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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights
This tour takes us above the Arctic Circle to the tiny Inuit hamlet of Igloolik, located between the Canadian mainland and Baffin Island, on a small island in the Arctic Ocean. We’ll be boating through calm waters of Foxe Basin where walruses and bowhead whales come to hunt during the summer months. Our day-by-day itinerary will vary depending on weather and ocean conditions, adding a spice of serendipity to an already exceptional adventure. When we’re not on boats, we’ll discover 4,000 years of Inuit history on fascinating hikes around the island.
All nights will be spent at our hotel in Igloolik.
This extraordinary Baffin Island Walrus & Bowhead whale watching tour begins at Igloolik, in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut. You can choose to arrive on flights from Ottawa (via Iqaluit) or directly from Pond Inlet if you’re connecting this t...)
This extraordinary Baffin Island Walrus & Bowhead whale watching tour begins at Igloolik, in Canada’s northern territory of Nunavut. You can choose to arrive on flights from Ottawa (via Iqaluit) or directly from Pond Inlet if you’re connecting this tour to our Baffin Island Floe Edge: Narwhals & Polar Bears tour. Meet your expert guide for an evening meal to discuss our upcoming adventure. After dinner, join us for a nice walk with our local guides around the community of Igloolik. The midnight sun gives us 24-hours of daylight to explore this distant corner of the world!
For the next 5 days, enjoy intriguing boat rides on Foxe Basin, known for being one of the most nutrient-rich waterways in the Canadian Arctic. The Basin is coated in a layer of ice for most of the year, but as summer approaches the ice starts to bre...)
For the next 5 days, enjoy intriguing boat rides on Foxe Basin, known for being one of the most nutrient-rich waterways in the Canadian Arctic. The Basin is coated in a layer of ice for most of the year, but as summer approaches the ice starts to break up and marine mammals arrive to feed. That said, this gives us an unparalleled opportunity to spot enigmatic walruses and one of the world’s rarest giants, bowhead whales.
Each day, we’ll board a boat and sail along the ice edge in search of these elusive Arctic animals. The local know-how of Inuit people will help us find the best places to see marine mammals as close as possible.
Distinguished by their long tusks, Atlantic walruses are highly sociable and full of surprises. While these flippered creatures might look like slow-movers on land, don’t be fooled! Walruses are remarkable swimmers and can easily reach speeds of up to 35 km/h (~22 mi/h) underwater. Weighing up to 900 kg (~2000 lbs), they are generally found on the sea ice from which they forage for clams.
Interestingly, walruses use their highly sensitive whiskers to detect prey in dark waters. Yet it seems they prefer resting and sunbathing in groups on the packed ice rather than hunting. To spot these gentlemen huddle in groups is an experience beyond compare!
As we continue with our journey, be prepared to be awestruck by one of the Arctic’s most stunning natural wonders, the floe edge. This natural phenomenon marks the boundary where the fixed fast ice meets the open water. We’ll travel along the floe edge for great encounters with enormous bowhead whales.
Bowhead whales are one of a few whale species that live their whole lives in the harsh environment of the Arctic. The abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton along the floe edge draws these majestic giants to Foxe Basin at this time of year. As they lack dorsal fins, they are able to swim underneath the ice and find small holes for breathing. If we’re lucky enough, we might even catch a glimpse of this maneuver in action!
This magnificent whale is 90,000 kg (~99 US ton) weight and 15 m (50 ft) long and holds the record of the largest mouth in the world. The other fascinating fact about bowhead whales is their remarkable lifespan. They have a very slow metabolism that allows them to live for more than 200 years. This sophisticated adaptation makes bowhead whales the longest-living mammals on Earth.
Unfortunately, commercial whaling has significantly reduced the population of these creatures. Today they’re listed as an endangered species but recently have been showing the green shoots of recovery. To spot this giant leaping out of the water is a once-in-a-lifetime moment that you'll never forget! After all, what better place to feel the sheer power of wildlife than on the edge of the world?
For even more adventure, the surrounding area of Igloolik offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy awe-inspiring views of other wild animals. Ringed and bearded seals are common visitors that will make you smile. These elusive animals live on floating ice, always prepared to quickly escape predators such as killer whales (orcas). Orcas have even been known to hunt juvenile bowhead whales!
As we traverse the Arctic landscape, take your binoculars out to admire a wide variety of northern birds. Over the water's surface, we’re likely to view King and Common Eiders, Black Guillemots, Long-tailed Ducks, and Snow Geese. Keep your eyes peeled for nesting Brant, Red Phalarope, Arctic Tern, Sabine’s Gulls, and many, many, more on the small islands in Foxe Basin.
Polar bears - also known as the Kings of the Arctic - aren't often found in this area but there is a tiny chance we could see one. This just adds a fascinating element of serendipity to our tour!
While we're not adventuring in the wilderness, we’ll explore archaeological sites of Igloolik, get to know Inuit people and their rich culture. For centuries, Inuits have lived isolated in some of the world's harshest conditions, which forged them into skilled hunters and survivalists. Get to know this ancient culture, still deeply rooted in hunting traditions.
This is the final day of our Baffin Island Walrus & Bowhead Whales tour. We transfer to Igloolik airport to catch our flight back to Ottawa via Iqaluit. Our estimated time of arrival is about 17:00 (5 p.m.). It's time to say our goodbyes here and hea...)
This is the final day of our Baffin Island Walrus & Bowhead Whales tour. We transfer to Igloolik airport to catch our flight back to Ottawa via Iqaluit. Our estimated time of arrival is about 17:00 (5 p.m.). It's time to say our goodbyes here and head home with a bagful of unforgettable memories. Until next time!
Although generally, the weather during the Arctic summer is mild, you should be prepared for any kind of weather. Do make sure to bring warm and comfortable clothes. A recommended packing list will be provided upon booking. Children four years old...)
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