Arctic Wildlife Holidays
There is something truly special about encountering animals in their natural environment and a single wildlife encounter can be the absolute stand out moment of any holiday especially when exploring the untouched environments of the high Arctic. Here you can expect some amazing wildlife sightings - a polar bear prowling the pack ice, a quivering horde of walrus hauled out on a remote beach or a pod of beluga or narwhal coursing through the frigid seas.
The Arctic food chain is sustained by the spring melting of pack ice. This leaves behind a nutrient-rich layer of fresh water on the sea’s surface, which triggers a bloom of phytoplankton with the lengthening days of sunlight. This rich marine environment provides sustenance for bearded, ringed and harp seals. Walrus are often spotted resting on ice floes or offshore islands, and in the northern oceans, beluga, narwhal and the rare Greenland whale can be observed.
On land, partial thawing of the permafrost creates pools in which mosquitoes can breed, providing a valuable source of food for migratory birds like buntings, larks, pharalopes and plovers. The tundra unleashes a flush of plant growth, grazed by millions of geese, Arctic hares and lemmings along with musk oxen and reindeer. The Arctic fox can often be seen patrolling the base of bird cliffs, awaiting a free meal as it feasts on chicks and eggs.
Most visitors will hope to see the iconic polar bear, which can be seen in northern Canada, Greenland and many parts of Spitsbergen. Here, the peak time for polar bear watching is late July to early August when pack ice has retreated enough to allow ships to access prime bear habitat along the northern and eastern coasts.
North Pole Voyage