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Our newest polar bear cabin, only for private adventures!

November 11th, 2015 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

Guest wing of our private polar bear cabin
Just south of Arviat, Nunavut, right in the path of the migration of Hudson Bay polar bears, is our newest cabin. The cabin is available only for private, custom adventures: a family of four; flour close friends; or a couple looking for an accessible, yet remote romantic private getaway.

The guest wing has a fully equipped kitchen and an open concept living space, with large windows that let you watch the polar bears strolling by, just outside the electric fence. Completely self-contained, the cabin has staff quarters, where your personal chef and expedition leader stay. The daily itinerary is customized to your energy level, local conditions and the presence of absence of bears.

Private cabin kitchenYou and your travelling companions will hike the frozen tundra or enjoy a snowmobile ride when the bears are not around. When bears are present the electric fence allows you to take face-to-face photos of the polar bears. Their natural curiosity may draw them close to the fence. Or they could ignore your presence completely, content to wait for the ice to form on the bay.

How to get to our polar bear cabin
The public spaceFly to Arviat from Winnipeg, MB, the international gateway for this trip. We meet you at the airport and transport you privately to the cabin. Because this will be a private expedition, we build the trip around your flight schedule, even booking a private charter flight from Winnipeg to Arviat, if you prefer.

The benefits of a private adventure
Custom-designing a family adventure ensures that the menus match your taste or special needs. The trip can be as long or short as you like – made to measure for school vacations or honeymoons. You won’t be standing in line for the best picture angle. If you feel like sleeping in rather than participating in the daily activities – you can – because this is your trip done your way.

Canadian Rangers – Thank you for your service

November 10th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Events

On the eve of Remembrance Day, we honour members of the 1st Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. 1 CRPG members patrol the Arctic territories and Atlin, British Columbia. Headquartered in Yellowknife, NWT, under the command of Major Craig Volstad, the First is tasked with patrolling 40% of Canada’s landmass.

According to the official website, the mission of the Canadian Rangers is:

provide lightly equipped, self sufficient, mobile forces in support of Canadian forces sovereignty and domestic operation tasks in Canada.

Members assist in Search and Rescue when required. They are role models for young people and are often found in leadership roles in their home communities. Read more about the 1 CRPG patrols here.

Arctic Kingdom thanks members of 1 CRPG for their service. We will be marking Remembrance Day, tomorrow, November 11 at 11 AM. We encourage all our followers to stand in silent respect at that time for 2 minutes to honour those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.

The Freighter Canoe – Uniquely Canadian, Uniquely Northern

November 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in Arctic History, Trips

Freighter canoe, Eeyou Istchee

Freighter canoe with the Canots Nor-West decal.

Freighter canoes are hybrids, part motor-boat, part canoe. They are large, long and oddly beautiful. Note the straight stern, on which an outboard engine can be attached. The photo to the right was taken on the eastern shore of James Bay in the Cree territory known as Eeyou Istchee.

The people of Waskaganish, a small coastal Cree village on the southern coast of Eeyou Istchee, has a 300 year history of building canoes designed to carry the freight associated with the fur trade. It is thought that the current design was based on those more traditional canoes used by the Hudson Bay Company.

Igloolik Freighter CanoeWhat those of us in the south often forget is that the North is Canada’s third sea coast. James Bay and its northern and larger extension – Hudson Bay – are subject to strong winds, ice and currents. The motorized freighter canoe was designed to navigate that treacherous seacoast.

The photo to the left was taken in the summer of 2015 near Igloolik, an Inuit community far north of Hudson Bay on the banks of the Northwest Passage. Our Kings of the Arctic Safari is staged there. Riding in the canoe are members of our Field Staff, showing off their skill in the canoe that Northern peoples have adopted as their own.

The Arctic’s Big 5

October 23rd, 2015 | By | Filed in Trips

Walrus and PupTravellers to Africa talk about the Big 5: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and the Cape Buffalo. These are the five animals that earned a reputation as the hardest to bag when trophy hunting. In the digital age, in the Canadian Arctic the Big 5 are wildlife that are extremely difficult to photograph in the wild.

The Arctic’s Big 5

Narwhal, the single-tusked whales that inspired the legend of the unicorn, are wary of the sound of engine motors. They will dive to great depths rather than encounter curious photographers hanging over the side of a boat.

Polar bears are migratory. Their home territories are massive, larger than any other type of bear. To see them in the wild takes an understanding of their natural behaviour.
Bowhead whale is the largest whale in the Arctic Ocean, yet are seldom visible. They slough dead skin from their bodies annually, a sight that is seldom scene.

Walrus live in the Arctic all year round. They need sea ice, like the polar bear, to survive. Due to shrinking sea ice, 35,000 female walrus and their calves were photographed congregating on a beach in 2014. The largest gathering ever recorded.

Beluga, white whales with comical faces, spend summers in the Arctic Ocean, when the ice has melted. They migrate south to avoid freeze up. To see them in the Far North, we depend on the local knowledge of Inuit, who have hunted them for centuries.

Safaris to see the Arctic Big 5

Extend the snowmobile season into April

September 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Featured Trip, Sports, TECHNOLOGY

Snowmobile Weekend in the ArcticIn 2016, you can extend the snowmobile season into April by booking one of our new Arctic Snowmobile Weekends. Designed specifically for snowmobile enthusiasts, these new trips can accommodate beginners or experienced drivers.

Discover Baffin Island

This 3 night/4 day snowmobile adventure is suitable for all skill levels. Iqaluit, Nunavut’s territorial capital, is the base for two full-day excursions on sea ice and frozen tundra. Air fare from Ottawa is included in the package price, as is the use of a snowmobile for both excursions. You can read more about Discover Baffin Island here.

Iqaluit to Kimmirut Circuit

This 3 night/4 day snowmobile road trip is for experienced snowmobilers, who love cross-country journeys to places they have never been. Air fare from Ottawa is included in the price of this trip too, as is the use of a snowmobile. After a night in Iqaluit, participants drive across the sea ice of Frobisher Bay to the Meta Incognita peninsula for a land crossing to Kimmirut. Known as an artists’ colony, Kimmirut is situated close to the migration route of belgua and bowhead whales. You’ll spend the night in Kimmirut, before returning by snowmobile to Iqaluit. Read more about the Iqaluit to Kimmirut Circuit here.

Snowmobile Safety First

We have posted on our website 5 things you need to know about snowmobiling in the Arctic. Number 1? Safety first. The Arctic is not safe for snowmobile cowboys who disregard the rules of the trail. If, however, you love blue skies, crisp air and the sound of engines roaring along a wilderness trail, then these exclusive snowmobile weekends will make your heart beat faster.

What is the plural of walrus?

August 23rd, 2015 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

Walrus and PupThe plural of walrus is walruses or walrus. Either is acceptable, although walruses appears to be the more common use. The word was first referenced in 1728. Despite the “us” ending, the origin is Dutch or Norwegian, not Latin.

Walrus, A keystone species

Take a guess at the favourite month of a walrus. Given their mustached appearance, it’s safe to assume it’s Movember! Aside from their bristly appearance, walruses are also part of the exclusive club of animals that have tusks. They are considered a ‘keystone species’ in the Arctic marine regions, meaning they play a critical role in maintaining the structure of the ecosystem.

Walruses are an extremely social animal and are typically observed near the Arctic Circle lying on the ice and congregating with their many companions. Adult walruses are distinguished not only by their elongated canines but also their blubbery body and their prominent whiskers. Walruses like to bellow and snort and can also turn aggressive during mating season, using their tusks in self defense and to demonstrate dominance. As expected, the bigger the tusks, the more dominant the male. The male with the largest tusks is typically the leader of social groups and holds the most power.

Because walruses have limited diving abilities, it means that they depend on shallow water and ice floes to access their food supply. Their tusks are also practical when forming holes in the Arctic ice, acting as an aid to help walruses haul out of the water.

The Arctic air is frigid and the water is just as chilling but luckily for walruses, they are insulated from the cold because of the blubber stored beneath their skin. Walruses are also capable of slowing down their heartbeats in order to endure the temperature, thus allowing them to live comfortably and continue to be a prevalent presence in the Arctic.

Quick Stats:

  • Walruses live 20- 30 years in the wild
  • Orcas and polar bears are the walrus’ only two natural predators
  • Tusks are present in both male and female walruses and can reach a length of over three feet
  • Males can weigh up to 3700 lbs while females can weigh up to 2700 lbs
  • The walrus population was severely reduced due to hunting but has since rebounded -The worldwide walrus population is roughly 250,000

Check Them Out!

Interested in checking out the walruses? Arctic Kingdom offers various trips that allow you to see these stunning creatures including: Kings of the Arctic where you can observe walruses sunning themselves on ice floes!

Author: Mandy Ams

Discovery Day – Yukon – August 17, 2015

August 17th, 2015 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

Unlike other parts of Canada that celebrate their civic holiday on the first Monday in August, Yukon’s Discovery Day is on the third Monday in August, falling on August 17, 2015 this year. Discovery Day is a public holiday commemorating the anniversary of the discovery of gold in Bonanza Creek in the 19th century.

Discovery Day activities are held throughout the territory in places such as Watson Lake and Dawson City. Watson Lake is known as the ‘gateway to Yukon recreation’ while Dawson City is considered the heart of the Klondike gold rush. Discovery Day serves as the main theme behind various events, such as family days, fun runs, golf tournaments and festivals while Dawson City plays host to historical street theatre.

The history of Yukon’s Discovery Day can be traced back to George Carmack, Dawson Charlie and Skookum Jim discovering gold at Bonanza Creek on August 17, 1896. This discovery triggered a gold rush in North America with nearly 100,000 would-be prospectors visiting the Klondike region in the following years. However, due to companies using mechanical mining techniques in the early 20th century, many miners were replaced and out of work. By 1903, when the gold rush ended, nearly 95 million dollars had been extracted from Yukon’s rivers.

After the gold rush concluded, the Yukon Order of Pioneers persuaded Yukon’s Territorial Council to celebrate Discovery Day as a public holiday in 1911. In 1912, Discovery Day was a big event that was celebrated with many activities like parades, speeches, a football game and a dance.

Dawson City, Yukon, Today

Today, Dawson City is a lively place boasting many heritage sites and attractions. Still evident in this authentic frontier town are the days of perseverance, heartache and dreams coming true during the legendary Klondike Gold Rush.

To learn more about the gold rush, Yukon’s Discovery Day and if there’s a chance that you could strike it rich today, visit Travel Yukon.

Ice Grizzlies of the Yukon
is available as a custom adventure.

Snowy Owls: Harry Potter’s Owl

August 15th, 2015 | By | Filed in Uncategorized, Wildlife

snowy owl and Arctic fox
Native to the Arctic region in North America and Eurasia, Snowy Owls have thick plumage, heavily-feathered, taloned feet and light colouration making them well-adapted for life in the chilly Arctic. Although Snowy Owls are thought to be completely white to blend into their surroundings, it is actually the males that are white while females and young owls have more flecks of grey.

Snowy Owls are opportunistic hunters

Snowy owls are classified as opportunistic hunters. Based on the climate, their prey may vary considerably, feeding on just about anything they can get their talons from deer mice to muskrats. Unlike most owls, Harry Potter’s owl is diurnal, using daylight and dark nights to search for prey. Their keen eyesight and excellent hearing serves as an asset since they are able to identify their kill beneath the snow and vegetation. The Snowy Owls’ tactic is a patient ‘sit and wait’ approach in contrast to predators that seek and follow their prey until the ideal time to attack. Once their efforts have paid off, like many other birds, these owls will swallow their small prey whole.

Parenting style

Both males and females are very protective of their nests during nesting season. Although Snowy Owls have few predators, the males are constantly on guard while the female incubates the eggs. Approaching predators can expect to be attacked by both sexes. Snowy Owls will dive-bomb in an attempt to distract the unwelcome predator away from their offspring. It is in part because of the Snowy Owls’ protective instincts that they are considered in least concern of becoming an endangered species.

Quick Stats:

  • Snowy owls are one of the largest species of owl and the heaviest in North America
  • Their wingspan is 1.4 to 1.7 meters (4.5 to 5.5 feet)
  • Female snowy owls can lay a clutch of anywhere from 3 to 11 eggs
  • Lifespan in the wild is just over nine years
  • Longest lifespan in captivity is 28 years
  • Check Them Out!

    Interested in checking out Snowy Owls? Arctic Kingdom offers various trips that allow you to see these stunning creatures including: Hiking in the Auyuittuq National Park where you can get a firsthand view of Snowy Owls and their nests during the summer months! [There is no chance of seeing Harry Potter, however.]

    Author: Mandy Ams

International Left-Handers Day – August 13, 2015

August 13th, 2015 | By | Filed in Sports, Trips

Kayaking in the narwhal summer feeding groundsAugust 13, 2015 marks the 22nd Anniversary of International Left-Handers Day. This day is a way to honour all the lefties out there and the everyday struggles they face living in a right-handed world.

Most ordinary products are created and aimed to support right-handed people, as that is the dominant hand of 87% of the world. So what do all the lefties do? Right-handed kayak paddles, for instance, are more common than those geared for left-handed kayakers. Just like a right-handed paddler controls most movements with their right-hand, a left-handed paddler controls most movements with their left. The blades of the paddle are set dependent upon the neutral position of the dominant hand and the paddle would then naturally face the kayaker. The difference is visible in which hand you grip and rotate with.

Kayaking is just one example of the struggles lefties face living in a right-handed world. Paddles and other sports equipment for left-handed athletes aren’t as available as they are for right-handed ones. This results in discomfort and a handicap that has an effect on the athlete enjoying their sport. Though, fortunately enough, there are kayak paddles specifically designed for left-handed enthusiasts, a lot of sports discourage participation and limit the athlete’s ability unless they are right-handed.

Interesting Facts about Lefties:

  • About 13% of the population around the world are left-handed and it is thought to be genetic
  • There is a high tendency in twins for one to be left-handed
  • Stuttering and dyslexia occur more often in left-handers (particularly if they are forced to change their writing hand as a child)
  • Left-handers adjust more readily to seeing underwater

To mark International left-handers day, if you are a rightie, try using your left hand for the day!

Looking for kayaking inspiration? Try this >
Author: Mandy Ams

Arctic Foxes: The Clowns of the Tundra

July 31st, 2015 | By | Filed in Uncategorized, Wildlife

Arctic Fox

Photo: R J Sauer

Undoubtedly, the Arctic is not an easy place to survive with its deep-winter frigid temperatures and seemingly barren landscape. Arctic foxes are extremely well-adapted to the harsh environment. They have thick fur which enables them to maintain a consistent body temperature and provides excellent insulation. Their paws have fur on the soles, adding extra protection against the frozen ground and helping them walk on ice. Their noticeably bushy tail is useful as a warm cover. Arctic foxes also have a very compact body shape, with small ears and a short muzzle and legs which minimizes the surface area exposed to winter air.

Arctic Foxes: Excellent Hunters

Arctic foxes are extremely well- known for their hunting style. They use their outstanding hearing to pinpoint small animals moving under the snow, pouncing until they catch their prey. Another advantage for Arctic foxes is that their fur changes colours with the seasons. In the winter, their white fur helps them blend into snowy surroundings while their greyish brown fur is similar to the environment during the summer months. When hunting tactics fail, cheeky Arctic foxes have been known to follow in the footsteps of the premier predator, the polar bear, and feed on leftover scraps.

Quick Stats:

  • The Arctic fox has the warmest pelt of any animal in the Arctic, enduring temperatures as low as -50°C
  • They are carnivores and scavengers
  • Arctic foxes live in underground burrows that can have up to 100 entrances and have likely been used by numerous prior generations
  • Females tend to be smaller than males
  • Arctic foxes are monogamous animals and have one mate for life
  • They don’t hibernate and are active year- round
  • The Arctic fox’s approximate lifespan is three to six years in the wild

Check Them Out!

Interested in checking out the Arctic foxes? Arctic Kingdom offers various trips that allow you to see these stunning creatures including: Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari where you go on guided hikes of the tundra. Keep your eye open for the clowns of the tundra.

Author: Mandy Ams

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