Arrive at the hangar in Yellowknife early in the morning and board a comfortable and privately chartered plane to Arctic Watch. This 4-hour flight passes over the vast and changing landscape as you fly 1,000 miles across trees and the impressive holes in the earth dug for the Diavik mine. The flight stops in Cambridge Bay to refuel. In the afternoon, land on a private airstrip next to Arctic Watch on Somerset Island. Take a short walk across the tundra and an even shorter raft ride across the Cunningham River before arriving at the lodge. Settle into your cabin before enjoying dinner in the lodge’s cozy dining room.
Following breakfast, attend a hands-on introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which are easy and fun to drive. The ride takes anywhere between 30 minutes to 4 hours, depending on your preference. Take a short-distance hike to the Cunningham River estuary to watch beluga whales frolic in the shallow water. In the afternoon, hike to Triple Waterfalls, a five-story torrent of free-falling water. View nesting peregrine falcons, loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Explore the canyon and hope for an encounter with a muskox. The evening is yours for self-exploration. Relax in the library or visit the interpretive center, which contains local fossils, skeletal remains of Arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit skin clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia.
After breakfast at the lodge, travel by ATV over the Cunningham River delta and along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. To date, every excursion to this location has resulted in a muskox encounter. Pass an impressive Arctic fox den and hope to view wild fox cubs at play. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Arctic Watch’s shelter at Inukshuk Lake before experiencing a “catch-and-release” fishing opportunity for Arctic Char. Return by ATV on an alternate route along the River Trail. In the evening, attend an informal lecture by Richard Weber, and internationally recognized polar explorer and owner of Arctic Watch.
In the morning, kayak in the Arctic’s Cunningham Inlet. All equipment and basic instructions are provided. Paddle among icebergs, ring seals and bearded seals, keeping a sharp eye out for beluga whales. Enjoy lunch along the shoreline and take a small hike to explore a local canyon, aptly named “Kayak Falls.” Take in the stunning views of the Northwest Passage and hope to see polar bears. This kayaking trip lasts between 30 minutes and 4 hours, depending on your preference. In the afternoon, return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. The area is known for its beluga encounters. Guests can stand along the river banks as the whales frolic in the shallow water. To better appreciate the underwater calls, a hydrophone (underwater microphone) is used. In the evening, attend a lecture on beluga research.
Following breakfast, cross the Cunningham River delta for a trip to Flatrock Falls. View the stunning Somerset Island canyons, which were formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their most vertical walls vary in height from 200 to 1,000 feet. Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals litter the ground. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the flat rocks that surround the canyon, then travel to Gull Canyon to see the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and lush gull rookery. In the evening, attend a lecture by Arctic Watch’s house scientist.
Take an ATV to Cape Anne to visit five Thule sites along the coast and to look for polar bears. The ride includes scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites and prehistoric giant whale bones. The Thule culture was based around bowhead-whale-hunting, and were the ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can be often seen on the shoreline as they wander the coast. In the evening, relax and attend a lecture by Richard Weber which includes stunning images and fascinating stories of Arctic expeditions to Baffin, Ellesmere and other High Arctic islands.
Begin the day either rafting or kayaking on the Cunningham River. Typically, the final 3.7 miles of this trip requires a hike through the Badlands which passes the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales, dated at eight thousand years ago. The trip includes encounters with muskox, snow geese, jaegers, arctic fox, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Savor a picnic lunch on the beach beside the river before either taking a kayak or raft back to the lodge. The river is swift-flowing, crystal-clear water and doesn’t have any difficult sections or rapids. Travelers can expect to be on the water for 2-3 hours.
Spend the morning relaxing at the lodge and enjoying conversation with your fellow travelers. In the late afternoon, take a chartered plane back to Yellowknife.
Please add 5% GST for Canadians and 2.5% for non-Canadians, from Yellowknife, NT, Canada. Any two consecutive weeks for $11,990 per person plus 5% GST
We recommend purchasing a pair of Muck Boots for your trip to Arctic Watch.