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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.

Arctic char – a Northern delicacy

March 4th, 2015 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Sports

Freshly caught Arctic charThe Latin name for Arctic char is Salvelinus alpinus, a fish by any other name would taste as delicious. [Shakespeare, please forgive me.] I prefer it to salmon. Have you tried some? I like it grilled in butter and served with freshly ground black pepper.

If you have a great Arctic char recipe, please share it in the comments

This species of fish is an excellent source of protein and Omega-3. You can substitute it for salmon in your favourite recipe. Arctic char are members of the salmonidae family that includes salmon, trout, graylings and freshwater whitefishes. They spawn in freshwater, some spend most of their lives at sea, yet some are landlocked their entire lives. Arctic char are the most northerly distributed freshwater fish. Much of the Arctic char available in your local supermarket is farm raised. To truly appreciate the unique taste you should try wild Arctic char.

Now you can consult an Arctic Kingdom Certified Polar Advisor (AKCPA)

February 20th, 2015 | By | Filed in AK NEWS

AKCPA BadgeSome travellers prefer to make arrangements through travel professionals. We support that choice. So much so that we have introduced a travel agent education program that entitles graduates to call themselves Arctic Kingdom Certified Polar Advisors. AKCPA for short. Only travel professionals who have attended specific training sessions and passed an exam are entitled to use the AKCPA designation. They are specialists who are passionate about polar travel and especially Arctic Kingdom's menu of adventures. You'll receive excellent advice when asking questions about what to expect, what to wear or when to see the Northern Lights.

Why consult an AKCPA

Every AKCPA is a subject matter expert, able to answer questions, make suggestions and book the Arctic Kingdom trip that will best suit you. They receive the latest information about changes and new trips. Look for the AKCPA badge on business cards and websites of travel professionals in your neighbourhood. It is a sure sign of knowledgeable professional.

Are polar bears dangerous?

February 19th, 2015 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Current Trips

Polar bear and cubThomas Lennartz is an experienced expedition leader who has been an important part of the Arctic Kingdom family for a very long time. We were chatting the other day about the reputation of polar bears as dangerous creatures. An undeserved reputation according to Tom. On the islands of Svalbard, where Norway's polar bear population resides there is a precautionary principle: Keep your distance. Norwegians take seriously their stewardship of the Svalbard polar bear population. So seriously that they have published a how-to manual for visiting their polar bear territory.

Human behaviour toward polar bears can be dangerous

The answer to the question "are polar bears dangerous" lies somewhere in between Svalbard's "Polar bears are potentially dangerous animals" and Tom's belief that their reputation is undeserved. The key is found in our behaviour as travellers through polar bear habitat. Baiting, pursuing or approaching polar bears feeding are three behaviours that will bring out the beast in the bears. Quietly observing polar bears in a non-threatening manner as they go about their normal activities will keep a bear calm. So calm in fact that the polar bear may ignore you completely. That is the perfect opportunity to take the money shot, like the one that illustrates this post. The smell of breakfast cooking that drifts from a camp can draw a polar bear. The smell of bacon brings me into the kitchen from wherever I've been. So we shouldn't be surprised that a polar bear reacts just like us! When you travel with us on any of our polar bear trips, you'll be in the hands of experts who know how to behave in polar bear country.

International Polar Bear Day – February 27, 2015

February 18th, 2015 | By | Filed in Conservation

Mother polar bear and cub

Mother and cub

What might be considered Arctic Kingdom's favourite day of the year occurs in one week: International Polar Bear Day. Polar Bears are truly international as they are circumpolar - found everywhere in the Arctic. Did you know they are protected by an international agreement - The International Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears and their Habitat. The Polar Bear Administrative Committee (PBAC) is the Canadian organization that coordinates the efforts of provincial, territorial and federal governments to do their part to protect the marine mammals. Canadians play an important part in the protection of polar bears, 60% of the world's population of polar bears inhabit the Canadian Arctic. The Province of Manitoba, a member of the PBAC, has established an International Polar Bear Conservation Centre in Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. Polar bear husbandry - the care and health of polar bears - is researched at the centre. The facility is also a transition centre for orphaned or injured polar bear cubs. You can mark International Polar Bear Day by donating to organizations that work to protect polar bears or by making a change in your life style. Leave a smaller carbon footprint. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Take a refillable mug to your favourite copy shop. Teach your kids the importance of environmental responsibility. We contribute to the protection of polar bears through education. No matter which of our polar bear trips a traveller chooses, he or she will return home with a better understanding of the impact that their daily lives have on the habitat of polar bears. Education is essential for conservation.
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