We bid farewell to our crew and disembark the mighty Ioffe.
With some time to spare before heading to the airport we explored this town known for its ice-capped mountains and tundra valleys, home to caribou and Arctic foxes. We learnt of the ancient Thule people and the lives of the Inuit. What an incredible journey…..a trip we will always hold close to our hearts!
Today we sail across the mouth of Frobisher Bay and hit the coast of Baffin Island. Steep sided outcrop….we zodiac into the Charles Francis Hall Bay to try our luck sighting more polar bears and walrus. No such luck, however we did find these beautiful chunks of iceberg resting on the shore and floating through the bay. Tonight we sail to Iqaluit where we will finish our sailing!
TODAY was an exceptional highlight!
We reached the Button Islands which are in the middle of an upwelling of nutrients on the edge of the continental shelf. This action makes it a magnet for thousands of seabirds, seals and POLAR BEARS! One of our coldest days yet…this fact was soon forgotten when we experienced this incredible polar bear encounter during standing hibernation…just breathtaking! With over 9 sightings in the area, this guy really was something special. Probably only weeks off the ice, he was healthy and strong……..such an amazing marine mammal!
Well acquainted to ship life now…we spend a full day in the mountains on zodiacs exploring this rugged coastline. Nachvak Fjord is exceptionally beautiful, the rocky walls soar almost 900 metres.
Minke whales took our breath away this morning with a curious swim encounter right under our Zodiac.
Polar bears, caribou and whales…what a way to start the morning as we approach the Majestic Fjords of the Incredible Torngat Mountains National Park. Photos cannot do these ancient glacier carved mountains justice. Our first glimpse of the park sailing in on the Ioffe, just breathtaking! The park was established in 2005 and covers almost 10,000 sq kilometers of Northern Labrador. You can understand why we were exploring such untouched land while hiking.
These mountains represent a very spiritual connection to the Inuit spirit world. Inuit continue to use this area for hunting and fishing and travel throughout the park during the year.
And to top the day off, we finished with a BBQ on the stern while watching the sun set behind us!
“Today was all about being cool! Temperatures have dropped and we hit the ice flow from Greenland. Icebergs galore! My first time up close with these beautiful, magnificent, ancient blocks of ice. What a sight!” – Karen
Combined with a day of history, we visited the town of Hebron. Once the northernmost settlement in Labrador. The Moravian missionaries established Hebron in the early 1830’s and the Germanic influence is clearly seen in the architecture. The mission was closed and the local Inuit families relocated in 1959. It is designated a National Historic Site and is considered one of the most historically significant mission-built structures in the entire province.
The ancient rocks of the Canadian Shield cradle the small coastal hamlet of Hopedale. We sailed through narrow channels around this remarkable geological feature, estimated to be up to 4-million-years-old, and saw our first iceberg!
Venturing ashore by zodiac we visited the Hopedale Moravian Mission – designated as a National Historic Site, built in 1782, and said to be the oldest building east of Quebec. We visited the local museum to gain deeper insight into Inuit culture and were able to see their incredible carvings and crafts.
It was cold and chilly but that didn’t stop us from getting to the gang way to visit beautiful Battle Harbor, marking our arrival in Labrador!
The location was one of the first British settlements on the east coast of the Americas and was an important gateway to the rich Labrador fisheries. We explored the restored fishing, whaling and commercial buildings found in this remote community. Taking in it’s breathtaking coastal views and colorful buildings.
Photo credit: Kevin Johnston & Karen Schulz