Baffin Island, Canada
“No more than a half-dozen people each year have this experience,” says Jason Hillier, expedition leader for Arctic Kingdom, of ice diving Canada’s Baffin Island, known for polar bears, narwhals and grounded icebergs.
Unlike free-floating icebergs — extremely risky due to instability — those of Pond Inlet, where Hillier and his team venture, have over-wintered; that is, been packed into place by winter’s freezing hands.
“Where icebergs meet the ice is an intersection of moving water — this is where we dive open water,” says Hillier of the floe edge. There, entry is no different from hopping from the side of the pool, allowing those with no previous ice-diving experience to participate, graduating to more complicated environments, such as cracks in the ice ranging from 3- to 20-feet wide.
Dive Now: Arctic Kingdom treks to Baffin Island only in May, when the floe edge acts like the watering holes of the African grass plains — in this case, beckoning bowhead whales, ring seals and possibly belugas and narwhals.