Baffin Island trip July, 2017

Hi all,

I am booking a land trip to Qikiqtarjuaq this summer. July 4-8 will work but isn’t final. Includes a local guide and his boat and a self cater cabin in or near Qik (we bring our own groceries and do our own cooking). Price is $1960 CAD plus 5% tax per person, which is ~$1575 USD all in. RT air from Ottawa to Qik is ~$2375 CAD per person, taxes included, which is ~1800 USD. (This pricing assumes the agent got it right).

Many of the mammals of the Canadian Arctic, especially marine mammals, are seen around Qikiqtarjuaq. There is space for one to five people on the trip if anyone is interested in going.

John

13 Comments
  1. Leslie Sokolow 6 months ago

    That’s a killer airfare. If you have Aeroplan miles, you can use them to book a reward flight on both First Air and Canadian North. This post from 2014 has tips on making it happen: http://findingtruenorth.ca/blog/how-to-book-aeroplan-to-iqaluit

  2. Steve Morgan 6 months ago

    Hello John,

    Sounds interesting. What mammals are on the menu? Any chance of Bowhead or Narwhal?

    Cheers,

    Steve

  3. Author
    John Fox 6 months ago

    Hi Steve, yes! The Nunavut Tourism page on Qik says ” Qikiqtarjuaq (fondly called ‘Qik’ for short) is known as the iceberg capital of Nunavut. Many species of marine mammals thrive here, including bowhead whales, narwhals and orca whales.”

    I had asked about Hooded Seals and the guide wrote “there’s a chance of seeing narwhal, bowhead whales and hooded seals at this time”. Hooded Seals move up the coast of Labrador in the spring, I figured they could go up the coast of Baffin Island as well.

    John

  4. Vladimir Dinets 6 months ago

    I am interested! But the price sounds too good to be true. Also, I might need it to be moved up by about a week.

  5. Profile photo of John Fox Author
    John Fox 6 months ago

    It looks like those prices are legit. But there are limited seats available at that price and the agent says book now!

    I’m not sure about the guide’s availability a week earlier, I can ask. The flights are not daily, do you have specific dates that you want?

  6. Vladimir Dinets 6 months ago

    No, but I might be guiding another trip July 4-14. I haven’t committed yet, so if it’s a problem, I might just decline the offer.

  7. Vladimir Dinets 6 months ago

    Could you ask your agent about date flexibility? If the dates are not flexible, I’ll most likely go anyway.

  8. Michae 5 months ago

    I just wanted to follow up on Leslie’s suggestion to use Aeroplan Miles for flights from Ottawa to Nunavut. While you might not have any Aeroplan Miles, like I did not for my trip to Resolute Bay a few summers ago, Aeroplan is a transfer parter from American Express Membership Rewards, a much more commonly used program. So, if you have enough Amex Membership Rewards you can instantly transfer to Aeroplan. But, don’t do so before confirming flight availability — since transferring miles is a one-way street. If you transfer and then find the flights are unavailable, you can’t transfer the miles back to Amex. Since, if I recall correctly, the transfer was instantaneous, I did so while I was on the phone with Aeroplan — I pressed transfer on Amex, the Aeroplan rep saw the miles had been credited to my Aeroplan account, and I booked the ticket: 25,000 miles from Ottawa to Resolute Bay, when the cash price would have been around US$5,000.

    • Leslie Sokolow 5 months ago

      I am encouraged that there are other frugal mammal-watchers besides me. We need to be careful that we do not inadvertently promote this as hobby for just those with fists full of money.

  9. Author
    John Fox 5 months ago

    I don’t know, Leslie, I could use a mammal watcher with some money right now, LOL. This tour has a minimum of two people so I’m paying a 100% single supplement. I run into this all the time, what a pain.

    Thanks for the info Michae, that is great to know. Last fall was a little golden age for credit cards, Amex and Chase both offered a 100k sign up bonus, so I am fat with the best transferable points programs.

    The agent on this trip is passing along her tour operator pricing so it’s a closer call whether to use points. Your 25k points for a $5k ticket was a bodacious deal. I love hearing stories like that!

    FWIW, the dates are finalized at July 11-15, pricing is still available as originally posted.

    John

  10. Profile photo of Gina Sheridan
    Gina Sheridan 5 months ago

    Hello John,

    I’m new to the forum, and I’m quite intrigued by your Baffin Island trip proposal. My less mammal-driven husband is interested too, and I have a number of questions for you .

    Here are a few of my questions:
    1) How good do you think our chances are for Narwhal and Polar Bear?
    2) Are there any past trip reports?
    3) How will we access the ice flows?
    4) Will we all be staying in one cabin together? Does it include heat, bedding, and a bathroom?
    5) Do we need to transport food from Ottawa?

    I would love to see any of the following too: Walrus, Bowhead Whale, Harp Seal, Hooded Seal, Brown & Collared Lemmings, Caribou, and Arctic Hare, and Ivory Gull.

    Thank you in advance,

    Gina Sheridan

  11. John Fox 5 months ago

    Hi Gina

    Well, I decided to bail out on this trip. It got too complicated and somewhat stressful so I decided not to pursue it. I think I’ll just go on my own and get a hotel or home stay and see what I can find. I’m pretty good at schmoozing with people and can probably find someone to take me out on a boat.

    There is not much in the way of trip reports, per se. Qik kind of juts out into the Davis Strait and tends to collect icebergs, and the total list of wildlife seen there is pretty extensive. But the odds of a particular animal on any particular day are unknown, as far as I can tell.

    I did an Adventure Canada cruise last August on the Ocean Endeavor. We started in Greenland, which was pretty cool. But we had to clear customs to get back into Canada, which was supposed to happen in Qik. And then we were going up to Isabella Bay, hopefully good for Bowheads. Those were the two main reasons I picked that cruise. But a bunch of sea ice built up around Qik and the ensuing fog caused all flights to be cancelled. Which meant the customs guys couldn’t fly in to meet us. So we dicked around for a couple days and then went to Pond Inlet, totally bypassing Icy Arm which is where the Narwhals hang out. A very disappointing trip, to say the least. I don’t recommend Adventure Canada for wildlife trips, they are pretty useless unless you are just a tourist.

    But life goes on…

    Good luck if you go,

    John

    • Profile photo of Gina Sheridan
      Gina Sheridan 5 months ago

      Thank you for your gracious reply John. I can well understand the logistical hurdles for this sort of trip.

      Like you, I was trying to avoid the $10k price tag charged by most of the tour companies. A number of years ago, I tried to contact local guides and basic information for wildlife viewing on Baffin Island. I found plenty of cobweb sites online, and none of my email queries ever yielded a reply. Needless to say, I bailed on that plan.

      Anyway, I wish you the best of luck on Baffin and will look forward to your future trip reports.

      Gina

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