Day 1 Ottawa | Pond Inlet
Depart Ottawa for Iqaluit in the morning. Change planes in Iqaluit, departing to continue onto Pond Inlet. Upon landing at Pond Inlet, be welcomed by your local coordinator and transferred to a comfortable hotel. During dinner, your expedition leader and lead Inuit guide give a briefing and gear check. After dinner, enjoy an authentic cultural presentation of Inuit throat singing, drum dancing, and storytelling by local elders.
Day 2 Travel to Basecamp
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, meet your guides on the beach (yes!, there are sand beaches in the Arctic as well!) in preparation for your departure to southeast Bylot Island and the floe-edge. Travel traditional Inuit-style qamutik (a wooden sled with suspension seats pulled behind the snowmobile), and experience the exhilaration of gliding across the ice. Your route of approximately 70 km includes tea stops at historic grave sites, hanging glaciers, and abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins. The final destination is the ice floe edge, where your Arctic Safari Camp is set up just a few kilometers back from the ice edge (conditions permitting).
Day 3-6 Arctic Exploration
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
The next few days include trips from your Arctic Safari Camp out to the floe edge along with excursions to other attractions in the area by qamutik and snowmobile. Your ice floe edge base camp enables you to enjoy the warm spring weather and engage in a variety of activities both on land and at the floe-edge. Wake up mornings to the smell of fresh coffee and the sounds of narwhal resting just off the ice edge. From camp and the floe-edge you can expect to see icebergs, ‘bergy-bits’, and drifting pack ice with playful seals poking their heads up out of the water and looking directly at you. Plenty of time is provided for unhurried observation and photography.
On the floe-edge, the likelihood is high that you see narwhals, bowhead whales, polar bears on the prowl for seals sunning themselves, and possibly walrus and beluga whales. Migratory birds are 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 bird species to be seen. Ice conditions permitting, visit the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary with 200,000 plus birds nesting not far away. On the land, track land mammals with your camera, see ancient Thule culture sites and traditional tent rings, and learn the culture and history of the area. Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic foxes and hares, weasels, collared lemmings, snowy owls, rough-legged hawks, and gyrfalcons.
Day 7 Pond Inlet | Fly to Iqaluit
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, break camp and reload the qamutiq and snowmobile 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 70km of sea ice by snowmobile, led by your Inuit guides. In the evening, you are free to explore the village of Pond Inlet.
If you have purchased the flight package from Ottawa to Pond Inlet and back, transfer to the airport for the flight to Iqaluit, where you spend the night at a hotel. (The accommodation in Iqaluit is included in the trip package price).
Day 8 Return home
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. If you have purchased the optional flight package, transfer to the Iqaluit Airport for your morning flight to Ottawa.