Home » Akademik Ioffe: Labrador and Torngat Explorer
Early Bird: Selected departures include a travel credit of US$500. Contact us today!
Discover the wild lands of Newfoundland & Labrador as we cruise through the western shores of Newfoundland passing by Gros Morne National Park and Torngat National Park. This amazing voyage links several fascinating historic locations on Canada's east coast exploring the remote bays and fjords of this spectacular wilderness while spotting amazing wildlife along the way including bears, seals, whales and migratory birds.
Duration: 11 Days
Our adventure begins in the historic port town of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. First visited in 1597 by the English, the town was fortified in 1713 by the French in recognition of its strategic maritime location. During the 18th century, Louisbourg was the third busiest seaport in North America. We board the ship in the late afternoon in time for a dinner of local lobster as we sail out past the lighthouse, into the North Atlantic and on to Newfoundland and Labrador.
This morning we are anchored off the tiny fishing community of Trout River, the access point into Gros Morne National Park. Our zodiacs take us ashore and we are transferred by bus for a visit to the World Heritage-listed Tablelands. This incredible location is notable for its unique geology and exceptional scenery. We explore the boreal wetland landscape, featuring dramatic rock ridges, pitcher plants, and white-throated sparrows. We might encounter the iconic moose as we explore the park. We re-board the ship in the afternoon and continue our voyage northwards.
Today tells a story a thousand years in the making. We board the zodiacs for a short cruise to the rocky shoreline. A millennium ago, Viking long-ships would have been found along this same beach. L’Anse aux Meadows is one of Canada’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is where Norseman, Leif Erikson, (son of Eric the Red) - is thought to have founded “Vinland” around 1000 AD. As we explore the reconstructed sod huts and Norse ruins with the site’s resident archaeologist, we see evidence that the Vikings discovered North America some five hundred years prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. This evening we leave the coastline of Newfoundland, crossing the Strait of Belle Isle overnight.
Battle Harbour marks 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 venture ashore to explore the restored fishing, whaling, commercial buildings found in this remote community. The colourful buildings make for fantastic photographic subjects amid the backdrop of breathtaking coastal views.
The ancient rocks of the Canadian Shield (the exposed portion of the Earth’s crust) cradle the small coastal hamlet of Hopedale. This remarkable geological feature, estimated to be up to 4 billion years old, greets us as we sail through narrow channels and weigh anchor off Hopedale. We venture ashore by zodiac to visit the Hopedale Moravian Mission which was built in 1782. It’s a fascinating place and we learn of the influence of the early Moravian missionaries on the Inuit people of Northern Labrador.
Today we enjoy a visit to the historic town of Hebron, once the northernmost settlement in Labrador. The Moravian missionaries established Hebron in the early 1830s and the Germanic influence is clearly seen in the architecture. The Mission was closed and the local Inuit families relocated in 1959, but the original buildings still stand today. This is another designated National Historic Site. We will hope to meet Buddy and Jenny, Nunatsiavut Government ambassadors, who have been looking after the historic site for years and have many absorbing stories to tell.
We will sail into Saglek Fjord, the southern gateway to the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve, established in 2005.
We are midway through our exploration of Labrador at this point and our attention turns from history – to the magnificent wilderness of the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve. The Park was established as recently as 2005 and covers almost 10,000 square kilometres of Northern Labrador. It is bordered by Quebec on one side, and the Labrador Coast on the other. It is home to Canada’s highest mountains east of the Rockies, and features breathtaking fjords, remnant glacial systems and stunning landscapes. The Inuktitut word Torngat means “place of spirits” and the Torngat Mountains have been home to Inuit and their predecessors for over 7500 years. These mountains represent a very spiritual connection to the Inuit spirit world. Polar bears hunt seals along the coast, and both the Torngat Mountains and George River caribou herds cross paths as they migrate to and from their calving grounds. Inuit continue to use this area for hunting, fishing, and travelling throughout the park during the year. There are some terrific hiking opportunities here to explore the area on foot and along the shoreline in the zodiacs. Wildflowers are spectacular when in bloom and bears feast on local berries found among the sedges and grasses on the raised beaches along the shores of the fjords.
Nachvak Fjord is exceptionally beautiful. The fjord is deep and narrow and stretches more than 20 kilometres. The rocky walls of the fjord soar almost 900 metres above us at several points. Many species migrate through the area during the short boreal summer. Numerous seal species may be encountered including ring, hooded, harp and harbour seals. Minke whales have been known to linger in the fjords, while larger species, including fin and humpback, tend to stay offshore. This is an outstanding location for landscape photography with endless subjects, a dynamic colour range interesting lighting.
As we reach the far northern stretches of coastal Labrador, we learn of the remarkable events at Martin Bay. Here a German U-boat made the only known armed landing in North America during World War Two. In 1943, U-537 sat at anchor here, while the crew man-handled ashore and established an automated weather station. This station remained undiscovered until the late 1970’s when a German historian came across a reference to it in the German naval archives. The equipment was collected by the Canadian Coast Guard in the early 1980’s and is on permanent display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. We visit the Button Islands before sailing into southern Davis Strait. Named after Thomas Button who explored the area in 1612, the islands are in the middle of the upwelling of nutrients on the edge of the continental shelf. This action makes it a magnet for thousands of seabirds and other marine mammals.
Today we will sail across the mouth of Frobisher Bay and make landfall on Monumental Island, a small, steep-sided outcrop off the southeast coast of Baffin Island. Here we are on the lookout for polar bears and walrus that live around the island in an uneasy truce. While polar bears have been known to attack and kill young walrus, they are no match for a fully-grown male walrus, especially in the water. We enjoy our final zodiac cruise here and tonight we reflect on the last 10-days of exploration while enjoying a sumptuous farewell dinner, attended by the Captain of the ship. During the night the ship will negotiate the narrow channels of Frobisher Bay on the way to our disembarkation point, Iqaluit, capital of the territory of Nunavut.
We bid farewell to our crew and disembark the ship by zodiac and, after a short tour of Iqaluit (if time and tides permit), we transfer to the airport for our flight back to Ottawa. On arrival in Ottawa, an airport transfer is provided to a central downtown location.
|12 Jul 2019 - 22 Jul 2019||$6086 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$6086 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Twin Semi-Private Cabin||$7648 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Twin Private Cabin||$9836 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Superior Cabin||$11086 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|Shackleton Suite||$12961 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
|One Ocean Suite||$15773 NZD||US$500 Travel Credit|
On deck 3, an upper and two lower beds (one of the lower beds can be converted to a sofa), shared facilities, washbasin, writing desk/chair, storage, two portholes (one openable), bathrobes
On deck 4, two lower berths (one which can convert to a sofa during the day), a writing desk, storage, wardrobes with internal shelving, semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins), one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On decks 4 and 5, two lower berths, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On deck 6, two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, ample storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, vanity kit, bathrobes, upgraded bed linen and duvets.
On deck 4 and 5, 1 queen bed, double berth in separate sleeping quarters, a sofa in the main section (can be converted to a bed), a writing desk/chair, a comfortable armchair, fully stocked mini bar, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies and webmail access, private facilities, large openable windows.
On deck 5, a double berth in separate sleeping quarters, fully stocked mini bar, sofa ( can be converted to a single bed), large writing desk/chair, several armchairs, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies, private facilities, shower and bathtub, large openable windows.
*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.