Earlier today the Canadian military conducted an operation to deliver emergency supplies to a group of stranded travelers that are adrift on an ice floe in the Arctic Ocean. The supplies were dropped onto the ice via a C-130 Hercules cargo plane and included life-rafts and other survival gear to help keep the castaways safe until further assistance can arrive on the scene.
The nearly two dozen travelers were exploring remote Baffin Island on a tour offered by a company called Arctic Kingdoms. Late Monday evening or early Tuesday morning, the 30-mile long ice floe on which they had made camp broke away from land and began to drift out to sea. With no way to get back onto Baffin, the travelers are at the mercy of the ocean currents while they wait for someone to come rescue them. Canadian authorities say that they are currently about 12 kilometers (7.8 miles) off shore.
Arctic Kingdoms provides adventurous travelers with an opportunity to go on wildlife spotting excursions in the Arctic. The tourists on this particular trip were hoping to encounter polar bears, seals and other animals unique to the region, but now they are getting a bit more of an adventure than they bargained for. According to a post to the company’s website however, everyone is in good health and spirits.
Due to the remote nature of Baffin Island, it is taking some time to scramble helicopters from Newfoundland that can mount a rescue operation. Those helicopters were expected to be onsite later today at which time search and rescue teams hope to begin evacuating the travelers.
Baffin Bay, located between Greenland and Baffin Island in the Canadian territory of Nunavut, is a desolate and beautiful place.
It is also very far north. Though the above image looks like it might have been taken in the dead of winter, it was actually snapped in late August of this year. Check out photographer island602‘s big set of images of the Arctic for more near-frozen delights.
And upload your photos of icebergs and other frozen things to the Flickr Gadling Group Pool. We choose our favorites from the pool at Photos of the Day.
The variety of options when it comes to taking a cruise continues to expand all the time. Of course, you have the traditional Caribbean variety, and the ever popular Alaskan cruise. There are river cruises on the Nile, Yangtze, and even the Amazon, and of course, adventure travelers can go to Antarctica, and now through the Northwest Passage to Baffin Island.
The largest island in Canada, Baffin is home to herds of caribou, arctic wolves, and polar bears. It is remote, desolate, and covered in ice and snow for much of the year, but during the summer months, it thaws out enough to allow visitors to make the journey.
The Times Online travel section has a story on just such a cruise to Baffin Island, warning readers early on that this isn’t a cruise for someone looking to relax in the sun and sip fruit drinks with little umbrellas. This is an active adventure vacation, and travelers will be exploring the island, viewing wildlife, and interacting with the Inuit people who have lived on the island for over a millennia.
The best time to go on a cruise to this arctic region is late August into late September, when the summer has had a chance to melt off the ice and open the Northwest passage more fully. Expect active days, unpredictable weather, and breathtaking scenery on an adventure cruise unlike any other.