Day 1 Ottawa to Pond Inlet
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.
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!) 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 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).
Day 3-6 Diving the Arctic
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Revel in some of the best diving you 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 see narwhals, bowhead whales, polar bears on the prowl for seals sunning themselves, and possibly walrus and beluga whales.
Engage in other activities on land and at the floe edge including kayaking, hiking, and, ice conditions permitting, possibly visit the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, home to hundreds of thousands of birds.
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.
Day 7 Pond Inlet
After breakfast, depart 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. Enjoy your final night in Pond Inlet.