Day 1: Fly to Pond Inlet via Iqaluit
Arrive in Ottawa, Canada, and take a connecting flight to Iqaluit in the Northwestern Passage. It is then on to Pond Inlet, at the northern tip of Baffin Island, to meet your guide and the rest of your group. We’ll spend the night in Pond Inlet before heading out to camp tomorrow, arriving in the late afternoon. Pond Inlet, known to the Inuit locals as “Mittimatalik,” is a scenic hamlet surrounded by beautiful mountains, fjords, glaciers and a bird sanctuary. As the gateway to the Northwest Passage, it is an ideal place for spotting narwhals. During dinner tonight, your guides will brief you on the details of the trip and perform a gear check to make sure you’re ready for your week in the Arctic. After dinner, we’ll enjoy a traditional Inuit throat-singing performance, drum dancing and storytelling by some of the local elders.
Day 2: Depart to Floe Edge
After breakfast, we’ll gather on a sandy beach to prepare for our departure to the southeast of Bylot Island. We’ll travel across fields of snow by qamutik, a traditional Inuit wooden sled with suspension seats pulled behind a snowmobile, on a 43-mile journey to Arctic Safari Camp, stopping along the way for warming tea breaks and stops at historic graves, glaciers, abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins. Upon arrival, we’ll settle into our mobile camp a few miles from the floe edge. This mobile camp is divided into separate yurts, each equipped with comfortable cots, a table and chairs, a space heater and even a power outlet. The bathrooms and dining hall are shared, and every day promises to be different. Those of you yearning for a real getaway will relish the lack of Wi-Fi available at camp. Here’s the excuse you’ve been waiting for to let yourself unplug.
Days 3-6: Floe Edge
Over the next few days, we will leave camp and head out by qamutik and snowmobile to explore. During our adventures, we’ll see the warm spring weather working its magic with icebergs, small “bergy bits,” and playful seals poking their heads up out of the water. Plenty of time will be provided for unhurried observation and for impressive Arctic photography. Perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip is the opportunity to observe a wide variety of Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat. On the floe edge, the likelihood is high that we’ll see narwhals, bowhead whales, and polar bears on the prowl for seals sunning themselves, and possibly walrus and beluga whales. Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic foxes and hares, weasels, collared lemmings, snowy owls, rough-legged hawks, and gyrfalcons. Migratory birds are also in abundance. Pure white ivory gulls, gaudy king eider ducks, low flying northern fulmars, thick-billed murres, kittiwakes, and greater snow geese (kanguq) are just a few of the many bird species that can be observed. Ice conditions permitting, we may also get to enjoy a visit to the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, where over 200,000 birds choose to nest. We may also have a chance to visit the evocative ancient Thule sites, where you will see the traditional tent rings and learn about the culture and history of the area. Be prepared for lots of surprises!
Day 7: Return to Iqaluit
We’ll leave camp today by qamutik and return to the arctic hamlet of Pond Inlet. We will have lunch in Pond Inlet then transfer to the airport for your return flight to Iqaluit where dinner and hotel accommodations await you.
Day 8: Fly to Ottawa & Depart
Bid farewell to your fellow explorers and prepare yourself for warmer climes as we transfer to the airport for our southbound flights to Ottawa.