South Baffin Explorer - Art, Culture & Wildlife

11 days
from
£6,500
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Trip code: 
POL
Activity:
Polar
Max group size:
146
Min age:
18

Experience Inuit culture, witness epic scenery and enjoy abundant wildlife

All over the world, for countless millennia, indigenous people have expressed their unique cultural heritage through art, keeping precious folklore, stories and traditions alive, so they might be handed down from one generation to the next. Since the mid-1980s with the establishment of numerous art co-operatives in the North, there has been a concerted effort to preserve and promote the beautiful and distinctive sculptures and artworks created by the Inuit people on Baffin Island, many of which are inspired by - and reflect – the wild and craggy environment in which they live and work.

Numerous fissures and fjords indent the southern coastline of this substantial island (the fifth largest in the world), which also boasts a mountainous backbone containing peaks up to 2000 metres in height. Waters flow from the Atlantic into the vast expanse of Hudson Bay, passing through the Hudson Strait, which separates southern Baffin Island from northern Quebec. The waters are rich in marine life and support a staggering abundance of Arctic wildlife. Some of the largest bird colonies on Earth can be found here and several sites are estimated to be home to more than a million nesting birds in the summer months.

This expedition offers a chance to explore the spectacular land and seascapes of the Canadian Arctic. Observe an outstanding variety of marine birdlife and sea mammals and take time to visit indigenous art galleries that showcase the talents of these remote peoples, whose rich output is a major focus of this highly unique and engaging expedition.

Highlights

  • View and experience the rich artistic output of Canada's indigenous Inuit artists
  • Explore spectacular fjords and fi ssures of southern Baffin Island and Hudson Strait
  • Enjoy close-up encounters with sea mammals and many bird species
  • Travel on a small expedition vessel
  • Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

  • 10 nights on the ship
  • Expedition cruising in comfortable conditions
  • Countries visited: Canada, Arctic

What's included

  • All meals while on the ship
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Mandatory tranfer package (including charter flights from Ottawa to Iqualuit return which is £1450 per person (or equivalent in booking currency) paid upon booking
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Polar Bear, Canadian Artic

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly from Ottawa, Ontario to Iqualuit, Baffin Island and embark

    We depart Ottawa this morning on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, capital of Nunavut, situated on the south-eastern coast of Baffin Island. Upon arrival we enjoy a walking tour of this historic settlement before boarding our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute, 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 regions on Earth.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Monumental Island, Frobisher Bay

    Located in the Davis Strait, the rocky dome of Monumental Island can be clearly seen as we approach. We travel by zodiac to explore the rocky shoreline and hope to encounter Polar bears in this vicinity. In good weather a complete circumnavigation of the island is possible, and we should see our first large icebergs as they drift south towards Labrador and Newfoundland on the currents of the Davis Strait. Walruses have also been encountered in this area, so we keep a close look out on the shoreline for this iconic species. Over the next few days, and throughout the voyage, our onboard experts educate and entertain us with a series of presentations about Inuit culture and traditions, as well as the environment, wildlife and history of Baffin Island.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Kimmirut

    The tiny community of Kimmirut is home to just 400 people and was once a Hudson’s Bay Company Trading post. A particular focus of our visit is the local art scene and after cruising into a narrow channel we travel ashore by zodiac, where we enjoy a warm welcome from the locals. This community is well known for its arts and crafts including stone carvings, sealskin clothing, jewelry and fine bead work among other items. Many of Kimmirut's residents are renowned carvers whose art is collected worldwide. The small Soper Gallery is housed in an old wooden cottage and run by the Quliruakut Arts and Crafts Society. But it’s not all art: among the animals native to the area are caribou, Arctic wolves, walruses, seals, Arctic hare, and whales, as well as numerous bird species including Peregrine falcons, ptarmigan, Snow bunting and Snowy owls. 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 4-5

    Cape Dorset

    Cape Dorset offers so much for visitors, no matter what their interest, and two-days allows time for a thorough exploration of the hamlet and surrounding areas. The community is home to more than 1,300 residents and is Baffin Island’s best-known art centre, referred to as the ‘Capital of Inuit Art’, with almost a quarter of the hamlet's residents actively engaged in the visual arts. Much of their artwork reflects the wilderness and environment of Baffin Island, with objects such as whales, Narwhals, seals, walruses, bears, wolves, foxes and more providing a focus for artistic expression. These artworks reflect the deep connection the Inuit people have to one another, past generations, the land and nature, as well as a spiritual connection to the Earth. The celebrated Art Co-operative is the best place to view these striking works and observe the artists at work.

    Cape Dorset is also blessed with superb Arctic landscapes, home to migratory caribou, seabirds, whales, seals and walruses which can be found in the vicinity. There are some excellent hiking opportunities through rolling hills to secluded waterfalls and lakes, providing great views and chances to observe the local wildlife or watch ice floes drift slowly by.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Walrus Island & Coral Harbour

    During the night we sail into the western reaches of Hudson Strait and today promises some exciting excursions. A zodiac cruise at the small outcrop of Walrus Island allows a close encounter with these fascinating animals. Returning to the ship we make our way north to the small hamlet of Coral Harbour, situated on Southampton Island. This area has a fascinating history. In more recent times, early whalers plied the nearby waters hunting for Bowhead whales and in the 1920s, the Hudson's Bay Company established an outpost here.

    Today the island is an important migratory bird flyway, visited by species including the Common eider and Lesser Snow goose. ptarmigans, Snowy owls, Peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons are also spotted in this vicinity. On land, caribou are abundant and both the Red fox and Arctic fox are sometimes spotted. The hamlet is also known for the production of intricate wall hangings, each telling a unique visual story.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Digges Islands, Cape Wolstenholme & Erik Cove

    Located at the north-western tip of the Ungava Peninsula, the Digges Islands mark the juncture of the Hudson Strait and north-eastern Hudson Bay, and their rocky cliffs are ideal for seabirds. Just to the east is the headland at Cape Wolstenholme, located at the most northerly point of the Province of Quebec. Here the cliffs soar to some 300 metres and are home to one of the largest colonies of Thick-billed murres on Earth. There are also a number of walrus colonies in the area. Polar bears can be found throughout this region and we will hope to encounter them from a safe distance while cruising in the zodiacs. We continue sailing east, around the northern tip of Quebec, and enter the very remote Erik Cove for an afternoon excursion. The remnants of a Hudson's Bay Company store lie on the southern shore and we enjoy a walk with our guides along the waterfront, soaking up the beautiful scenery and learning something of the area’s early history.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    Shaftesbury Inlet

    During the night we sail north-east across the Hudson Strait and this morning we find ourselves once again on the southern shores of Baffin Island. Shaftesbury Inlet is a narrow and strikingly beautiful fjord and we’ll likely be on deck as the Captain navigates our ship into this narrow channel. This inlet is characterized by steep shorelines and high tides, with tide height changing as much as 10 - 12 metres daily. We will plan to visit ashore at the mouth of a small river and hike up the river valley, eventually reaching a lake. This is a wonderful place to get out and stretch our legs as our naturalists and guides share their love of the Arctic with you.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Akpatok Island & Lower Savage Islands

    Akpatok Island is a large uninhabited island situated in Ungava Bay, off Quebec's northern coastline. Ringed by steep cliffs, it is home to a staggering abundance of birdlife. Thick-billed murre, Black guillemot, Glaucous gulls and Peregrine falcon all nest here. It's also a well-known location for walruses and Polar bears, the latter often observed climbing the steep cliffs. Ice floes often surround parts of the island, and these attract both seals and walruses, making this a popular hunting ground for Polar bears. In the late summer the bears retreat to the land, scavenging whatever protein source they can find, until the ice re-forms, and the more abundant food sources return. The island has historically been a traditional hunting ground for Inuit people, also attracted by walruses, Polar bears and whales. We plan to cruise along the shore line in zodiacs, allowing close-up views of the huge numbers of birds nesting on the cliffs, and we’ll hopefully spot some Polar bears scouting the landscape.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Lower Savage Islands

    To the north of Akpatok, the extraordinary Lower Savage Islands are bisected by narrow channels that provide spectacular zodiac cruising opportunities. The islands are ideally situated between the dynamic flow of the Hudson Strait, and this mixing of nutrient rich waters makes for a diversity of marine life. We rejoin our ship on the other side of the island group and tonight, as we near the end of our journey, we enjoy an entertaining voyage recap from the Expedition Leader. We celebrate with a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on the culture, art and landscapes of this inimitable region.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Disembark Iqualuit, Nunavut and fly to Ottawa, Ontario

    This morning we find ourselves anchored off Iqaluit. We say goodbye to our crew, make our way ashore in zodiacs and are then transferred to the airport for our scheduled flight to Ottawa. On arrival in Ottawa our journey comes to an end. A transfer is provided to a downtown location.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Group Information

The RCGS Resolute takes a maximum capacity of 146 passengers. The Exodus group forms part of the ship’s complement, enjoying the relaxed, intimate and informal atmosphere, which breaks into smaller groups to facilitate the frequent excursions. We offer these cruises in conjunction with One Ocean Expeditions, and Exodus participants will join an international group, not all of whom have booked through Exodus. Occasionally some of these may be younger than 18 years old, the Exodus' stated minimum age for this trip.

Visas

Canada

The Government of Canada has an entry requirement, known as an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), for some international travellers flying into Canada. Citizens from countries other than the US who do not require a visa to enter Canada are required to obtain an eTA before entering the country. Eligible travellers will need to go online to apply for their eTA.

To apply for your eTA you will need your passport, credit or debit card and an email address. At the time of publication there was a CAD$7 fee to process your eTA. Your eTA will be valid for a period of five years, or until your passport expires. We recommend you carry a print out of your eTA approval when you travel. Please visit www.canada.ca/eTA to apply.

If you have not applied for and received authorisation via an eTA prior to travel you may be denied boarding, experience a delayed processing or be denied admission at the Canadian point of entry. However, neither possession of a visa nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visafree on the eTA, guarantees admission to Canada. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the point of entry.

Arctic

No visa required for British passport holders.

Vaccinations

Canada

There are no specific health risks.

Arctic

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included.

Typical Meals

The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale.

Breakfast: Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal.

Lunch: Three course set meal or buffet, or the occasional BBQ.

Dinner: Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions

The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers’ wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere onboard is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet / mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure.

On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are ‘wet’ which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers).

There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar.

Optional activities

On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below.

Sea kayaking option

On many of our voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.

Basic kayak competence is required. You will need to complete a special questionnaire outlining your previous kayaking experience – please ask for a copy of this document if you are interested in joining the sea kayaking program.

Polar Itineraries

All Polar itineraries should be treated as a guide only - it is possible that, amongst other things, the capricious nature of wind, visibility and ice, intelligence from previous sailings, changes in local landing regulations or the expert opinion of the crew onboard may lead to adjustments to the route published.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

RCGS Resolute

The South Baffin Explorer - Art, Culture & Wildlife voyage is offered on the RCGS Resolute which is a Polar Adventure Ship.  Designed for comfort, RCGS Resolute is modern, well appointed, safe and ice-strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, she has public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. Two separate bar and lounge areas featuring 180-degree views and a wonderfully stocked library provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in either of our two dining rooms, one of which features our popular bistro menu offering quick and easy meals for those prioritizing time out on deck. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180-degree views. Other facilities include our theatre-style presentation room, gift-shop, gymnasium, wellness centre, hot water spa, sauna and steam room and salt water pool.

Polar Adventure Ships

These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

As another year flies past, it’s time for us to ask ourselves one simple question: where next?

Be the first to post your review! If you have recently returned from an Exodus adventure and want to help other travellers with your feedback then simply use the link below to post your holiday review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Please contact our specialist Polar sales team on 020 8003 9957 or at [email protected] for further dates and prices

Polar Ships: For information regarding ship specifications, visit the Polar Fleet page.

 

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Call us on 020 8772 3936