Giants of the Arctic

GIANTS OF THE ARCTIC

ARCTIC/ANTARCTIC

JULY

Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

 

This is a journey of amazing panoramas. Whether you’re facing a hundred walrus, reflecting on the beauty of an absolutely mirror-calm ocean, staring up mountains of ice, or watching for animals along the tundra, there are countless unforgettable scenes. Some are so lucky as to connect with the animals and peer into the eye of a passing Bowhead or directly into the eyes of a Polar Bear swimming by our boat.
Watching the animals under the midnight sun is simply magical. Dusk moves directly into dawn, with each sunset followed by an immediate sunrise, creating a dramatic play of light and shadow across the ice and the open sea. The shallow depths are ideal for divers, who can easily reach the bottom while ice diving and can explore walls covered in life. Open water diving from the floe edge along walls of ice is an unforgettable experience, especially for snorkelers and divers wishing to experience the sights and experiences underwater without venturing below the ice.
From $8,490 USD per person
Some of the highlights of this expedition:

 

  • Witness the beauty of life at the ice floe edge and beyond it, where frozen ice meets open water – from crystalline ice bergs calved from glaciers, electric blue pack ice formations, hundreds of birds diving and weaving and of course, the migrating pods of whales
  • See the northward migrating bowhead whales breach playfully, fin sideways and slap their immense fluke on the mirror smooth water amongst the floating ice pancakes
  • Wonder at the actual immense size of walrus – bigger than a car –  as you see  large herds of walrus sunning themselves on floating ice islands
  • Capture stunning photographs of pods of a mother walrus and baby in the soft glow of the midnight sun
  • Snorkel or dive along the ice floe edge, and exhilarate in the moment when a bowhead whale swims by on its way to the Hecla and Fury strait
  • Listen to the chirps and whistles of the whale songs while underwater, or through a hydrophone on the surface
  • Experience all aspects of the high Arctic from Inuit culture to spectacular wide open landscapes, to ancient Inuit sod house settlements
  • A good chance of seeing Polar Bear hunting for seals among the floating pans of ice
  • Bask in the warm glow of the midnight sun during the brief time of year where there is 24 hour day light
  • See the transition of the Arctic from winter to spring – from frozen tundra to melting rivers and blossoming arctic flowers

Day 1: After an early breakfast, participants head to the Ottawa airport and take a flight to Iqaluit – capital of Nunavut and the gateway to Nunavut. From there we take another flight to Igloolik – oldest Inuit settlement in Canada. We meet for an orientation talk and equipment check. We depart on a 30min to 1 hour trip to camp via snowmobiles and qamuitk. After unloading our equipment, we settle into our tents and meet for a hot meal. Our Expedition Leader will explain the itinerary for the following day.

The next six days will vary completely based upon weather, interests and animal movements. The following is purely representative, yet each day outlined describes a day that actually occurred on a previous expedition to this beautiful location:

Day 2: We take our first visit to the floe edge and familiarize ourselves with this new environment. We take a boat ride out into the Arctic Ocean to look for Bowheads. Some expedition members observe quietly, while others take photographs from the boat.

Day 3: We travel by boat far out into the Foxe Basin where we come upon a pair of walrus huddled on the ice pack. We quietly watch these enormous animals and take photographs from both the ice and boat. We enjoy a hot lunch on the very same piece of ice as the walrus, which are not at all concerned by our presence. On the journey back we spot a lone Bowhead cruising the icy waters.

Day 4: We journey out again by boat and go even further. The bright sun reflecting off the crystal-clear flat waters is simply magical. A few mirrored cloud formations are the only indication of where the horizon divides sea from sky. We come upon four large floating islands of ice covered with Walrus. At least a hundred animals sit on each island and steam rises from the group.

Day 5: The wind has picked up and we decide to explore the land and ice closer to the base camp. We take some time to visit nearby Thule ruins and learn about traditional Inuit life.

Day 6: The sea in a complete mirror calm. The wind over the past few days has pushed the pack ice farther out and we travel quite a distance to reach it. We spot a Polar Bear swimming amongst the ice on the hunt for Walrus and we’re able to get some fantastic photographs from the safety of the boat of the bear swimming and up on the ice. We carry on and find many groups of Walrus. We return to the floe edge where the Bowheads patrol and enjoy another few hours relaxing amongst the regular whale sounds.

Day 7: We pack up our gear and travel back to Igloolik for an 11 am departure for Iqaluit. Your plane departs in the afternoon and you arrive back in the early evening in Ottawa.

2014 DATES

July 4 – July 10 – July 27

RATES

From $8,750.00 CAD + 5% TAX

Air Package

$2,656.00 CAD (+ Taxes)

What´s Included:

  • The services of a highly qualified, English speaking expedition leader
  • All accommodations in itinerary (1 nights local hotel, 6 nights in AK base camp)
  • Local hunter/fisherman guides
  • All meals listed in itinerary
  • For snorkelers / Divers: Drysuit (if you do not bring your own), tanks, weights, mask, snorkel, fins and air fills)
  • Airport transfers in gateway community

What´s not Included:

  • Airfare from home to gateway community
  • Expenses incurred to weather delays and/or flight schedule changes/delays.

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CONTACT

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