January 17th, 2013 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in Webinar
Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari Webinar from arctickingdom on Vimeo.
Discover why this trip has been selected by the Canadian Tourism Commission as one of Canada’s “Signature Experiences”
Learn about our African safari-inspired camps and how we work with the local Inuit people to provide wildlife encounters with the mystical and rarely seen Narwhal, and get you up-close with majestic polar bears. What a concept. Want to know more?
Join Arctic Kingdom Expedition Leader Thomas Lennartz – recognized by Conde Nast Magazine as the Arctic Wildlife travel specialist, for an introduction to Arctic Kingdom and the Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari.
January 7th, 2013 | By Thomas Lennartz | Filed in AK NEWS
Our very own Thomas Lennartz has been recognized as one of the best in the world when it comes to knowing the Arctic Wildlife as one of the 150 Travel Specialists handpicked by Consumer News Director Wendy Perrin who represent the best combination of expertise, access, and value.
All the Top 150 Travel Specialists, including Thomas Lennartz as the 2012 Arctic Wildlife Specialist, have all have been road-tested by Condé Nast Traveler readers. None have paid a dime to be included on the list and membership cannot be bought. The resulting collection of approved travel counselors is the most respected and trusted in the travel industry.
If you have any questions about the Arctic, where to go, when to go, how to go, he’ll be more than happy to answer your questions:
To contact Thomas, email him at thomasarctickingdomcom or call at 416-322-7066 x114.
If you have traveled with Tom in the past, share your experience on the Condé Nast website or would like to know more visit his profile on the Condé Nast Traveler website here: cntrvlr.com/thomas
To learn more about the list, and view all the Condé Nast Traveler specialists, click here
December 5th, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear, Uncategorized
ARCTIC KINGDOM HOLIDAY HOURS!!
Get your Canada Goose and Winter Gear Now!!
FREE SHIPPING ANYWHERE IN CANADA! On Arctic Kingdom Gear
Purchases over $200
Valid until: Dec 28, 2012
To see our line of products please visit: http://arctickingdom.com/store
December: 1 – 16, 2012:
Monday – Tuesday 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: Dec 1, 8, 15: 10am – 3pm
December: 17 -23, 2012
Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: Dec 22: 10am – 3pm
Dec: 24, 27, 28, 2012
Open: 10am – 5pm
NOTE: Closed: Dec 25-26, 29-31 2012 & Jan 1, 2013
Arctic Kingdom Expeditions
18-215 Traders Blvd. East, Unit 18, Mississauga,
ON, L4Z 3K5, Canada
Ph: 416 322 7066
Toll Free: 1 888 737 6818
November 14th, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Client Reports, FEATURED, Featured Trip, Recent Trips, TRIPS, Trips
By: Liz Fleming
The last blog from Liz Fleming’s trip to the Arctic. Read below for the final fascinating installment.
What an adventure!
There was less laughter than usual at breakfast on the last morning. We all seemed to be struggling to swallow the idea that the best adventure ever was coming to an end. Looking around the dining tent, I realized that in the space of just seven days, total strangers had become close friends –
friends who lived in places like Berlin, Seattle, Melbourne, Singapore and Pond Inlet. The gaps between us were going to seem vast.
Packing up, loading our bags into the komatiks, saying goodbye to the few camp staff members who weren’t coming with us to Pond Inlet, taking group photo after group photo – it was a long morning. As we pulled away, heading back to town, our yellow tents quickly shrank until they were nothing but tiny spots of colour on the flat, blue-grey ice. I think we all felt our hearts contract then too.
Mike and Tom had warned us that the trip back to Pond would be a long one. During our week away, the ice had shifted and larger than usual cracks had appeared. The acrobatic snowmobile leaps we’d seen on the trip out were going to seem like child’s play.
Who knew you could make bridges from chunks of floating ice? I certainly didn’t, but fortunately it was a skill Tom and the guides had honed to a fine art. When we came to cracks that seemed too large to slide a komatik across, they calmly moved big bits of ice into the gaps, creating the smooth surface we needed. Weirdly, this engineering wizardry caused no panic – I didn’t worry for a second about whether the whole process would work. After a week of watching the calm, capable guides handle every challenge our extreme environment presented, and knowing that the rock-solid Tom was in charge, I felt totally safe. No worries – we were in the best possible hands.
Though it was a long trip back, it was punctuated by seeing a rare white gyrfalcon in its nest on a barren cliff. These birds of prey are prized so highly by Saudi Arabian princes that they send bird-nappers to capture and smuggle the falcons out of the Arctic. Though he glimpse we had was brief, it was enough to send Jens, our ornithologist, into fits of joy as he added it to his birding life-list.
After hours of bumping around in the komatiks, we arrived back in Pond Inlet, tired and ready for our denouement dinner – a bitter sweet moment. As we ate, Mike and Tom talked about our time together on the ice – and Mike reminded us of his promise that we would find our magic
We realized that we had each found an individual magic as we shared our most important reflections on our week together. While all were special, my favourite revelation came from Sandra, my Singaporean buddy. Tiny, intrepid and seemingly always ready for anything, Sandra confessed that she’d struggled her whole life with a fear of water, but wanting to snorkel with whales and narwhals, had decided to conquer her phobia. For the past year, Sandra had been taking swimming lessons at a pool, working her way from wading to actually swimming a few strokes. When I remembered helping her wrestle into her dry suit and seeing her hop off the edge of the ice into the water, I was amazed by her courage. No shortage of guts, that girl!
By far the funniest ‘best moment’ belonged to Sandra’s husband, Soo Young, a serious-minded, cautious orthopedic specialist who told us his favourite experience had been…riding in the komatiks. Given that we were all nursing various degrees of stiffness from banging around in those same komatiks on the seven-hour trip home, Soo Young’s comment exploded like a laughter bombshell. Perfect timing – we needed something to keep us from crying as we finished our night and our incredible adventure.
As a travel journalist, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some of the most exciting destinations in the world with fellow travel journalists who are usually adventurous and articulate. But no trip has ever been quite like this one. No destination has challenged and changed me as this did and no other group has ever bonded like ours. Mike was right – we did find magic on the ice and more – we found a passion for the Arctic that will stay with us forever. If that sounds like a dramatic statement, it is…because only words of that strength can describe a life-changing experience.
November 12th, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Client Reports, Current Events, Featured Trip, IN THE NEWS, TRIPS
Author: Liz Fleming
Because it was our last full day at camp, Tom and Mike suggested we sleep in a bit in preparation for a late, great night. Lolling in bed felt delicious.
When we finally crawled out into the daylight, the sun was dazzling – so warm, in fact, that we began to lose our minds…just a little.
I went in to the bathroom to brush my teeth and stepped out to find that the usually conservative Cornelius had stripped down to his black Calvin Klein boxers and was setting up his camera for an iceberg photo shoot in front of the iceberg. Sandra and I were enchanted! Not wishing to be outdone, we ran for our bathing suits and the craziness took hold. Never had our Inuit guides looked more surprised.
After an hour of rampant silliness and giggling, we gathered our clothes and our wits and headed for a new floe edge – one that was much closer…just half an hour away. We arrive to find the air filled with hundreds of birds and as we dragged the kayaks to the edge and set out on the calm water, we were snapping photos of the mers, kittiwigs, king eiders reflected on the surface.
Birds in flight
Justin and Jens pulled on dry suits and kayaked to a floating berg, where they were quickly surrounded by belugas. Pulling on their masks and snorkels, they slipped into the water (no mean feat when you’re balancing a kayak at the same time) and began what was for them, their best ever day of whale watching.
Meanwhile, on shore, the sense of last-day lunacy returned. Spreading out a couple of caribou skins, Sandra, Tom, Cornelius and I posed for our own Arctic version of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot. This time, the guides had their cell phone cameras ready and snapped shot after shot – most of which were no doubt sent to their friends under the heading: “Dumb things southerners do when the sun shines.”
Arctic Swim Shoot
The biggest excitement of the day was provided not by the whales and not by our swimsuit silliness but by Edward, our fifteen-year-old campmate. All week long, he’d been needling his parents about wanting to do a polar plunge – and they’d said no. This was his last opportunity and he somehow managed to convince them. Stripping down to his bathing suit, the lean, lanky, shivery Edward headed for the edge. Tom quickly tied a rope around his wrist to enable a quick yank back onto the solid ice should the cold water prove too much – and Edward’s moment had come. We gathered at the edge, cameras at the ready, and waited. And waited. Edward looked at the water. And waited…and looked as if he might change
his mind…and waited some more.
The tension was deadly until Tom took matters in hand. “We’re doing this together, buddy,” he said, stripping down to his own bathing suit.
Then Tom jumped, giving Edward the encouragement – and the yank on the rope – necessary for him to make his much-anticipated polar plunge. It was a life-changing moment and we are all impressed by both Edward’s courage and Tom’s ‘just do it’ attitude.
Just do it!
There was a sense of trying to hold onto that last day…to stretch it out as long as we possibly could…to savour every last moment of that Arctic passion we’d all developed. As the long, long day came to an end, Cornelius and I followed Simon and Mike on a slow paddle in our kayaks. A thin film of ice was crusting the utterly still surface of the water – each stroke of our paddles carved into it. In the distance, narwhals were breeching and all around us, breaking the stillness of the air, was the gargantuan sound of a bowhead whale breathing. It sounded just as the dinosaurs once did.
When we loaded the komatiks and headed back to camp, it felt as if we’d filled our own lungs to bursting with the clear, fresh air of the far north – and it’s a scent that will linger with us forever.
November 5th, 2012 | By admin | Filed in AK NEWS
Arctic Kingdom was honored to host Minister Bernier, the Federal Minister of Tourism, on his recent visit to Iqaluit!
On the picture above, I am with Graham Dickson, founder and CEO of Arctic Kingdom Polar Expeditions, which organizes polar expeditions to observe the wildlife and the spectacular landscapes of the region. Here he suited me up in a traditional Inuit seal skin suit for a short hike in Sylvia Grinell territorial park near the capital, Iqaluit.
October 29th, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, Client Reports, Current Events, FEATURED, Featured Trip, IN THE NEWS, Recent Trips, TRIPS, Trips
Day Five – By Liz Fleming
After our incredible day and night (hard to distinguish between the two) yesterday, crawling out of our cozy beds was harder this morning, but luckily, breakfast waited for us. A big feast of eggs and toast and lots of chatter about all that we saw and did the day before and we were soon revved for another trip to the floe edge – on this, the longest day of the year.
Our arrival was punctuated by a group of belugas cavorting just off the edge of the ice, so we hurried to get into our dry suits and kayaks to join them, wriggling into dry suits or climbing into the kayaks. The whales lingered with us for a while, gliding smoothly around the drifting ice chunks, then slowly swam off, leaving us eager for more.
More Arctic Kayaking
With the belugas gone, we turned our cameras on the huge flocks of birds that swooped overhead. Though they were all beautiful, my favourites
by far were the king eiders with their black and white bodies and brilliant, toucan-like beaks. It was incredibly peaceful to simply sit in the sun and watch them soar and dive.
Peaceful sitting in the sun got old pretty quickly for the four kids in the group, however, so Mike and Tom started an impromptu ice soccer game, using a cushion for a ball. Despite my basic lack of both ability and competitive spirit, I found myself playing goal – and getting decked by a
rampaging Mike! I laughed so hard I could barely get up.
Brett, our crazy Aussie pal, had brought a kite and his flip-flops (what else would you pack for an Arctic adventure?) and put them both to use that afternoon. The reds and yellows of the kite were like bright streaks of paint against the white landscape and the blue sky.
Though a duck hybrid dropped by to fascinate Jens the biologist, other wildlife proved elusive for the rest of the afternoon. Still tired from the night before, we were content to head back for dinner at what seemed like the early hour of 8pm. When the sun never stops shining, you lose all track of time.
Back at the camp, Chef Andrew had a great dinner waiting – and Tom and Mike had more treats in store. One of the guides had agreed to tell us the story of his family and their life in the north…speaking in Inuktituk. Billy, another guide, sat beside him to translate what was a harrowing story of devastating hardships. The guide’s grandparents had traveled for two years from a tiny, remote community to make their home in Pond Inlet. The grandfather was sick throughout the trip and unable to hunt, so the grandmother carried the burden of the family alone.
Often going without food, the family lost six of their seven children during the course of the journey – those who remained survived only because the desperate woman managed to kill a walrus.
As we listened, we could hardly believe that anyone could live through such terrible challenges – or that the grandson
whose mother was the only child to survive that epic journey could tell the story in such a matter-of-fact way. We were coming to realize that life in the high Arctic is unlike anything experienced anywhere else.
Landscape of ice
October 23rd, 2012 | By admin | Filed in AK NEWS
A collaborative project involving Graham Dickson from Arctic Kingdom and Harvey Lemelin, a researcher at Lakehead University is featured in the spring 2012 special issue of the Northern Review.
The Northern Review is an academic journal administered through Yukon College. The article entitled Examining the Potentials of Wildlife Tourism in Eeyou Istchee, Northern Quebec, Canada and co-authored by Harvey Lemelin and Graham Dickson examines the potential of developing small-scale wildlife tourism opportunities featuring polar bear viewing in Eeyou Istchee (Cree for The People’s Land), the traditional territory of the James Bay Cree in Northern Quebec.
Gathering data from a site assessment conducted in the later winter of 2011, the article suggests that access to polar bears through the Twin Islands Sanctuary may provide an opportunity for the Cree community of Wemindji to distinguish itself from similar offerings by combining wildlife tourism and Aboriginal tourism, and by developing a product that showcases their knowledge and management approach to wildlife.
The journal and article is available online at:
For additional information please contact Graham Dickson or Harvey Lemelin
(807-343-8745, harveylemelinlakeheaduca (harveylemelinlakeheaduca) ).
October 9th, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, Client Reports, Current Events, FEATURED, Featured Trip, IN THE NEWS, Recent Trips, TRIPS, Trips
Day Four – By Liz Fleming
We woke to an unexpectedly damp camp. The sun had come out and was shining brilliantly (yay!) but the sunbeams, in combination with a warm wind, were turning the surface of the ice to melt-water and causing our camp manager Simon grief. Not to worry. This was a man who’s spent a good chunk of his life navigating Antarctica, largely without support – a little water was no match for him.
In no time, Simon had produced an enormous auger and was drilling holes down to the sea below the ice, creating a superb drainage system. He also, quite unexpectedly, created a whole new form of adventure for the guys in the group who all wanted to take a turn with the auger and seemed fascinated by watching the water get sucked down the hole.
With the water situation well in hand, we again loaded the komatiks and headed for the floe edge. We’d only just gotten underway when our convoy came to a halt and the guides all jumped from their snowmobiles. They’d seen polar bear tracks in the snow.
Furiously snapping away with our cameras, we marveled at the huge footprints. The guides scanned the horizon with the binoculars and finally spotted the maker of the prints far in the distance – he was hard to see as he blended so well with the landscape. After a few moments, he seemed satisfied and ambled off.
We hopped back in the komatiks and continued our journey to the floe edge.
Today was our day! The sun was blazing overhead and the water seemed filled with life. Tom, Mike and the guides hauled out the toys for the day – kayaks, paddles, survival suits, drysuits, snorkels, masks – everything we needed to get up close and personal with the whales, narwhals and seals we could see just beyond the edge of the ice.
If you’ve never wriggled into a dry suit, let me tell you, it’s a trick that’s best achieved by removing all your hair and perhaps your ears as well. Because the seal has to be complete to keep the frigid water from rushing in, necks and cuffs are incredibly tight. We took turns torturing one another, stuffing heads and hands and feet through the rubber openings as we fought our way into the suits – and we laughed ourselves sick while we were at it.
My best moment of what proved to be an absolutely incredible day, filled with every kind of Arctic wildlife I’d ever dreamed of seeing came when two enormous, browny-grey narwhals surfaced on either side of my kayak. I raised my paddle and laid it across the gunwales so I wouldn’t disturb them, while my heart tried to beat its way out of my chest.
It was a moment I’ll never forget…but only a taste of what was yet to come.
After hours of snorkeling and kayaking in the endless sunshine, we were reluctantly packing up the komatiks to head back to the camp for dinner when suddenly the water erupted. Beluga whales – dozens of them – were breaching. We abandoned the komatiks and raced to the edge of the water where we could see our new playmates arriving – gigantic bowhead whales had joined the belugas. The excitement in the group was off the chart.
Later that night, following a toast to Simon, who’d created an entire small city’s working drainage system in our absence and secured all of our tents, we were still so pumped that going to bed just wasn’t an option. Heading out with Mike and Tom, we hiked our neighbourhood icebergs, leapt like ballet dancers off icy outcrops and took turns photographing one another’s reflections on the lenses of our sunglasses. It was long past 2am when we finally fell asleep in our beds listening to the winds whipping the sides of our tents, still reeling from the glory of our incredibly Arctic day.
September 21st, 2012 | By Candice Hong | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Gear
The arctic summer season is over, and with that comes a unique opportunity to purchase gently used winter clothing and equipment at significantly discounted rates. It is worn for 3 to 4 weeks and returned for cleaning looking good as new! Premium brands include Canada Goose, Outdoor Research, and Baffin Footwear.
Get yours before they sell out!
Sept 26-28: Wednesday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Sept 29: Saturday: 9am – 1pm
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Can’t make it during these hours? Give us a call and place your order by phone and we will ship it to you.
Phone: 416 322 7066
For more information on our gear please visit: http://arctickingdom.com/store/gear-for-sale/