Arctic | Canada | Baffin Island

In August-September 2015, a series of voyages on the National Geographic Explorer took us to the far reaches of the Canadian Arctic, criss-crossing the famed Northwest Passage.

Heavy pack ice along the rugged east coast of Baffin Island made navigation difficult, pushing us farther north to Lancaster Sound and Devon Island. On the third voyage of the summer we navigate Hells Gate along the west side of Ellesmere Island, reaching 80˚north as a full moon rose above the barren tundra. Over the course of 6 weeks we encountered more then 75 polar bears, including many mothers with cubs.

But it wasn't the quantity of bears that was impressive, but the quality, with many curious bears making close approaches to the ship. To top it all off, we witnessed rare animal behavior, including a male bear killing and eating a first-year cub, and also a mother bear nursing two cubs just below the bow of the ship. Both events brought tears to our eyes and wrestled with our emotions.

Nature in the raw can be both brutal and inspiring. leaving us no choice but to be in the moment.

The National Geographic Explorer will be returning to the Canadian Arctic again in summer 2016. For more information visit Lindblad Expedition-National Geographic.

© Ralph Lee Hopkins | All Rights Reserved | WorldWide

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