Akpatok Island, Nunavut, Canada

Rising like a medieval fortress from the icy waters of Ungava Bay, the sheer 500- to 800-foot limestone cliffs of Akpatok are teeming with seabirds, including over half a million breeding pairs of thick-billed murres, which give the island its inuit name. In the breeding season, predatory glaucous gulls patrol the cliffs, alert for unguarded eggs or chicks. Also frequently seen are polar bears, seals and walruses, as well as speedy peregrine falcons. The remains of a Dorset culture village predate the Inuit people who inhabit the region today. According to oral tradition, the First Inhabitants were taller and stronger, but shy of contact. They may also have practiced cannibalism. Rugged rifts in the cliffs allow access to the table-top plateau above. But be alert for polar bears. They are opportunistic hunters.