June 15th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Expedition Leader Jane Whitney has sent us a report and photos from the floe edge
On our second trip to the Floe Edge, we had to pull our qamutik sleds over the dark open water leads between the big ice pans. Dozens of Northern Fulmars were feeding at the surface, while flocks of Black Guillemots twirled and landed. Ring seal slipped into the water and bobbed with curious eyes.
Great migrations of narwhal and icebergs
At the floe edge, we had stopped near two massive icebergs grounded in their travel from the Greenland icecap which made for a dramatic backdrop for the dozen Narwhal our guides had spotted. They were gone as quickly as they arrived, and so we waited. A large, 800 pound Bearded seal passed through, followed by even larger 3500 pound Atlantic Walrus.
It was lunch time, and our chef was frying up open faced Beef Burgers with onion and gravy with a warm wild mixed mushroom soup. Someone in the group pointed out excitedly the Polar Bear Sow coming our way with two of this year’s stark white cubs in tow. We tripped in excitement, the setting was so perfect. The mother bear would not stay for long however, and left quickly with her cubs in tow. What a show for lunch!
We would see bear after bear approach from the east, most making their way south to the seal they could smell nearly 5 km away. One of the bears was making it’s way through the rough shore ice toward us. We silently clicked away with our cameras. It took it’s time, coming ever so slowly. At one point it stood up to get a better view of us, and it had to be nearly 9 feet tall. Down it went and made it’s way to the water, entering ever so slowly, lying on it’s belly, head first, rear paws faced skyward the last to enter. The ice it swam to was thin enough it took a few attempts to get on, and once up, the bear shook three times, water droplets flying. The bear slide into the water on the other side of the ice and slowly swam across the vision of our binoculars and long lenses. We watch a seal approach the bear, and both passed each other as if they hadn’t a care in the world. Later we would paddled our kayaks to a pan of ice where we climbed out to see the bear move across another, bigger, jagged pan of ice. Coming back, we marveled at the different shades of blue of the sculpted ice in the Arctic waters. By the end of the day we had counted 8 bears.
We had a lot of fun this week together, enjoying our new friendships. Gavin helped us celebrate the week by barbequing grilled vegetables with seared Arctic air dried strip loin steak over buttermilk whipped mash potato au jus at the ice edge. The whales were a little late for the after dinner show, but the Beluga did show up…maybe 15 to 20 blowing so much water out of their blowholes before diving under the pack ice where we stood to feed.
What was amazing was we could hear their blows under the ice in the air pockets they found there.
The Great Migrations of Lancaster Sound
June 6th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES
May 29 – June 4, 2015
After threading our way through the beautifully sculpted blue and white pressure ice, we were one of the first to reach the floe edge this season. We could see the mountains upholstered in white of the uninhabited Devon Island across the dark waters of Lancaster Sound. Proposed as a World Heritage site, Lancaster Sound is located along the Northwest Passage in the eastern Arctic Ocean. At Latitude 74°. several millions of seabirds depend on the nutrient rich waters here, as does the endangered Bowhead whale, tens of thousands of Beluga and thousands of Narwhal. The ice we stood on has us looking over walls of stacked ice chunks, as if a bulldozer piled them up 30 feet high. In silence, we could hear the current move the ice pans past our perch. Two walrus swim by, their wrinkled brown face adorned with vibrissae and tusks. Silent flocks of King and Common Eider wing by. The high calls of Black Guillemots break the silence. We wait patiently, hoping to see some whale. We wait until it’s time to go. As we go to start the snowmobile we hear the blows…..and run to look. And there they came…first the Beluga, then the Narwhal. They were everywhere. The smell of fish oil filled the air. The spray from their blowholes back lit in the evening light. We stood there for hours watching the spectacle. There were likely 300 + whales a stone’s throw away.
Author: Jane Whitney
June 4th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in IN THE NEWS
Raw research from the waters off Torngat Mountains National Park
“To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.”
–Mission of the United Nations Environment Programme
Friday June 5, 2015 is World Environment Day! World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually to raise global awareness on the importance of protecting our planet. Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme, World Environment Day is the United Nations’ channel for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment.
Founded on June 5, 1972, the first World Environment Day was celebrated the following year in 1973 and since then, has been celebrated each year in a new city with a different theme. Since its inception, the UNEP is aware of the importance of saving our planet and work to inform the public on climate change, disasters and conflict, ecosystem management, chemicals and waste and environmental governance.
In 2012, Sustainable Development Goals were introduced. SDGs represent universally applicable goals that balance three elements of sustainable development: the environmental, the social and the economic. Working cohesively to achieve the maximum effect, these elements are integrated in the belief that they represent the foundation of suitable development.
World Environment Day - how you can help
As we celebrate World Environment Day, think about the changes you can make in your lifestyle that will have a positive effect on the world around you. Use the hashtag #WED2015 to join in the conversation and let the social media world know what steps you’re taking to help make a difference and achieve positive change.
For more information on World Environment Day and the United Nations Environment Programme’s plan for their 2015 celebration, visit the UN Environment Program.
Author: Mandy Ams
June 3rd, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK NEWS
Calling all global jet setters! Have you ever thought about what it might be like to take your private aircraft to the Canadian Arctic? If you’re looking for an exclusive trip, designed specifically to your preferences and guaranteed to be the only one of its kind, look no further. Arctic Kingdom can organize every aspect of your custom expedition, assuring that it will be unique.
Having access to a private aircraft will save you a great deal of time. You have the added bonus of customizing your arrival and departure flights and tailoring them to your specific agenda. If you have a limited amount of vacation time, we’ll work our magic because it’s actually possible to get a taste of the Arctic in as little as four days! Taking advantage of your personal aircraft ensures that you will get the most out of your vacation. You will have more time to indulge in what the Arctic has to offer.
Getting the best flights can sometimes be a big headache! The simplicity of flying on your own personal aircraft has a large appeal for busy individuals who demand convenience.
Go where few have gone before by Private Jet
The Arctic has kilometers upon kilometers that are still unexplored, even today, when Google Maps seems to have covered the Earth. The benefit of using Arctic Kingdom to design private jet adventure is that you can go where no one has gone before. Email us and we’ll organize every aspect to make your dream Arctic vacation a reality.
Author: Mandy Ams
May 29th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK NEWS
Every parent is searching for the ideal family trip, one that’s fun, educational and provides the perfect atmosphere for family bonding. Look no further than an Arctic adventure! We understand the challenge parents face trying to find a vacation that keeps their children engaged and entertained, yet doesn’t conflict with the school schedule. Outlined below are the three best trips that are packed with family- friendly fun!
The June Family Trip - Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari
With dates in June, the Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari is an unforgettable opportunity to witness narwhals and polar bears in their natural habitat. Families will be able to observe a cultural presentation of Inuit throat singing, drum dancing and storytelling by local elders. Your children will have the chance to interact with Inuit children and be taught what it’s like to be young in the Arctic while learning about the amazing history of the region. This expedition is truly unforgettable and the firsthand educational value is immeasurable.
The August Family Trip - Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island
August is another ideal time for a family vacation, serving as a nice wind- down before school starts again in September. The Polar Bears & Glaciers of Baffin Island expedition takes your family through the Arctic by land and sea, allowing you to get the best sighting of the Arctic. Go blueberry picking during the day and enjoy a feast of Arctic char at night. Visit beautiful Auyuittuq National Park and hike the foot of Coronation Fiord while bonding with your family over the beauty that surrounds you.
Polar Bear Migration Fly- In Photo Safari - The Family Trip in October and November
Whether you’re Canadian or American, the Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Photo Safari during October or November is a great Thanksgiving getaway for the family! Going away over Thanksgiving gives families the opportunity to take a holiday without your children missing much school. Spend five days and four nights in Arctic Kingdom’s Polar Bear Cabins situated on the coast of Hudson Bay. While there, your family will have the chance to get up close and personal with polar bears, Arctic fox and caribou and enjoy the magical display of the Northern Lights.
In Iqaluit, Baffin Island in addition to the three trips listed, your family could learn to build an igloo, kayak, snorkel or fish for dinner! Our Arctic Weekend Getaways
deliver memorable moments over a long weekend. PD Day long weekends will never be the same after a trip to the Arctic!
May 24th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Current Trips
1) Barren and Isolated
Myth busted: Stunning landscapes, rich in wildlife, wild berries carpet the tundra, vibrant Inuit culture
The first words that often come to mind when thinking about the Arctic: barren and isolated. Looking around, you’re not going to see skyscrapers and street signs, which is the reason many people are reluctant to trek up north. Despite the sparse surroundings, countless wildlife survive and make the Great White North home. For thousands of years Inuit share and live off the same land. If an entire culture is able to thrive year-round, the Arctic really can’t be completely barren or isolated. We’ll design a custom trip for you dare you so you can see for yourself!
2) Difficult to Access
Myth busted: There are daily scheduled flights - from Ottawa the Arctic is just a 3-hour flight!
Are you under the impression that the Arctic is next to impossible to get to? Do commercial airlines even fly that far north? We have news for you! There are daily commercial flights out of numerous international airports across Canada. Depending on where you’re headed, there are direct flights out of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. From Ottawa, the Arctic is only a three-hour flight away. Now that is accessible!
3) Cold Temperatures
Myth busted: Summer months are warm enough for t-shirts when the sun shines!
Even though the Arctic does see its fair share of frigid temperatures, the summer months actually get quite warm. July and August see temperatures anywhere from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). That means that you could be hanging out in the Arctic in a t-shirt! We bet you never thought that was a possibility!
Visit the Canadian Arctic this summer
Now that the top 3 Arctic myths have been debunked, there is nothing holding you back from experiencing the undoubtedly one-of-a-kind adventure to the Arctic! You won’t feel deserted, you can easily catch a direct flight and you might not be as cold as you initially thought! So, what are you waiting for? Email us to request a custom-designed itinerary
Author: Mandy Ams
May 19th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Featured Trip, Inuit Culture/Art
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 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 band
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.
May 12th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in AK NEWS
May 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
May 10th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Wildlife
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
May 5th, 2015 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Wildlife Migrations: Polar Bears, Narwhal and Caribou
Migrating 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