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Expedition Leader Report: Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage

June 6th, 2015 | By | 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.

Great Migrations, 2015

Author: Jane Whitney

World Environment Day – June 5, 2015

June 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS

Raw research from the waters off Torngat Mountains National Park

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

The Canadian Arctic by Private Jet

June 3rd, 2015 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK NEWS

JaegerCalling 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.

Save Time

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.

Convenience

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

The Top 3 Family Trips to the Arctic

May 29th, 2015 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK NEWS

Pond InletEvery 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!

Top 3 Myths About the Arctic

May 24th, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Trips

Iceberg

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

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.
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