of the highest ice ratings of any vessel exploring Arctic waters.

Day 7 — Uummannaq & Qilaqitsoq, Greenland

Uummannaq is the eleventh largest town in central-western Greenland and is a base for hunting and fishing. Its picturesque, colorful houses sit at the base of the towering Uummannaq mountain. It is also rumored to be the home of Santa Claus! In the 70s the town came to the world’s attention for a very different reason – the discovery of ‘The Greenland Mummies’ – eight mummies (six women and two children) preserved naturally by the freezing temperatures. The mystery behind how these Inuit people from A.D. 1475 died perplexed scientists, as well as the reason why no males were also buried. Researchers were able to study the mummies as non-destructively as possible and found a number of interesting facts. We will visit the site of this fascinating discovery and learn more about how they lived and died.

Day 8 — At Sea - Baffin Bay

Our educational presentation series continues as we near the far north of Baffin Island. We enter a broad channel which is home to the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik. Mittimatalik is also the main access point to the pristine wilderness of Sirmilik National Park. This jewel in the crown of Canada's Arctic Park system features spectacular scenery consisting of rugged mountains, ice fields and glaciers, coastal lowlands and sizable seabird colonies. Even your widest angle camera lens will seem inadequate to capture the vast scenery.

Day 9 — Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Baffin Island

Having navigated Lancaster Sound, we sight the spectacular north coast of Baffin Island and navigate through Navy Board Inlet. The epic landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround us as we approach the remote Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet). We are welcomed ashore and a highlight will be a visit to the Natinnak Center, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the North. Inuit carvings, jewelry and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the local community.

Day 10 — Dundas Harbor and Croker Bay

Leaving the wild landscapes of Baffin Island, we cross Lancaster Sound to Devon Island. This broad channel of water 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 plan on visiting the old Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) outpost at Dundas Harbor. In the afternoon we reposition the ship into Crocker Bay, home to a substantial glacial system.

Day 11 — Prince Leopold Island

Prince Leopold Island is important migratory bird sanctuary, 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. Given the abundance of food found in the nutrient-rich waters here, we often sight beluga, narwhal and bowhead whales, several species of seal as well as polar bears.

Day 12 — Beechey Island

Our final shore landing - Beechey Island, is a place of great historic significance and a suitable finale to our expedition. 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. The mystery of what happened to Franklin was partially solved in September 2014, when a joint Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Geographical Society expedition, found the long-lost Franklin shipwreck, HMS Erebus in the Victoria Strait. Our ships played a vital role in the search by carrying underwater search equipment as well as scientists, historians, researchers, dignitaries and sponsors of this history-defining mission. A trip ashore at Beechey Island to visit the grave markers on a remote windswept beach, is a thrilling experience for history buffs and for many it will be a highlight of the expedition. We return to the ship and this evening enjoy a special dinner attended by the captain. It’s a great time to reflect on the wildlife, history and dramatic scenery of the High Arctic.

Day 13 — Resolute, Nunavut to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Our expedition comes to an end as we arrive into Resolute. The town is named after the British ship HMS Resolute which became trapped in ice and abandoned here in 1850 while searching for the lost Franklin expedition. A weather station and airstrip made Resolute a strategic outpost during the time of the Cold War. After arriving in Resolute we disembark the Akademik Ioffe and bid farewell to our crew and fellow passengers. We transfer to the airport for our flight south, to Edmonton. A transfer is also provided from the airport into a central downtown location.

Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable. 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 hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.

* Itinerary may be subject to change


   One Ocean Suite
Located on deck 5 this cabin is separated into two very spacious rooms. A spacious lounge area is perfect for relaxation and features a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, ample storage, plus large picture windows overlooking the bow (forward facing) that can be opened. The separate bedroom features a double bed with upgraded linen/ pillows, night light, and window over the port side of the ship. The bathroom has a bathtub and shower. There is also a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line and several arms chairs.
   Shackleton Suites
Located on decks 4 and 5 these cabins are separated into two spacious rooms, one that is ideal for relaxation with a sofa (convertible to bed), large table, writing desk, chair, ample storage and a large window that can be opened. A separate private bedroom has a double berth with upgraded linen/pillows, night light, private facilities, a region specific iPad, mini stereo, capsule coffee maker, fully stocked mini bar, iPod alarm clock with audio line.
   Superior Cabins
These very large cabins are located on deck 6, and feature two lower berths, a loveseat, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. All cabins have a window that can be opened. These cabins provide great access to the outer observation decks and ship’s bridge.
   Twin Private Cabins
Located on decks 4 and 5 these spacious, well-appointed cabins feature two lower berths, with private washroom facilities (sink, shower, toilet and bathroom cabinet). There are tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened.
   Twin Semi-Private Cabins
Located on deck 4 these cabins have two lower berths, one of which can be converted to a sofa during the day. These cabins have tall wardrobes with internal shelving for storage, a writing desk, chair, bookshelf, and a window that can be opened. Facilities are semi-private – meaning you share the washroom with the adjacent cabin.
   Main Deck Triple Cabins
Located on deck 3 these cabins feature two lower berths and one upper berth. One lower berth can be converted to a comfortable sofa during the day. Washroom facilities are shared. There is a washbasin in the cabin, a writing desk and chair and ample storage for all cabin occupants. These cabins are efficient and well-appointed with two portholes with the option to open one.


Cabin and Voyage Inclusions            
Outside View With Opening Porthole/Window
Complimentary use of Wet Weather Gear
Complimentary use of Wellington Boots
Complimentary use of Waterproof Backpack and Binoculars
Innovative Dream Sleep Package
100% Cotton Bathrobes
Custom Blend Natural Canadian Made Essential Oil Amenities
Custom Color Coordinated Canadian Made Linen Package
Black Out Curtains
Clock Radio with Media Connector
Desk with Chair
Complimentary Water Bottle
In-Room Coffee & Tea Station
In-Room Private Field Guide    
In-Room Private Reference Library      
In-Room Mini Bar        
In-Room iPad Preloaded With Reference And Fictional Content        
In-Room Single Brew Coffee System        
In-Room Mini Stereo        
Complimentary Welcome Package (Wine, Fruit Basket, Natural Snacks)        
Complimentary Field Guide to the High Arctic        
Early Morning Adventure Concierge Coffee Service