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2015 Alianait Festival in Iqaluit

May 19th, 2015 | By | Filed in Featured Trip, Inuit Culture/Art

Narwhal

Have your heard of Iqaluit’s annual summer festival. It coincides with the long daylight hours of the Midnight Sun. You can pack a lot of music and fun into 18 hours of daylight! We would like to point out that if you haven’t attended Alianait, then you can’t say you’ve been to all the great Festivals.

The bands

The line up is international and eclectic, reflecting the diverse tastes of the citizens of Nunavut’s territorial capital. There is a bluegrass band from Toronto - Slocan Ramblers. Greenland’s indie band Nanook will perform. Willie Stratton & the Boarding Party will be coming up from Halifax, on Canada’s East Coast. Matuto from New York will bring some Appalachian-Afro-Brazilian rhythms. See the entire line-up of bands here.

We have a deal for you

We pioneered the Arctic Weekend Getaway for under $1200 a person (plus taxes), including the flight out of Ottawa. You read that right, the flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit is included. You fly up Friday – in this case June 26, and return Sunday, the 28th for that price. Stay until Monday and the hands-down outstanding per person price is $1139 (plus taxes). There are either two nights or three nights hotel included in the package as well. Have you checked the cost of flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit, lately? $2,509 oer person, give or take eight cents.

Call us to book – 888 737 6818. Book early, because space is going to go quickly.

Limerick Day – Some Arctic Poetry

May 12th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK NEWS

Ringed Seal, Limerick DayMay 12th is Limerick Day! Named after the city of Limerick in Ireland and dating back over 500 years, this method of poetry was made popular by Edward Lear and is celebrated on his birthday. He classified the limerick as a poem of fun, nonsense and obscenity.

Although Limerick Day may not be the most well- known event, we thought it would fun to post some limericks about polar bears and snow and all things related to the Arctic! Enjoy!

Limerick Day Arctic poetry

There once was a seal named Brice
Who hated slipping on ice
Until one chilly day
He jumped in the bay
Because he was wearing his floatation device!

Have you ever seen a beluga whale
Try and stand on a scale?
It’s a tough thing to do
When you’re eating fondue
And it all goes straight to your tail!

The Arctic is home to polar bears
Keeping warm with a thick coat of hair
They like to play in the snow
And drift around on ice floes
And they do it all with such flair!

Author: Mandy Ams

Happy Mother’s Day

May 10th, 2015 | By | Filed in Wildlife

Polar bear and cub

Polar bear and cub

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there… including these!

We love our moms and throughout life, are very dependent on them. Arctic whales, such as narwhals and beluga whales are no different. Belonging to the same Monodontidae family, these two species are rather different in colour and appearance (narwhals are considered the Unicorns of the Sea because of their protruding tusk), yet share many similarities in how they take care of their young.

Narwhals – Happy Mother’s Day

Female narwhals start bearing calves between six to eight years of age. After having mated in April or May, gestation lasts for 14 months and a single calf is born the following year between June and August. Beginning their life with a thin layer of blubber, it thickens as they nurse their mother’s milk which is rich in fat. Calves are dependent on their mother’s milk for 20 months which allows them the time they need to learn the necessary skills for survival. A mother’s job is never done though; they must stay close to their young and provide assistance and direction with swimming until their calves are older and more capable.

Belugas – Happy Mother’s Day

Female belugas reach sexual maturity when they are between four and nine years old. Most mating usually occurs between February and May with gestation lasting from 12 to almost 16 months, depending on whether the beluga is captive or living in the wild. Female beluga whales typically birth one calf every three years and when the time comes, they travel to bays or estuaries where fresh water flows and gets mixed with salt water, making it considerably warmer. Immediately after birth, baby belugas are able to swim alongside their mothers and nurse underwater. Just like narwhals, calves nurse on their mother’s milk for 20 months. After this point, their teeth have already come in and they are able to supplement their diet with small fish and shrimp.

They couldn’t have done it without you, thanks Mom!

Author: Mandy Ams

Custom-Designed Journeys: Wildlife Migrations

May 5th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Wildlife Migrations: Polar Bears, Narwhal and Caribou

Caribou in autumnMigrating is favoured by animals worldwide and is fairly universal in the animal kingdom. Animals migrate in an effort to find food, a more hospitable climate or places to breed. Arctic animals are no different, specifically caribou, polar bears and narwhal. The opportunity to witness these annual journeys is a unique experience and Arctic Kingdom can take you there!

Custom-designed Caribou Migration Safaris

The Porcupine Herd and Central Arctic Herd of caribou migrate annually. These long journeys allow them to take advantage of nutritious food, relatively few predators and relief from the insects along the coast of the Arctic Ocean. Caribou travel an average of 2,000 to 3,000 kilometers (1200 to 1800 miles) annually, with the direction, pattern and intensity of their movements differing based on the seven caribou seasons outlined below:

  • Spring Migration – Race to the calving grounds
  • Calving – Brief sanctuary
  • Post-calving Movements – The heard gathers
  • Summer – The herd scatters
  • Fall Migration – Guided by snow
  • Rut and Late Fall – Battle for the right to reproduce
  • Winter – Abiding the cold and the dark

Private Polar Bear Migration Journeys

When the temperatures start to drop in autumn, polar bears gather in Churchill, Manitoba which is considered the “Polar Bear Capital of the World.” They are preparing to begin their annual migration in which they head north along the coast of Hudson Bay to where the first ice forms. The formation of sea ice is imperative to polar bear survival in the Arctic. It provides a fundamental platform that is needed to hunt seals and endure the winter. When temperatures begin to rise in the summer and the ice starts to melt, polar bears are forced ashore to wait out the next few months until the ice reforms again. During this time, the polar bears fast, live off their fat reserves and conserve their energy for the upcoming season. Because greenhouse gases are affecting the Earth’s temperature, it results in polar bears staying inland far longer than they have in the past.

Narwhal Migration: Only in the Arctic

Narwhals are creatures of habit that results in a very predictable migration pattern to the same locations each year. During both summer and winter, they prefer deep water. They are cited as one of the deepest diving cetaceans. The annual migration of the narwhal begins in the spring when they arrive at the floe edge in Lancaster Sound and swim through the cracks in the ice enroute to their summer destination. They are frequently spotted spending their summers in the ice-free fjords of northern Baffin Island.

In September or October, once the days shorten, the temperature drops and the ice begins to reform once again, narwhals begin their 3000 kilometer (1800 mile) trip back to the pack ice in Baffin Bay.

Seldom witnessed; Never forgotten

Being able to witness caribou, polar bears and narwhals during their annual migration is truly extraordinary. The beauty of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat performing this instinctive journey is unlike any other experience available to travellers. Arctic Kingdom can create custom- tailored expeditions that ensure you get a front-row seat to witness these natural phenomena.

Author: Mandy Ams

To get your free, no obligation quote for a custom-designed Arctic wildlife safari contact us.

Custom-designed Trips: The Basics

April 30th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Featured Trip

Northern LightsThe million dollar question on everyone’s mind before planning an Arctic vacation is: When is the best time to go? Sounds like a simple enough inquiry but the best answer actually depends on different factors.
• What time of year did you want to go and are you date specific?
• What activities do you want to do?
• What wildlife are you hoping to see?

Your responses to the questions determine your Arctic custom vacation travel dates; checking out the Northern Lights in February to catching a glimpse of bowhead whales in June.

Custom-designed trips are organized to suit you

Arctic Kingdom has countless year-round trips available. The benefit of planning a custom trip means that everything is organized according to your pace and your specific preferences. Whether you have five days in March or are available for three weeks in October, we can make your dream trip happen!

What if your dates are not flexible?

Should you have specific dates in mind, there are still plenty of exciting options. If you’re planning to head north to get a glimpse of the Northern Lights, your best sightings will be from late August to mid- April because the night skies are not dark enough during the summer months. However, if you’re interested in a summer trip where to see Arctic wildlife such as beluga whales and walruses, the Ultimate Arctic Animal Adventure might be for you! Operating from April to November, this private trip is the perfect option if you’re looking for a getaway during the warmer and milder weather.

Some activities are seasonal

Just as the time of the year can shape your trip to the Arctic, so can the activities you want to do. Certain activities may not be feasible. Interested in dog sledding on North Baffin Island? You need to travel between mid- April and the end of May. Want to catch a glimpse of ice grizzly bears? You’re going to want to head north in September or October.

Wildlife watching

Wildlife is another factor that comes into play when you plan your trip. For instance, if you’re a polar bear lover and want to cater your trip to seeing them in their natural habitat, you have many options! A Polar Bear Sailboat Safari to Svalbard in July is an unforgettable adventure. However, if July doesn’t work for you, you could always participate in the Polar Bear Migration Photo Safari in October or November. If you wanted to see mother polar bears and their newborn cubs, look into the Polar Bear Mothers and Newborn Cubs safari that happens in March. There are numerous options not just to see polar bears, but countless different creatures that call the Arctic home.

Know the time of year that you want to travel. Make a list of the activities in which you want to partake. Consider the wildlife you want to see. We will take it from there to create a unique, once-in-a-lifetime Arctic adventure just for you. Travel with an open mind and an adventurous spirit and we guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Author: Mandy Ams

Request your custom-designed no obligation quote now.

International Dance Day: An Arctic Perspective

April 29th, 2015 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES

aaatanyaThis map posted online by the University of Lapland illustrates the diversity of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. In the Canadian Arctic, where we travel, there are two groups: Inuit and Dene, based on their language. These diverse people of the North have one thing in common – a culture in which the Arts have been embedded for centuries.

International Dance Day

The International Dance Council introduced International Dance Day in 1982. Every year they focus on an aspect of the Art of Dance. IDC announced this year’s theme:

Our common proposal is to combine dance with painting, drawing, sculpture or other forms of creative work in the visual arts.

There is no more appropriate moment to recognize the rich artistic heritage of Northern peoples. They sing, dance and drum, as well as carve and silk-screen works of Art. With extraordinary skill they embellish hand-crafted mittens, boots and headbands.

Annual Cultural Festivals in the Arctic

One of the best annual cultural festivals in the Arctic is Alianait Arts Festival. Held in Iqaluit, this year’s festival runs from June 26 to July 1, 2015. You can pack a lot of culture into one day in Iqaluit, because at the time of year, the sun shines for nearly 21 hours.

Running almost concurrently in Yukon will be the Adaka Cultural Festival. The Festival’s mandate is to shine a light on the creativity of Yukon’s First Nations.

Arctic Weekend Getaways during festival dates are possible. Make 2015 your year to experience the culture of Northern peoples.
 

The Spirit of Discovery – Arctic Kingdom Style

April 23rd, 2015 | By | Filed in Trips

bowhead, arctic kingdom, swim with bowhead

View from the boat when the bowhead whale surfaced

When you hear the word expedition does it ignite in you an expectation of discovery? We think so. Whenever we travel we seek the undiscovered or the little known. There are still new discoveries to be made.

One of our most exciting moments of discovery occurred during a Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island Safari, a few years ago. Our travellers sighted more than 20 bowheads in a shallow bay. That is a lot of whale blubber, as a single bowhead can weigh up to 80,000 kilos (176,370 pounds) and grow as long as 18 meters (59 feet). After consulting one of Canada’s foremost bowhead researchers we learned that we had identified a bowhead whale molting sight. In the shallow water, the whales wallow rubbing their bodies to slough off dead skin.

Bowheads are denizens of the Arctic Ocean. You won’t see them in marine parks or zoos. You won’t encounter them on a whale-watching trip in the Baja or Canada’s East Coast. Even in the Arctic, a bowhead sighting is rare. We increase the odds of a sighting by knowing the places they frequent.

Knowing where Arctic wildlife is likely to be found and why…is the secret to our success as an Arctic trip provider. We use natural biology and the knowledge of local guides to plan our adventures and deliver extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities.

Earth Day – An Arctic Perspective – #EarthDay

April 22nd, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events, Global Warming

A pair of narwhal

A pair of narwhal

Happy Earth Day!

Wednesday April 22, 2015 marks the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day. It serves as the perfect reminder to educate yourself and do your part to help make a difference in the world we live in.

The Arctic is home to incredible wildlife and Arctic Kingdom is passionate about giving you the opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat, which is the reason we appreciate Earth Day and value everything it stands for. Earth Day’s year- round mission is to broaden, diversify and activate the environmental movement worldwide. A major focus of many campaigns is saving the Arctic and preserving the region’s rich biodiversity.

Earth Day – Consequences of Apathy

As climate change becomes progressively more threatening to Arctic wildlife, drastic changes need to be made to help save the environment. As the Earth warms up and the ice begins to melt, sea levels rise which has an impact on our coasts. Many Arctic species rely on sea ice to survive and the shift in temperature is making ice vanish at an alarming rate.

Within several decades, the Arctic Ocean ice cover is predicted to completely disappear during summer months, leaving many species without that necessity for survival. Polar bears, for example, rely on summer ice to hunt seals. Losing one of the Earth’s primary ecosystems leaves animals that rely on it with an uncertain future, which is the reason scientists predict that two-thirds of the polar bear population could be extinct by 2050.

Earth Day is a reminder that we all need to be conscious of our lifestyle and how it has a ripple effect on the rest of the world. Climate change not only affects countless creatures, it affects us all. The celebration of Earth Day is necessary to remind people of the importance of saving our planet and raise awareness of its need for protection. Let Earth Day be a lesson: You can make a difference that has the potential to result in global change.

For more information about Earth Day and how you can get involved and show your support, visit www.earthday.org.

Author: Mandy Ams

National Volunteer Week – April 12 to 18, 2105

April 11th, 2015 | By | Filed in Wildlife

Polar bear and cub

“A volunteer action is like a stone thrown in a lake: its effect has a direct impact. At the same time, like ripples, volunteer efforts reach out far and wide to improve communities. Undeniably, volunteers rock.” (volunteer.ca)

National Volunteer Week starts tomorrow

National Volunteer Week falls April 12- 18, 2015. It is a great opportunity to get involved in your community and help make a positive change. Since 1977, Volunteer Canada has been the national voice for volunteerism. The aim of the organization is to further volunteering and to encourage Canadians to get involved in their communities.

What have you done lately?

Let us pose a question to you: Have you done anything lately to support a cause you’re passionate about?

It doesn’t have to be as substantial as donating your entire paycheque to a non- profit fighting to save the Arctic (though donations are always welcome!), donating your time to a worthy cause is just as meaningful too.

Aiming the spotlight on the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), their mission is to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. As a volunteer, your time, talents and skills help maintain their mission.

Though most people are familiar with the larger global organizations, there are many smaller ones that are closer to home and need your help just as much, if not more. Cochrane, Ontario is home to the Polar Bear Habitat. They are dedicated to setting the highest standards for the conservation, care and well- being of polar bears. Currently looking to expand, the Polar Bear Habitat relies on volunteers to wear various hats to ensure they provide the best environment for the bears.

Dedicating yourself to an incredible cause is such a gratifying experience. Volunteers are leading social change around the world and are such a valuable part of organizations. There is no time like the present to get involved and give yourself a rewarding experience while doing your part to help a cause that is close to your heart.

The best part is it’s easier to get involved than you think! Take action and click the links below for all the different ways you can help WWF and the Polar Bear Habitat reach their goals of protecting the world and all the creatures that call it home.

http://www.wwf.ca/takeaction/volunteer/

http://www.polarbearhabitat.ca/volunteer

To learn more about the significance of volunteering and how you can do your part in your community, visit www.volunteer.ca.

Author: Mandy Ams

Spring is in two days in the Northern Hemisphere

March 18th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events

Ringed Seal PupThose of us North of the Equator often forget that when Spring begins here, Fall or Autumn begins south of the equator. Our days are getting longer; those in the South are growing shorter. In the North elementary school children learn that the first day of Spring is the 21st of March. It is -but not always – 2015 is an exception. Spring arrives March 20 at :

  • 6:45 PM EDT
  • 5:45 PM CDT
  • 4:45 PM MDT
  • 3:45 PM PDT

Total Eclipse of the Sun – sung to the tune Total Eclipse of the Heart

In 2015 from the Faroe Islands to the North Pole, a rate total eclipse of the Sun will occur at the Vernal Equinox.  The next time that will happen is in 2034. (I apologize for the ear worm, by the way.) The Vernal Equinox is the technical term for the position of the Sun relative to Earth on the first day of Spring.

The New Moon Coincides with Spring this Year

Coinciding with the arrival of Spring 2015 is a New Moon. A new moon cannot be seen from Earth, because the moon’s night side is facing the planet. New moons rise and set at the same time as the sun. By the way, because it is the Equinox, there should be about 12 hours of daylight on the 20th. The sun will rise at 7 AM and set at 7:06 PM in eastern North America.

Taste of and Arctic Spring

An Arctic Spring is a unique experience. Birds return from a winter spent in the South to breed. Whales migrate to summer feeding grounds. Polar bears migrate too. Ice and snow linger longer, so snowmobiling and cross-country seasons are extended. To learn more about a Taste of the Arctic Spring.

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