"8 Days in Canada's Arctic" Baffin Island by windsorgirl

Baffin Island Travel Guide: 22 reviews and 104 photos

Baffin Island in the Territory of Nunavut

A Few Facts
Nunavut is Canada's newest territory and it's largest. It is one fifth of Canada. It was created by severing the Northwest Territories into two in April 1999. Nunavut lies to the east of the Northwest Territories and comprises mostly of islands in the Arctic Ocean. There are approximately 29,000 people living in Nunavut, scattered among 26 settlements. Baffin Island is one of the largest islands in Nunavut, one and a half the size of Germany with a population of only 20,000!

Why the Arctic?
Since most of my previous travels have been to tropical destinations, it didn't take much convincing to get me to join a cruise of the Canadian Arctic. And, it just so happened that this was the inaugural voyage for Cruise North Expeditions. Cruise North is a new endeavour to bring more tourists to the Baffin region and improve the economy for the local Inuit who live there. It is hoped that in the future, the cruise ship will be staffed by mostly Inuit.

Our staff, however and the ship itself, all travelled up from Argentina and Chile. The MV Ushuaia runs tours of the Antarctic from November to January. It was a five week journey from the Antarctic to the Arctic. I was very satisfied with the services and staff aboard the ship.

Ice Bergs and Polar Bears

Our cruise was 8 days and we were given a very ambitious itinerary. Due to the tides and heavy ice coverage on Ungava Bay, we were delayed twice and our itinerary was cut in half. Personally, I didn't mind, I think we still had a great Arctic experience and if we hadn't encountered ice in the Arctic, I may have been disappointed!

You can read my travelogue for the complete itinerary, delays and all!

Arctic vs. Antarctic

Many people are travelling to the Antarctic these days, but for those of us that live in the Northern Hemisphere, it is much more accessible to visit the Arctic instead. We had only a short 2hr flight from Montreal to Kuujjuaq and the start of our trip. If you are prone to seasickness, you won't have to endure the 36 hour crossing of the notoriously rough Drake Passage either. And, last but not least, you won't find Polar Bears in Antarctica!

By far, the highlight of the trip for me, was this close encounter with a very curious polar bear. Every other bear that we encountered headed for the hills at first sight or smell of us, but not this one. All five zodiacs were able to pull up close enough for a good view and great photos.

  • Last visit to Baffin Island: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (32)

  • thegreynomad's Profile Photo
    Feb 10, 2010 at 2:31 AM

    What an incredible experience this would have been.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2008 at 2:56 AM

    That would be a great adventure to go there! Very attracting for nature lovers!

  • johncudw's Profile Photo
    Dec 28, 2007 at 9:10 PM

    Good to see your tips on Baffin Island. Is that above the Arctic Circle? how cold does it get in January up there? Must be hard to live up there in the winter.

  • Eish's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2007 at 3:37 AM

    Really enjoyed your travelogues and tips. We are looking for a really off-the-beaten-track destination from Toronto. This looks like we could have found it!

  • sennaya's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2007 at 4:14 AM

    I adore sculpture and this piece of ice really looks like fine art work.

  • TRAVELBUDDYinFLORIDA's Profile Photo
    Mar 8, 2007 at 1:12 PM

    Greeting from Florida! Thnak you for the information on your Arctic Explorer cruise!!! Wes

  • kokoryko's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2006 at 1:21 PM

    WOW! Superb pictures and very interesting tips! I guess it is not easy to do this without tour-operator! But I think of that sort of trip anyway. Thanks for sharing.

  • Babzz's Profile Photo
    Nov 15, 2006 at 7:28 AM

    Terrific page, excellent tips, must venture up some day myself :)

  • jungles's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2006 at 12:31 PM

    Sounds like an amazing trip. Polar bears are definitely a big plus in favour of the Arctic over the Antarctic.

  • Escadora7's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2006 at 12:21 PM

    WHOW! Nice pictures and tips! Arctic cruise is definitely on our to-do list. Thanks for sharing! Best wishes, Ash & Eve


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