A free-floating, flat chunk of ice that’s broken off from an iceberg, you may wonder what’s so exciting about frozen water. Well, the fact that you could get stranded at sea with polar bears and other Arctic animals, for one. But, more importantly, a unique ecosystem that’s created as the environment changes.
The precursor to an iceberg, the floe edge is the portion of ice where the land meets the sea, yet is still attached. Frozen over during the cold the winter months, when the floe edge fractures, the ice begins floating away, creating one of the Arctic’s most dramatic landscapes. As the ice drifts, it will rise and fall with the tides and travel with the ocean currents and arctic winds, as it moves, attracting an abundance of wildlife to the area as a whole new ecosystem is born each year.
This phenomenon occurs from April through July and is a great celebration for the Intuit people, as everyone comes out to witness the area springing to life. A number of Nunavut tour companies can take you to see the walruses, seals, polar bears, narwhals, bowhead and beluga whales, and sea birds at play. It’s important you go with a local guide company who is familiar with the tides, changing weather patterns and ice conditions to keep you safe. You will be transported via zodiac boat until you reach an area that’s safe to walk on. Daytrips or multi-day expeditions are available, but you should check the calendar here for when the floe edge is best seen throughout Nunavut.
Welcome to the beautiful polar arctic. Beyond animals, the entire northeastern coastline of Baffin Island, from Qikiqtarjuaq to Pond Inlet, is known as one of the world's greatest iceberg galleries so be sure to have your camera ready to capture these incredible crystalline structures.