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Narwhal Facts – Cliches & Curiosities

January 11th, 2016 | By | Filed in Featured Trip

A pair of narwhal surface

Narwhal Facts – The Cliche

Google it. You’ll see the number one cliche about narwhal is that they are “the unicorn of the sea.” This Arctic whale – has never been successfully kept in captivity. You must visit their habitat to see them.

Narwhal Facts – The Science

Qilalugaq tugaalik is the Inuktituk name for narwhal. Scientists refer to them as monodon monoceros. Females give birth to a single calf that they have carried for up to 16 months, and nurse their calf for over a year. Mating occurs between March and May. They are social mammals, travelling in pods of 10 to 100. Although seeing a pod of 100 is a rare sight, we have witnessed it at our camp near Pond Inlet.

Narwhal Facts – That single tusk may be a sensory device

The tusk is actually a tooth, which is the reason that narwhal are classified as toothed-whales. The World Wildlife Fund research collaborators have discovered that the spiral tooth may have as many as 10 million nerve endings inside.

Narwhal Facts: Can narwhal have more than one tusk?

Though rare, yes, some narwhal grow a pair of tusks.

More Narwhal Facts

  • The world population of narwhal is between 40 and 50 thousand
  • The majority winter under the ice in the Davis Strait or Baffin Bay region
  • Narwhal feed on Greenland halibut, shrimp, squid and other fish

Arctic Kingdom’s Tom Lennartz honoured by Conde Nast

January 6th, 2016 | By | Filed in Uncategorized

Conde Nast ExperiencesEvery year, the influential travel magazine Conde Nast selects Experience Makers – travel professionals that the magazine has identified as experts in their field. Our own Tom Lennartz was on the 2015 list.

You will note that he was recognized for the depth of his knowledge of expedition ships. Tom is equally adept at creating private expeditions to the remote reaches of the world. On ships or land!

Tom Lennartz has worked with captains of industry

We aren’t allowed to brag about Tom’s network of the rich and famous. We can tell you that he has arranged private journeys for major documentarians, captains of industry, royalty and famous movie stars.

Tom Lennartz has spent his entire life outdoors – diving, snowmobiling, swimming with whales and leading expeditions. That depth of knowledge and experience is at your service, whenever he creates a custom tour.

Tom is a family man, so he is sensitive to the needs of parents who want to create lasting family memories when they travel.

Congratulations, Tom!

A Message about email for our American and European Fans

December 17th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK NEWS

Email Opt-inWe like to keep in touch with you through our e-Newsletter. But it is becoming difficult, because we are a Canadian company. The Canadian Government has legislated that any company sending commercial e-messages – like our e-newsletter – must use a double-opt-in confirmation system. The laws that govern this are known here as CASL.

What is a double-opt-in email confirmation system?

When you subscribe to our e-Newsletter, a confirmation email is sent to you. This message goes out before we send you the e-Newsletter. You must click on the link in the email to receive the newsletter. Once you have clicked on the confirmation email, you’ll never receive a confirmation message again. If you don’t, you will continue to receive a confirmation email every time you ask us for something. And you will never get the information that you require.

The double-opt-in tell us that you really want the information and allows us to continue to keep you informed. To receive a double-opt-in email, complete this form.

Help us keep in touch with you, please.

Those of you familiar with electronic messaging can see the Catch-22 we are in. We cannot send you a message explaining why you need to confirm your e-address. Not until you have confirmed your e-address! We really need your help to sort this out.

Please note that if you have already confirmed your email, you will not receive a confirmation email!

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.

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