Home » RCGS Resolute: South Baffin Explorer – Art, Culture & Wildlife
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.
Duration: 11 Days
Depart Ottawa this morning on our scheduled flight to Iqaluit, the provincial 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.
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 on-board 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.
The tiny community of Kimmirt 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, jewellery 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. There are some great sea kayaking opportunities in this area and our guides will be keen to head out for a paddle.
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.
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.
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.
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 characterised 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.
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 seal 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.
To the north of Aktapatok, 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.
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.
|30 Jul 2019 - 09 Aug 2019||$11933 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$11933 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|Twin Private Cabin||$15366 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|Superior Cabin||$17306 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|Superior Plus Cabin||$17754 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|Shackleton Suite||$20142 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
|One Ocean Suite||$22679 AUD||Receive US$2000 travel credit|
Located on Deck 3, two single beds, sofa lounge (that can convert into an additional single bed), writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities and flat screen entertainment system.
Located on Deck 4, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge adjacent to a large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment.
Located on Deck 5, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge adjacent to a large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment.
Located on Deck 5, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge, large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment system.
Located on Deck 6, two single beds or queen bed, sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, washroom facilities with shower, flat screen entertainment system, upgraded linens and pillows.
Situated on Deck 6, queen size bed, upgraded linens and pillows, comfortable sectional lounge with club chairs, large desk, expansive floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, spacious washroom facilities with shower and bathtub and flat screen entertainment system.
*Expedition gear package
Included in the expedition, you will have free use of essential gears needed for the trip. This package includes quality waterproof/windproof jacket, insulated rubber boots, and a set of binoculars. .