The great thing about the Arctic is that it offers something incredible year-round, but spring really is special. It’s not just the longer daylight for wildlife viewing opportunities or the warmer temperatures. The Arctic just comes to life in the spring.
As newborn polar bear cubs emerge from their den and Arctic whales begin their annual migration, the spring offers countless bucket list experiences.
If you’re interested in Arctic travel for the landscapes or to photograph iconic wildlife, here’s what you need to know about spring in the Arctic.
Spring Polar Bears
One of the most exciting events in the Arctic is seeing new polar bear families begin to explore their Arctic world. It might even seem like a surreal movie seeing these newborn cubs as they jump on their resting mother or play in the snow.
Due to the northernly latitude polar bears on Baffin Island tend to emerge from their dens a little later than the polar bears of Hudson Bay. But considering that more than 60% of the world’s polar bears live in the Canadian Arctic, there is no better place to see these “Kings of the Arctic.”
This means March and April are a fantastic time for wildlife viewing and photography opportunities. Since polar bears prefer to hunt on the ice, this means that this is one of the best times to locate them. This offers incredible chances for truly iconic Arctic photographs.
Early spring becomes a pivotal time for the Arctic ecosystem. This is important for mother bears to gain their weight back after denning with their cubs. She will venture out from the denning area onto the ice with her cubs. Short trips at first to acclimate them to the cold. But longer as the days grow longer to hunt and replenish herself. Seeing a mother bear teach her playful cubs how to hunt truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As the floe edge begins to come to life into May and June, this natural phenomenon marks the beginning of the Arctic’s whale migration as they move from their winter territories to their summer feeding and calving grounds.
The ecosystem of the floe edge is what draws the migrating whales closer to the edge of where open ocean meets the sea ice – the floe edge. As sunlight begins to reach the open water micro-organisms develop, first algae, then zooplankton, which brings sea mammals like baleen whales and smaller fish, which in turn are hunted by toothed whales and seals. This can provide breath-taking narwhal and beluga encounters.
The early cracks and canals in the ice form pathways for migrating whales. At this time of year whales tend to migrate in bigger pods because of the limited openings in the ice.
Imagine seeing pods of beluga and narwhal traveling together along a narrow canal of open water right in front of you. Or maybe standing at the floe edge and watching a group of whale’s dives under the ice beneath your feet.
Interested in Arctic Travel?
Whether it’s seeing polar bears emerging from the den and begin to explore their Arctic wonderland or migrating whales, there is always something special in the spring. Due to this constant cycle of activity there is never a lack of highlights for people hoping to witness the splendor of this Arctic landscape and its iconic wildlife.
Ready for adventure? Contact our Arctic Travel Advisors to book.
Polar Bear Safari
Explore the Arctic on a spring polar bear tour now and witness once-in-a-lifetime polar bear encounters. Experience the Northern Lights in early spring or enjoy longer days starting in April offering longer opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography.
Learn more: Spring Polar Bears & Icebergs of Baffin
Migrating Whales and the Floe Edge
Our floe edge tours are designed for exclusivity, combining a cultural experience, unparalleled vistas and narwhal and another whale encounters you can’t get any other place in the world.
Navy Board Inlet is the most special floe edge destination on Earth and we’re proud to be the only tour operator sharing it with guests from around the world.
Learn more about the floe edge and find out the best times to visit the floe edge here.
Learn more: Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari
By: Mat Whitelaw