ARCTIC

Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

Narwhal, Arctic Canada
from £11,732 7 nights | May - Jun Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • May
  • Jun

Overview

For a truly authentic polar experience, this opportunity to camp on an ice floe in the remote Canadian Arctic is not to be missed! Accompanied by local Inuit guides and surrounded by wildlife, here you have the opportunity to snorkel with narwhals, watch polar bears on the hunt and spot beluga, bowhead whales, seals and seabirds – all from the comfort of a safari-style camp, set against a backdrop of the majestic mountains of Baffin Island and Bylot Island.

Immerse yourself in the dramatic landscapes of the Canadian Arctic, surrounded by rugged mountains and stunning glaciers 700kms north of the Arctic Circle.

Highlights

  • observe pods of tusked narwhal just metres from the floe edge
  • chance to see polar bears, harp seals, bearded seals, bowhead whales and beluga
  • visit the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which attracts over 200,000 birds
  • journey by snowmobile and qamutik to traditional Inuit hunting grounds
  • snorkel and kayak amongst the sea ice and marine life

As spring turns to summer, the sea ice melts and marine mammals along with other Arctic wildlife can be found travelling north along the floe edge in search of food. Pods of narwhal can be spotted resting only metres from the ice edge while an incredible variety of sea birds, including thick-billed murres, kittiwakes, guillemots, and ivory gulls, fly overhead. Polar bears and seals may also be spotted, as well as bowhead whales and belugas.

Your base for the week is the surprisingly comfortable Arctic Safari Camp, pitched on the ice floe between Baffin Island and Bylot Island in Canada’s far north. Each day you can take optional excursions by snowmobile and qamutik (an Inuit sled pulled by snowmobile) to the floe edge in search of wildlife and adventure. Every day is different – you may hike in the shadow of vivid blue glaciers, marvel at the abundant birdlife of Bylot Island or take an unforgettable snorkeling expedition in the company of narwhals. Local Inuit guides will share their stories and explain the traditional ways of Inuit life, as you take advantage of 24-hour daylight under the glow of the midnight sun.

With a maximum of just 14 guests, the Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari allows for an unhurried exploration of the Arctic – with time available to reflect on the epic landscapes and raw wilderness under seemingly endless skies.

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Ottawa - Iqaluit - Pond Inlet
Departing Ottawa this morning, fly first to Iqaluit and then on to Pond Inlet. Upon arrival at Pond Inlet late this afternoon you will be welcomed and transferred to a comfortable hotel. Over dinner your expedition leader and lead Inuit guide will provide a briefing and perform a gear check. After dinner, enjoy a truly authentic cultural presentation of Inuit throat singing, drum dancing and story telling by local elders.
Day 2: Pond Inlet-Bylot Island - Arctic Safari Camp
After breakfast, meet your guides on the beach in preparation for your departure across the frozen sea towards Bylot Island. Travelling by traditional Inuit-style qamutik (a wooden sled with suspension seats, pulled behind a snowmobile), you’ll experience the exhilaration of gliding across the ice. The journey of approximately 70kms will vary depending on ice conditions and may include stops at historic grave sites, hanging glaciers, abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins. Your final destination is located on the ice, a safe distance from the edge of the ice floe; the Arctic Safari Camp that will be home for the next few days.
Days 3-6: Arctic Safari Camp
A flexible itinerary during your stay at the Arctic Safari Camp will include trips out to floe edge along with excursions to other attractions in the area, travelling by qamutik and snowmobile. You will have plenty of opportunity to observe a wide variety of Arctic wildlife – along the floe edge there is a high chance of seeing narwhals, bowhead whales, polar bears on the prowl for seals, and possibly walrus and beluga whales. You may even have the chance to snorkel with narwhals!

Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic foxes and hares, weasels, collared lemmings, snowy owls, rough-legged hawks, and gyrfalcons. Migratory birds are also in abundance - pure white ivory gulls, gaudy king eider ducks, low flying northern fulmars, thick-billed murres, kittiwakes, and greater snow geese (kanguq) are just a few of the many bird species that can be found here. Ice conditions permitting, you may visit the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, where over 200,000 birds choose to nest. You may also have a chance to visit ancient Thule sites, where you will see traditional tent rings and learn about the native culture and history of the area.

Plenty of time will be provided for unhurried wildlife observation and there should be exceptional opportunities for photography of both wildlife and the spectacular icy Arctic landscapes. At this time of year the sun never sets, but by 10pm sinks low on the western horizon and continues to seemingly skim across the tops of the distant mountain ranges until it reaches the eastern horizon, where it then begins to climb higher into the sky again. The warm, soft glow of the midnight sun is a photographer’s delight.
Day 7: Arctic Safari Camp - Pond Inlet-Iqaluit
After breakfast, depart camp by qamutik and snowmobile for your return journey to Pond Inlet. Lunch will be in Pond Inlet, where you can also change into clothing more suitable for the flight to Iqaluit which follows. Tonight is spent at a hotel in Iqaluit where dinner and breakfast will be provided.
Day 8: Iqaluit - Ottawa
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ottawa where the expedition ends.
Notes

Please note that the above itinerary is intended as a guideline only; weather and wildlife conditions play a large role in dictating the daily activities. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!

Prices & Dates

 2017 Season

Departure Date Duration Twin Single
30 May 2017 8 days £11,732 £17,289
04 Jun 2017 8 days £11,732 £17,289
11 Jun 2017 8 days £11,732 £17,289


Prices are per person; a twin share option is available for solo travellers to share accommodation (same gender) and pay the standard twin price.

Maximum group size: 14 guests with exception of 21st May departure which has a max capacity of 8

Prices include
Flight from Ottawa to Pond Inlet • Flight from Pond Inlet to Iqaluit • Flight from Iqaluit to Ottawa • Airport transfers in Pond Inlet • Services of Inuit guides and Arctic Kingdom expedition staff • All transportation for duration of trip • All accommodation (1 night Pond Inlet; 1 night Iqaluit • 5 nights Arctic Safari Camp) • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8 • Unlimited use of kayaks • Drysuit, mask, fins, hood, gloves for snorkelling

Prices exclude
International flights to and from Ottawa • Pre- and post-safari accommodation in Ottawa • Tips, gratuities and personal expenses • Mandatory travel, medical and evacuation insurance • Additional costs associated with weather and/or delays in Pond Inlet, Iqaluit or Ottawa • additional airport or airline security charges • government arrival and departure taxes

Optional polar clothing package
Specialist polar clothing is available for hire at a cost of £471 per person

This should be arranged at the time of booking and will be available to collect on arrival in Ottawa. The Polar Spring Kit includes the following: Expedition parka • waterproof/windproof overalls or trousers • winter boots •  windproof hat • neck gaiter • base gloves • windproof gloves • waterproof insulated mitts • duffel bag

How to book

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So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

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