Depart Ottawa for Iqaluit in the morning. You will change planes in Iqaluit, departing to continue onto Pond Inlet. Upon landing at Pond Inlet, you will 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. The evening will be 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 the floe-edge where ice meets open water. You will travel Inuit style by qamotiq (kam-oo-tik) 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 you’ll arrive at base camp, set up just back from the ice edge (conditions permitting).
Your camp at the floe edge will enable you to enjoy warm spring weather and engage in a variety of activities both on land and on ice. The first plunge on arrival will be a check-out dive in open water. Explore the Arctic sea floor, sea anemones, urchins, starfish and glittering jelly fish. Each dive will build on the previous dive experience – from open water diving off the floe edge to ice-pack diving where ice can be 10 feet above the surface and then shoot down 90 feet or more, in spires resembling a reversed cathedral tower. Witness the surreal world of blue, turquoise juxtaposed with the black depths below. The play of light on ice and water is a photographer’s paradise. Dive sites change year to year as ice conditions differ, but when possible attempt to dive alongside a grounded iceberg accessed through cracks. The dimpled sides, old water run-off tunnels and different light patterns emanating from cracks and melt water pools from above is mind- bendingly cool. Where and when possible, attempt to dive with the passing Narwhal. Potentially also see polar bears. Minimum dive certification is Advanced. Drysuit experience preferred but not required.
After breakfast, you will break camp and reload the komatics for your return journey to Pond Inlet. Stop at a 100 meter stepped waterfall for tea made with the glacier run off. Once again you will cross about 90km of sea ice by snowmobile, lead by your Inuit guides. In the evening, you will be free to 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 also 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, you will change planes and continue on to Ottawa, arriving in the evening. Extra days in Ottawa can be arranged by request.
Please add 5% sales tax from Pond Inlet. Rates based on current exchange rate CAD/US dollars. Please contact us for exact quote in US dollars.