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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

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.

Dare to #compare our Polar Bear Migration Fly-in Safari

January 21st, 2015 | By | Filed in Current Trips, Wildlife

Mother polar bear and cub

Mother and cub

I overheard someone who had completed a polar bear trip to Churchill. He was right. Churchill is a great place to see polar bears. But there is an alternative.

Polar bear mothers and cubs at eye level

Our Expedition Leader and bon vivant, Jason Hillier, took the photo of this mother and cub when he led a trip to our polar bear camp on the western shore of Hudson's Bay. Do you notice the camera angle? He was eye level with the bears. How did he do that? He was leading our land-based adventure like Polar Bear Migration Fly-in Photo Safari.

"But my partner doesn't like to rough it."

This objection to adventure travel is one of my personal favourites, because whoever says it takes the words right out of my mouth. There is no badge of honour in my mind for discomfort while exploring the wild. Our polar bear cabins are rustic, but they all the mod cons: each of the four cabins has an en suite bathroom and a private shower. The cabins sleep two people. So do the math, no more than 8 people are sharing the extraordinary landscape, and fabulous food with you. No waiting in line. No boarding a buggy. No taking your turn behind 20 others at the buffet. Give me good food, a private cabin, facilities en suite, a sense of exclusivity and wildlife in their natural habitat on my doorstep and I will "rough it" every time!

Flights to the Arctic are expensive

No kidding! But there are bargains, especially if you know a specialist like Arctic Kingdom. We are currently quoting a rate of $1,100 + $185 (taxes & fees) per person return from Winnipeg to Churchill. The private flight from Churchill to our camp is included in the trip price. If you are dreaming of a polar bear adventure in 2015, I dare you to compare.

Aboard charter vessel M V Cape Race

November 7th, 2014 | By | Filed in Current Trips, Diving, Filmmakers, Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights from our charter vessel

Northern Lights from our charter vessel MV Cape Race

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.

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.

Polar Bear Trips in Canada: Tips for #Bargain Hunters

September 12th, 2014 | By | Filed in Arctic Animals, Current Trips, Featured Trip

Polar Bear Mother and Cub

Polar Bear Travel in 2014

The height of 2014 polar bear travel season is approaching. As you know, prime time usually means prime dollars. There are some bargains to be had. Read about our 2014 savings. Polar Bear Migration Fly-in Photo Safari Get 6 days for the price of 5! No haggling. Join the October 19, 24 or November 14, 2014 departures and you'll get an extra day of polar bear watching without paying one cent more! That is a savings of $1596 per person. Yes you read that right - $1596 per person based on the per day rate for the 5 day trip. Sometimes math does come in handy. You will get one more day on the land to encounter polar bears, Arctic foxes and may be, if the conditions are just right, Northern Lights! No Single Supplement for Solo Travellers on Polar Bear Trips I travel alone more often than I travel with companions. There is nothing more than I dislike is paying the ransom travel companies charge for solo travel. The rate for a solo traveller on our Polar Bear Migration Fly-in Photo Safari is 1.7 times the per person rate. Don't hiss or boo. We aren't the villains you might think we are, because in 2014 only, we have a few solo travellers who want to share a cabin so they don't have to pay the single supplement of $5,586. They have asked us to find them cabin mates. We're matching women with women and men with men. More importantly, you'll be meeting new people that share your passion for polar bears and the Arctic! Call us toll free 1-888-737-6816 to inquire about dates and availability. If you snooze, you will lose this travel bargain.    

Limited Time Offer – Added value to our Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari

September 4th, 2014 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Current Trips

Our best seller - Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari just got better. For a limited time, iFace to Facef you book and deposit before December 31, 2014, you will receive a hard copy of Huw Lewis-Jones' best seller - Face to Face: Polar Portraits. This $50 collectible will be autographed by Arctic Kingdom founder, Graham Dickson. His biography is featured in this collection of historic photographs from the Scott Polar Research Institute, the world's leading archive of polar history. There are a limited number of copies, so book early. The elusive narwhal is unique to the Arctic. Although the tusked whale is circumpolar, the world capital of narwhal viewing is Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Polar bears are also unique to the Arctic, and, like the narwhal, are circumpolar. For North Americans, however, the Canadian Arctic is the most readily accessible viewing locale. Arctic Kingdom provides the widest range of polar bear trips. Polar bear viewing is not limited to November and December. You can choose from trips in March and from June through to November. Terms and Conditions There are some conditions. You are eligible to receive the book if you book and deposit before December 31, 2014 on a Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari. The book will be sent to you upon full payment for the trip. Should you choose to cancel, you forfeit your right to the book.

So…what’s it really like? – Day # 3

September 20th, 2012 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Client Reports, Current Events, Current Trips, FEATURED, Featured Trip, IN THE NEWS, TRIPS, Trips

"Don't open your mouth when you look up!"

Day Three - By Liz Fleming As we climbed out of our tents the first morning, the air was damp with mist.  Although Tom and Mike were a little apologetic  about the lack of sunshine, we were all so pumped about heading out for our first trip on the ice, we hardly noticed. After a big breakfast, we gathered at the komatiks and loaded up for a trip to the bird cliffs, a particularly great area for Jens, an ornithologist and biology professor from Germany.  He was my komatik partner and I felt very lucky to be able to listen to his commentary as we headed out, bumping along the ice behind the snowmobile. I could tell I was going to go home considerably better informed about birds. “The best advice I can give you,” Tom told us when we arrived, clambered out of the komatiks and stared up at the sheer cliff faces ahead, where hundreds of birds wheeled and screamed, “is don’t open your mouth when you look up!” Wise counsel.

Birds of a feather

Birds

Murre eggs

The guides warned us often to watch where we stepped – the ice was solid but there were cracks.  Our Aussie buddy Brett learned the hard way.  Looking up as he focused on a shot, Brett put his feet too close to the edge and plunged into the water up to his armpits.  In just moments, the guides had hauled him out – no mean feat, as Brett’s a tall, solid man.  Wet but none the worse for wear, he was helped to a komatik and offered a quick ride back to camp.  In a display of true Aussie toughness and good humour, Brett opted to stay and seemed to dry out remarkably quickly. After a return to camp for a hot lunch, we made our first trip out to the floe edge – a world unlike anything we’d seen anywhere…ever.  Pulling our small chairs from the komatiks, we moved to the edge of the ice where we sat, stunned into near silence by the vastness of the water. As we watched, cameras in hand, we played with photographing the King eider ducks that swooped past in huge flocks, their images reflected in the mirror-like surface of the water. Suddenly, though very quietly, our guides signaled us to come. As binoculars were passed from hand to hand we saw – perhaps a kilometer away – a polar bear, watching us as intently as we were watching him.  Against the brilliant white background, his fur seemed cream-coloured – almost yellowish – and he was huge.  And we were in his backyard. It was an afternoon of watching, of breathing in the cool, clear air, of trying to capture the size of our new world with cameras that suddenly seemed inadequate.  When it was time to reload the komatiks and head for camp, we were stunned to see that it was long past 8pm.  In a land where the sun never sets, we were quickly losing our sense of time. On the way back to camp, a seal appeared on ice, sitting stock still beside its hole.  Our guides stopped and Cornelius, whose camera outclassed the rest of ours, climbed out to see if he could get a shot. Taking slow, deliberate steps, Cornelius moved closer to the seemingly unconcerned seal, clicking shots as he went.  He didn’t get very far before the seal – who had actually been hyper-aware of his approach the whole time - turned, slid into the water and disappeared.  I suddenly realized how incredibly difficult hunting seals must be and how ridiculous it was to worry about the possibility of mass slaughtering.  Seals are far too quick. After our long day on the ice, we’d have been happy to eat anything that stayed still on our plates, but were thrilled by the feast Chef Andrew had waiting for us.  Hot carrot and ginger soup, rare lamb chops and a decadent chocolate dessert topped with berries. How he managed that, in the middle of nowhere, I can’t imagine. A few hours later, stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey, I snuggled into bed in my little yellow tent and listened to gentle rain falling.  I’d have been happy to stay there forever.  

A Canadian Signature Experience

February 13th, 2012 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Current Events, Current Trips, FEATURED, Featured Trip, IN THE NEWS, Trips, Upcoming Trip

Arctic Kingdom’s Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari is now a part of the Canadian Tourism Commission’s (CTC)’s Signature Experiences Collection (SEC).  This Arctic Safari, which takes place in northern Baffin Island, Nunvat, is an amazing experience, where people get the chance to see first-hand polar bears, narwhals, seals, or sometimes even walruses. If you don’t know what a narwhal is, picture a whale with a unicorn horn – “the mystical unicorns of the sea.” In addition to seeing an array of wildlife, there is also the opportunity to kayak among floating ice fully escorted by knowledgeable Inuit guides.  

Narwhals courtesy of Eric Baccega

We are proud to be a part of the CTC’s SEC, an amazing collection that features the best of what Canada has to offer. The SEC is a collection of unique and inspiring travel experiences that showcases Canada to the world. Arctic Kingdom was highlighted recently in a case study done by the CTC. To see the full article visit: CTC Arctic Kingdom Case Study. If you would like to take part in a true Canadian adventure, and join the Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari for June 2012 visit: www.arctickingdom.com. For more detailed information about the trip you can also download our brochure.

Try your hand at dog sledding

January 3rd, 2012 | By | Filed in ACTIVITIES, AK NEWS, Current Events, Current Trips, IN THE NEWS, Media, Sports, TRIPS

Experience mushing personally.

  This past Saturday Dec 31, 2011 Arctic Kingdom was in The Telegraph - India: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1111231/jsp/personaltt/story_14945414.jsp If you like speed and the winter try mushing (dog sledding)! Arctic Kingdom offers customized trips for clients, or it can also be a part of a trip. Tours can be half a day to 2 weeks. In addition to mushing clients can also see icebergs, glaciers, mountains, sea ice, polar bears, narwhal, arctic fox, arctic hare, Inuit culture, and traditional Inuit clothing, If this is an activity that intrigues you or you would like to take one of our trips visit: http://arctickingdom.com/  

Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari Photo Summary

November 20th, 2011 | By | Filed in Current Trips, Trips

“It’s a polar bear!” Simultaneously exclaimed by Michelle and Leanne, two Arctic Kingdom guests at the start of our inaugural Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari at the beginning of November.  The pair had just touched down after an 180km flight over the seemingly endless tundra, only to be greeted by a large male polar bear a mere 20 feet away from the cabin grounds.
Michelle and Leanne pose for the camera with a polar bear

Michelle and Leanne pose for the camera with a polar bear

Building on a decade of up close and personal wildlife safaris throughout the Arctic regions, Arctic Kingdom furthers our commitment to the arctic experience.  We have partnered with the Inuit people of Arviat to to deliver the best ground level polar bear viewing experience imaginable.  One that will allow guests to truly feel connected with the polar bears, and the arctic, all while upholding the most stringent safety measures. Over the next four days, Michelle, Leanne and other guests of Arctic Kingdom at the polar bear camp witnessed polar bears – large males, females and mother and cubs, from the safety of the cabin grounds, and under the professional guidance of Inuit guides from Arviat, Nunavut who are trained in close polar bear encounters. “To be on the ground, only meters from a polar bear and, to look directly into its eyes is nothing short of amazing…and incredibly fun!”  summarized Michelle of her trip to photograph the polar bears. Here is a photo summary of the 2011 Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari:

Polar Bear Mother and cubs walk by the cabins at sunset

Polar bear being watched by Inuit guide trained in close polar bear encounters

Polar bear being watched by Inuit guide trained in close polar bear encounters

 
Polar Bear Alley - Bear rolling in seaweed. At times we could watch a bear for hours on end. Observing them in their natural environment as they go about their routine seemingly oblivious to our presence only meters away.

Polar Bear Alley - Bear rolling in seaweed. At times we could watch a bear for hours on end. Observing them in their natural environment as they go about their routine seemingly oblivious to our presence only meters away.

 
Polar bears walk along the Hudson Bay coast on the migration route northwards. Polar bears are often curious about new smells and scents..especially of our presence.

Polar bears walk along the Hudson Bay coast on the migration route northwards. Polar bears are often curious about new smells and scents..especially of our presence.

 
David Briggs - AK Expedition Leader - taking a moment to enjoy a polar bear walking by

David Briggs - AK Expedition Leader - taking a moment to enjoy a polar bear walking by

 
Arctic Fox comes towards Polar Bear Alley Cabins

Arctic Fox comes towards Polar Bear Alley Cabins

 
The cabins are situated at the 60 degree latitude which is the prime northern lights band that circles the globe. This was what we looked forward to seeing every evening!

The cabins are situated at the 60 degree latitude which is the prime northern lights band that circles the globe. This was what we looked forward to seeing every evening!

Northern Lights at polar bear cabins

Northern Lights looking over the tundra

It was a late year for snow with hardly a trace by early November when this picture was taken and the Hudson Bay was still open water. This is extremely unusual as we normally use snowmobiles to travel by this time.

It was a late year for snow with hardly a trace by early November when this picture was taken and the Hudson Bay was still open water. This is extremely unusual as we normally use snowmobiles to travel by this time.

 
Nestled on the shores of Hudson Bay directly in “Polar Bear Alley”, situated 100km south of Arviat (180km north of Churchill) – the polar bear cabins are only accessible by air

Nestled on the shores of Hudson Bay directly in “Polar Bear Alley”, situated 100km south of Arviat (180km north of Churchill) – the polar bear cabins are only accessible by air

 
Plane lands at bear cabins

The turbo otter lands at the airstrip directly beside the polar bear cabins as guests look on.

Arctic Kingdom’s polar bear cabins at dusk. With a capacity of only 8 persons, this is the most intimate and personal polar bear viewing experience anywhere.

Arctic Kingdom’s polar bear cabins at dusk. With a capacity of only 8 persons, this is the most intimate and personal polar bear viewing experience anywhere.

 
Simple, comfortable, clean and warm. Each sleep cabin has it’s own bathroom. There is one shared shower facility.

Simple, comfortable, clean and warm. Each sleep cabin has it’s own bathroom. There is one shared shower facility.

 
Polar bear in spotlight

Bear in the spotlight. Polar bears often came by at night which allowed for some night photography opportunities as well.

Polar mother and 2 cubs approached by big male bear

Polar mother and two cubs approached by big male bear

During the day, with guides that carried rifles, we would conduct walks on the tundra

Extremely friendly arctic hares in their white winter coat would come within arms reach at times and directly into polar cabin grounds

A polar bear walks on the tidal flats towards the bear cabins. The tides are extreme here receding more than 1km from shore which results in a landscape of beautiful boulder strewn flats that the bears walk in to come to the cabins.

Ptarmigan in winter plumage

For more information on the Polar Bear Migration Fly-In Safari, visit the trip page here:    
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