As drift ice, it will rise and fall with the tides and travel with the ocean currents and arctic winds unless it is blocked by fast ice, coastal sea ice fastened to the land or shallow sea floor. In the springtime, the floe edge — where the open sea meets the frozen sea — becomes one of the most dramatic and dynamic ecosystems on Earth.
From April through July in Nunavut, arctic wildlife gathers in abundance along the floe edge — including walruses, seals, polar bears, narwhals, bowhead and beluga whales, plus an astonishing variety of birds. It is a time of great celebration for the Inuit people.
On the way, you can enjoy magnificent mountain scenery, visit bustling bird cliffs and pass drifting icebergs — which are an excellent source of freshwater when at sea. Experienced local guides, who are totally familiar with the tides, local weather patterns and changing ice conditions, are the experts best qualified to determine your safest and most enjoyable route to and from the floe edge.
‘Sinaaq’ is the Inuktitut word for the floe edge, which is a very special place to be in the spring. A floe is a flat chunk of floating sea ice up to 10 kilometres (6 miles) wide.
Formed from snowflakes fallen 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, compressed into ice with time, mass and gravity, then calved from flowing glaciers into the crashing waves, powerful currents and gusting winds of the Arctic Ocean, titanic icebergs are often carved into some of the most beautiful sculptures ever created by the forces of nature.
Outfitters all over Nunavut offer iceberg tours, multi-day outings or day-trips. Notably, the entire northeastern coastline of Baffin Island, from Qikiqtarjuaq to Pond Inlet, is ranked as one of the world’s greatest iceberg galleries.