Buchan Gulf, Baffin Island

Sep 04, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

We began the day by entering Buchan Gulf, full of dramatic scenery. We immediately saw polar bears in the distance, and after scouting the area, we decided that the sow and her two cubs posed no risk to a shore landing. We were able to explore the area and found four early Inuit fall houses. After our shore visit, 18 guests and 6 naturalists braved the chilly waters for a polar plunge.

After lunch, we ventured further into the gulf and into Icy Arm. The region makes one think of an Arctic Yosemite with steep-sided cliffs and glaciers on all sides. We were treated to views of spectacular geology and spotted several groups of narwhals. At first distant, we were able to approach the narwhal and get good views of them. We also spotted a couple of beluga whales. As we continued sailing, we spotted yet more polar bears and spent some time observing them. Our day’s polar bear tally was 12!

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About the Author

Michael Jackson


An experienced traveler, Michael has lived on several continents, including a year spent working as a naturalist and zoologist in Galápagos and three months in Kenya conducting a study of birds of prey. He is the author of Galápagos: A Natural History, a comprehensive guidebook which details the natural history of the plants and animals found on the islands. 

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