Depart Ottawa for Iqaluit in the morning. Change planes in Iqaluit, departing to continue onto Pond Inlet. Upon landing at Pond Inlet, meet your local coordinator and transfer to a comfortable hotel. During dinner, receive a briefing and gear check. The evening is yours to relax, enjoy and explore Pond Inlet and the not too distant mountains of Bylot Island under the midnight sun.
After breakfast, meet your guides on the beach (yes, there are sand beaches in the Arctic!) and depart for southeast Bylot Island and the floe-edge where ice meets open water. Travel Inuit style by qamutik (kam-oo-tik - a traditional Inuit sled) and snowmobile across the sea-ice to southeast Bylot Island. This journey of almost 90km (3-6 hours) may include tea stops at historic grave sites, hanging glaciers, hunting cabins, and an abandoned whaling station. In the late afternoon arrive at base camp, set up just back from the ice edge (conditions permitting).
Revel in some of the best diving you’ll ever experience. Following a program of progressive dives, enjoy new experiences every day as you become more comfortable with this unique underwater environment. Explore the Arctic sea floor and discover urchins, starfish, and glittering jellyfish. Witness the surreal world of blue and turquoise juxtaposed with the black depths below. This is a photographer’s paradise.
Above the water and on land, experience other spectacular scenes and exciting adventures. Expect to see icebergs, ‘bergy-bits’, and drifting pack ice with playful seals poking their heads up out of the water to look directly at you. On the floe-edge, the likelihood is high that you will see narwhals, bowhead whales, 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 can also be seen 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 bird species known to frequent the area. Track land mammals, visit ancient Thule sites, learn about the history of the area, and enjoy unhurried observation and photography.
After breakfast, break camp and reload the qamutiks for your return journey to Pond Inlet. Stop at a 100 meter stepped waterfall for tea made with the glacier run off. Once again cross about 90km of sea ice by snowmobile, led by your Inuit guides. In the evening, explore the village of Pond Inlet. The Nattinnak Visitors Center, located on the bluff, houses an excellent exhibit of the region’s natural history including a full size narwhal with a tusk hanging from the ceiling. The Co-op store (which typically has a selection of carvings and other crafts) and the Northern store (historically known as “The Bay,” derived from the famous Hudson’s Bay Company stores) are worth visiting. You may have the opportunity to buy carvings directly from local artists. Accommodations and dinner will be at the Bed and Breakfast Lodge.
After an early breakfast, transfer to the Pond Inlet Airport for your flight to Iqaluit. On arrival in Iqaluit, change planes and continue on to Ottawa, arriving in the evening. Extra days in Ottawa can be arranged by request.
$9,596 single supplement
Please add 5% sales tax from Pond Inlet.