December 7th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Diving, Media
environmental responsibility is an important pillar of our business. We thank the people of VactionIdea.com for naming us as one of the 25 coolest green destinations
Our travellers are face-to-face with the environment as our photo indicates. To keep the environment pristine enough to return year after year, our standard operating procedures must accommodate human waste, garbage, fossil fuels and the cleanliness of the water through which we paddle and dive.
Read about our stand on conservation
December 2nd, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Current Events
Did you follow our Tweets during the premier episode of the Polar Sea last night? This 10-part series, produced with Canadian and German money, is occupying the TVO's 9pm slot for 10 nights, Monday through Friday, until December 12, 2014.
The premise is that three Swedish friends will sail the Dax from Iceland through Canada's Northwest Passage, a mid-life quest documented every step of the way by an invisible camera crew. Spoiler alert: Problems were foreshadowed during last night's episode - and not just Global Warming. (According to the documentary, Greenland is a hot bed for climate change research.) During their sail from Reykjavik to Ilulissat they encountered an Arctic storm that tossed their ship and the adventurers about. When they limped into port, their comms were down and the engine was unreliable. The mouth of the Northwest Passage was still hundreds of miles away.
The first rule of Arctic exploration is self-sufficiency, even today in a GPS world. The crew of the Dax had stocked the galley, undertook routine engine maintenance, but they were far from ready to face the unforgiving forces of the Arctic: Adventurers 0, Arctic 1.
We've been working in the Arctic for 15 years, on the edge of ice floes and under the ocean surface. We've provided logistics for film crews and researchers. We know that an ice free Northwest Passage is not a trouble free Northwest Passage. The intrepid trio aboard the Dax did not.
Even if they had asked our advice, I expect they would not have taken it. That's the thing about adventuring, it conquers caution.
November 12th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Featured Trip, Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis, Photographers
Jason Hillier, lover of Northern Lights, kept a journal while sailing for 17 days aboard our charter vessel M V Cap Race.
Northern Lights through rigging
Northern Lights at sea
From Makkovik, recharged we sailed through the Strait of Belle Isle. Labrador was on our starboard and the island of Newfoundland was on the port side. I was tantalizing close to home, but not close enough. Throughout the voyage, the Northern Lights could be seen dancing in the sky.
One strong advantage to chartering a vessel to sail exactly when and where you want is creating outstanding photo opportunities. I will return home with an amazing collection of pictures of Northern Lights over the Atlantic Ocean.
From the Strait of Belle Isle we sailed for two days, observing dolphins, whales and countless seabirds, including the colourful puffin. We arrived in the French port of Ste. Pierre the morning of September 17. Yes, you read that right, France. Off the south coast of Newfoundland, Ste. Pierre and Miquelon are two islands owned by France. Visiting this little bit of Europe in North America was a unique way to end a spectaculair sail tthrough the Arctic and along the east coast of Canada.
November 10th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Diving, Featured Trip, Recent Trips, SCIENCE, Scientists
Torngat Mountains National Park is the third entry in a series of posts from the journal of Arctic Kingdom's Jason Hillier who spent 17 days aboard our charter vessel M V Cape Race in the company of researchers.
Raw research from the waters off Torngat Mountains National Park
Sunshine Fiord - Torngat Mountains National Park
As we sailed the coastline of Torngat Mountains National Park we encountered amazing fiords, most notably Sunshine Fiord. We had to hole up overnight there to escape some wind. We had crossed the Davis Strait and made a beeline for Labrador in order to get the researchers on shore and the dive team in the water again.
We had a great day of sampling, and diving in the waters just off the Park. The epic scenery and the mountains of Torngat, especially Seven Islands Bay, was a great backdrop to a spectacular day and we even knocked off a couple more successful dives.
The sailing continued past Saglek Basecamp
. After dropping off our Parks Canada crew, we made our way to Makkovik
for fuel, water and supplies. Makkovik is an Inuit community on the coast of Labrador. It was great to be on land again, but our researchers never tired and we were able to squeeze in three dives. A great inter-tidaling-sample effort from our shore team meant that they came home with not only specimens but fresh berries. A delicious treat!
November 7th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Current Trips, Diving, Filmmakers, Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis
Aboard our charter vessel M V Cape Race, Jason Hillier, one of Arctic Kingdom's senior Team Members, spent 17 days sailing from Baffin Island to Newfoundland. He shared his log entries with us.
Northern Lights from our charter vessel MV Cape Race
September 2, 2014 - at sea on charter vessel M V Cape Race
With two quick dives under our belts, on Day 2 we leave Qikiqtarjuaq, the iceberg capital of Nunavut, in fine style as a dazzling display of Northern Lights dance in the night sky. Our charter vessel, MV Cape Race, will sail all night to the next dive site on Baffin Island. "Qik" is the location of our Polar Bears and Glaciers of Baffin Island Safari.
The hamlet is one of the best places to see icebergs in Nunavut.
Our next land fall will be the Torngat Mountains, a few days sail away. Torngat is a corruption of the Inuktituk word Torngait, meaning "places of spirit." Torngat Mountains National Park is one of the most remote in Canada's national park system. During the summer, visitors must either charter a vessel or a plane. During the winter, access is possible by snowmobile.
MV Cape Race is available for charter for private expedition cruising, research or film making anywhere in the world.
November 6th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Diving, Projects, Recent Trips
Jason Hillier, one of Arctic Kingdom's senior Team Members, spent 17 days aboard our charter vessel M V Cape Race in September. He has shared his log entries with us.
M V Cape Race at sea
September 1, 2014 - Qikiqtarjuaq, NU - Day One aboard MV Cape Race
Today, we set sail on a "reverse" course of Arctic Kingdom's The Best of Labrador, Baffin Island and Greenland. Stepping out of the airport, I was struck by my luck; a sunny, warm day and no wind. It was a great day to get on a ship and start an adventure!
After meeting the crew, who had strolled up the road to the airport to find me, once they saw the plane land, we piled into a Zodiac to make our way to my home for the next 17 days.
We were sailing from Baffin Island to the Torngats in Labrador, through the Strait of Belle Island and down the west coast of my home province to the island of Newfoundland. We were bringing 12 university scientists on an epic voyage to collect data and samples of everything from kelp to invertebrates to freshwater algae. We would also conduct bird surveys.
The team consisted of cold water divers and "inter-tidalers" that we affectionately referred to as Team Bear Bait as they are biologists who wade through inter-tidal zones collecting specimens. Our Parks Canada Bear Monitor was on board to ensure everyone was safe and sound throughout all the shore excursions, both inside and outside the National Park. But it’s always fun to tease.
October 25th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in ACTIVITIES, Diving
'Iceberg Texture', by Todd Mintz
Diving in the Arctic is a joy wrapped in hues of blue and white. Ice, water and sky refract and dissolve constantly reinventing the palette. Divers share the beauty with ice castles, polar bear and whales. Arctic diving is closer than you think, and whole lot more affordable than you imagin
Arctic Dive Weekend
The minimum diving requirement is Advanced Diving Certification to join the 5 to 7 other people who will comprise the dive group. You and your dive buddies have a choice of dates in 2015, because the long weekend begins every Friday from July to September. If the conditions are right, you'll dive five or six times during the weekend. All tanks, weights, weight belts, harnesses and tank fills are include in the package.
Dive and Certify
The professional dive instructor who accompanies the divers can, for an additional cost, provide Ice Diver and Drysuit Certification training. You can dive and certify.
Explore a foreign environment
In between diving excursions to explore an unfamiliar underwater world, the weekend includes opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture of the Inuit. You will interact with Inuit guides take a town tour, and visit a museum. Our Arctic Dive Weekend is big adventure for a small price and no jet lag if you are based on the Eastern Seaboard of North America.
Dive for a week in the Arctic
If you are based farther away, our Baffin Island Dive Safari may be the best option for you. You'll experience FOUR types of Arctic dives over eight days: Floe Edge, Pack Ice, Crack and Iceberg
. The base for this trip is Pond Inlet, on the northeast coast of Baffin Island.
Arctic Kingdom's first trip 15 years ago was a dive trip to Baffin Island. Diving is in our blood.
October 24th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Featured Trip
Spending travel dollars is risky, because you can't test drive an Arctic safari. So how do you manage the risk? Travellers depend on brand names with strong reputations and word of mouth.
King of the Arctic
Once a traveller has chosen the brand and read the reviews, the next decision is price. How much are you willing to spend to make that travel dream come true? For the lucky few, money is no object. For the rest of us, every dollar counts.
Arctic Safari cost comparison
We offer five different land-based Arctic safaris designed to get you as close to polar bears as humanly possible. None disturb the bears in their natural habitat or put you in harm's way. We've been the best at that in the Canadian Arctic for over 15 years! In 2015 our per person prices in Canadian dollars range from $5,995 to $10,590. Kings of the Arctic
, our absolutely best value, is the $5,995 trip. You get all the adventure and wildlife viewing as you do on a $10,590 per person trip for $4,595 per person less!
What's the catch?
There isn't one. The accommodation is different, however. Instead of a premium safari camp, you'll stay in a tented safari camp. The tents are still warm and spacious, offering 150 square feet of living space, with plenty of room for luggage and camera equipment. Oh yes, and it is only 7 days and 6 nights in duration. That's only 1 night shorter than our Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari
that costs $10,590 per person.
Kings of the Arctic still includes gourmet meals, our experienced expedition leader, a visit to the floe edge, the sue of snorkelling equipment and all day trips and excursions as described in the itinerary.
October 22nd, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Films
One of the really exciting things we do is our role in major movie and television production. We are specialists in logistics in the North. We worked on an episode of The Amazing Race Canada for which we provided logistical support. You can watch it here
Yesterday, we received an email from Mike Bickerton, the head of casting for Amazing Race Canada, announcing that casting for the next series is now open. You can apply for free online, but some conditions apply, so read the details here
Do you want to watch a Hollywood movie with an Arctic Kingdom connection? Rent Big Miracle
, a feel good movie based on true events. Watch to the absolute end to see a very young Sarah Palin. She covered the original story while she was a journalist in Alaska.
Why a specialist is needed in the Arctic when filming something like Amazing Race Canada
Obtaining necessary permits can be complicated; we’re able assist filmmakers with those logistical concerns along with field safety, providing clothing, food, comfortable accommodations, use of vehicles, and aid in obtaining world class production equipment from Canada or the United States.
We work with professional aboriginal camera crews as well and look for opportunities to develop and use local expertise whenever possible.To learn more about how we help professional film and television makers, read this
October 14th, 2014 | By Prisca Campbell | Filed in Featured Trip
Polar bear and cub
Our 2014 Polar Bear Migration Fly-in Photo Safari
departures are imminent. These 5-day adventures provide intense polar bear viewing opportunities for a really small group of people - 8. Yep, you read that correctly. A maximum of 8 people per departure. You won't be elbowing anyone out of the way when that big white bear saunters up to take a gander at you.
Request to share a cabin and you don't pay the single supplement!
Because the time to departure is so close, we know there are solo travellers who have taken advantage of what is one of the most liberal single supplement policies in travel today - our no single supplement if we fail to pair you with another traveller - promise. Our travellers win, and so do we. Consider this. You can book as a solo traveller and request our share program. That tells us that you are willing to share with someone of the same gender to avoid paying the single supplement. But get this: if we don't match you, you don't have to pay the single supplement.
A number of people have booked the share program for 2014. Right now it is looking really good for them, because we are still looking for a few good men and women who travel solo that are willing to share to avoid the single supplement. Space is limited.
Pay the single supplement if you want to guarantee a single cabin.
To be perfectly clear. If you want a single cabin and do not request to share, you will pay the single supplement. Having a cabin to yourself is worth the price to some travellers - especially those who travel with a lot of camera gear.