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Baffin Island

ARC St Arctic Canada Baffin Island Ghost Bear

Baffin Island

A spectacularly remote land of dramatic scenery, Baffin Island features rugged mountains contrasting the flattest lowlands, and coasts that start with sheer, icy cliff drops. Just begging to be explored, this is the fifth largest island in the world, and the largest in Canada, separated from the mainland by the Gulf of Boothia, Foxe Basin and Hudson Strait.

The estimated population of this 507,451 square kilometre area is approximately 11,000, of which around half live in Iqaluit - the capital and a majority of whom are Inuit. Along the eastern coast, the Arctic Cordillera runs, dominated by alpine mountains, characterised by sharp peaks and ridges, alongside the occasional flat-topped mountain. This forms a shield, which then slopes to the west to form a sedimentary basin. The two largest ice caps on the island - Penny and Barnes - have smoothly rolling terrains. The west of the island is typically closed throughout the year, however the east is open to tourists in the summer, allowing you to explore this fascinating winter wonderland of glaciers, icebergs and crystal streams.

In the summer waters, harp seals, walrus and beluga whales make an appearance, as well as the fascinating narwhals, known for their long spiralling tusks.

There is wildlife found here year-round, such as Barren-ground Caribou, polar bear, Arctic fox, Arctic wolf and lemming. Year-round marine-life is mainly the ringed seals, the King of the Arctic’s favourite meal, which live offshore within about 8 kilometres of land. In the summer, Baffin Island attracts a variety of migrating bird species, from water birds such as Canada goose, snow goose and Brant goose, to shore birds, including pharalope and various waders, such as the Arctic tern which travels all the way from Antarctica every spring.

Most of Baffin Island is within the Arctic Circle, meaning the sun doesn’t set below the horizon at peak of summer and the winters feature dark days where it doesn’t rise. In the summer months, you can experience the Arctic in all its colour and glory. Camping on the coast in safari-style tents, enjoying gourmet meals and taking part in activities such as polar bear and bowhead whale watching, surrounded by walled fjords and islands, sometimes thousands of feet high on each side. Hike around the Penny Ice Cap, go fishing with your Inuit guides or take a day trip to the beautiful Akshakyuk Pass.