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. The rest of 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 as well!) in preparation for your departure to southeast Bylot Island and the floe-edge. Travel traditional Inuit-style by komatiq and snowmobile across the sea ice. Your route of approximately 90km 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 a base camp will be set up just back from the ice edge (conditions permitting).
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 will 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.
After breakfast, break camp and reload the qamutiq 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, you are free to explore the village of Pond Inlet. The Nattinnak Visitors Centre, 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 learn about and buy carvings directly from local artists. Accommodations and dinner are 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, immediately change planes and continue on to Ottawa, arriving at 16:50. Extra days in Ottawa can be arranged by request.
Please add 5% sales tax from Pond Inlet.