Great Migrations of the Northwest Passage Overview
Journey with us on the ultimate scenic and wildlife safari to witness the migratory patterns of some of the most exceptional animals the Arctic has to offer, including the mystical narwhal and beluga.
Todd M gave us this eyewitness account of his trip to the floe edge
: "Truly amazing experience. Each day brought new adventures and wildlife. Narwhal and polar bear each day and the odd walrus showed up."
This region is world-renowned amongst filmmakers as one of the most prolific areas of wildlife in the Arctic. Much of the best wildlife footage is captured in this region and it is one of the few places where all of the Arctic marine animals co-mingle. Never before has access to this remote and largely inaccessible area been possible for all but the most dedicated and sponsored expeditions. To a privileged few, Arctic Kingdom is proud to offer access to this pristine Arctic jewel.
- Witness the beauty of life at the floe edge, where frozen ice meets open water - from crystalline icebergs and electric blue pack ice formations, to hundreds of birds diving and weaving, and of course, the migrating pods of whales.
- Capture stunning photographs of pods of narwhal as they rest on the surface, cross tusks in playful sword fighting, and exhale plumes of mist.
- Snorkel along the floe edge and exhilarate in the moment a narwhal and beluga swim inquisitively beneath you.
- Listen to the chirps and whistles of whale song while underwater or from the surface through a hydrophone.
- Experience all aspects of the High Arctic, from Inuit culture to the spectacular landscapes of Baffin and Devon Islands.
- Travel over sea ice by snowmobile and traditional Inuit qamutik, an adventure in itself, as we cross leads and cracks, hug shorelines, and navigate around icebergs.
- Live on the ice close to the floe edge in our eco-friendly, zero footprint, comfortable base camp on almost 8 feet of solid sea ice
- Visit ancient Thule sites.
- Catch a glimpse of polar bears out hunting for seals.
- Bask in the warm glow of the midnight sun during the Arctic's brief period of 24-hour daylight.
- See the transition of the Arctic from winter to spring - from frozen tundra to melting rivers and blossoming Arctic flowers.
- Meeting Special Guest, wildlife photographer, Sue Flood on the 2016 departures.
From our safari-style base camp along the floe edge of Lancaster Sound, the eastern mouth of the Northwest Passage, we'll set off on our daily adventures.
As winter transitions to spring, and spring transitions to summer, the frozen expanses of sea ice begin to crack and break away to float serenely out into the Northwest Passage. The floe edge, where sea ice meets open water, is one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the Arctic. Each spring, the waters at the ice edge become rich with life and it is for this reason that the Inuit of Arctic Canada have hunted here for centuries. Large populations of belugas and narwhals gather in Lancaster Sound waiting for the ice to clear. A bowhead whale may occasionally pass by, flanked by dozens of narwhals and belugas. Pods of male narwhal, with their famous elongated tooth, may also be seen in pool-sized openings in the ice.
We provide dry suits as well as snorkel equipment so that the adventurous can enter the water. We are careful to never disturb the wildlife we encounter. However, if inquisitive whales choose to approach snorkellers, who are we to deny them the opportunity to give us the once over?
Getting there is part of the adventure as we travel with our Inuit guides over the sea ice, past spectacular towering cliffs and the never-ending rows of snow-capped mountains that line the sound. We will navigate around fantastic ice formations, past glacier-filled valleys and immense icebergs that protrude up from the frozen sea before reaching the eco-friendly, zero-footprint base camp on the sea ice in one of the Arctic’s most ecologically diverse regions.
On this Arctic adventure, you'll see a sight few people have been privileged to witness: the migration of beluga and the rarely seen narwhal to their summer feeding grounds. From the floe edge, you will see the whales lingering sometimes almost within arm’s length. On a windless, sunny spring day, you will be able to see narwhal playfully jousting in the glassy smooth surface of the water. Belugas, in a flash of milky white, crest the surface and take a breath in a large exhale before diving under the ice to continue their feeding.