MTSobek Introduces: A Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari

OVERVIEW

Once you’ve seen Canada’s Northwestern Passage, wildlife viewing may never be the same. Nestled between the towering mountains of Baffin and Bylot Islands, our Arctic camp takes Arctic adventure to the next level. Starting and ending our voyage in the picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, we’ll journey some 435 miles north of the Arctic Circle, where playful and majestic wildlife thrive. In addition to providing the perfect playground for polar bears, seals, and whales, this awe-inspiring land is also home to the narwhal, “the unicorn of the sea.” After heading out from base camp every day to snorkel, kayak, snowmobile, and ride traditional Inuit wooden sleds, you’ll have successfully tapped into your inner explorer.

DATES

  • May 20 – 27, 2016
  • May 27, 2016 – Jun 03, 2016
  • Jun 02 – 09, 2016
  • Jun 12 – 19, 2016

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Observe narwhal, the famed “unicorns of the sea,” resting and feeding just yards away on this Arctic adventyre
  • Snorkel (yes, snorkel!) and kayak among harp seals, bearded seals, ring seals, and bowhead and beluga whales—and of course, narwhals!
  • Ride qamutik like the traditional Inuits, camp like explorers, and immerse yourself in the “Land of the Midnight Sun”

JOIN US

For detailed information and sign-up, contact Justin Huff at: justinh@mtsobek.com


TRIP ITINERARY

Duration: 8 days Start Location: Ottawa | End Location: Ottawa

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Day 1: Fly to Pond Inlet via Iqaluit

Arrive in Ottawa, Canada, and take a connecting flight to Iqaluit in the Northwestern Passage. It is then on to Pond Inlet, at the northern tip of Baffin Island, to meet your guide and the rest of your group. We’ll spend the night in Pond Inlet before heading out to camp tomorrow, arriving in the late afternoon. Pond Inlet, known to the Inuit locals as “Mittimatalik,” is a scenic hamlet surrounded by beautiful mountains, fjords, glaciers and a bird sanctuary. As the gateway to the Northwest Passage, it is an ideal place for spotting narwhals. During dinner tonight, your guides will brief you on the details of the trip and perform a gear check to make sure you’re ready for your week in the Arctic. After dinner, we’ll enjoy a traditional Inuit throat-singing performance, drum dancing and storytelling by some of the local elders.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Sauniq Hotel

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Day 2: Depart to Floe Edge

After breakfast, we’ll gather on a sandy beach to prepare for our departure to the southeast of Bylot Island. We’ll travel across fields of snow by qamutik, a traditional Inuit wooden sled with suspension seats pulled behind a snowmobile, on a 43-mile journey to Arctic Safari Camp, stopping along the way for warming tea breaks and stops at historic graves, glaciers, abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins. Upon arrival, we’ll settle into our mobile camp a few miles from the floe edge. This mobile camp is divided into separate yurts, each equipped with comfortable cots, a table and chairs, a space heater and even a power outlet. The bathrooms and dining hall are shared, and every day promises to be different. Those of you yearning for a real getaway will relish the lack of Wi-Fi available at camp. Here’s the excuse you’ve been waiting for to let yourself unplug.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Premium Safari Camp

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Day 3-6: Floe Edge

Over the next few days, we will leave camp and head out by qamutikand snowmobile to explore. During our adventures, we’ll see the warm spring weather working its magic with icebergs, small “bergy bits,” and playful seals poking their heads up out of the water. Plenty of time will be provided for unhurried observation and for impressive Arctic photography. Perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip is the opportunity to observe a wide variety of Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat. On the floe edge, the likelihood is high that we’ll see narwhals, bowhead whales, and polar bears on the prowl for seals sunning themselves, and possibly walrus and beluga whales. Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic foxes and hares, weasels, collared lemmings, snowy owls, rough-legged hawks, and gyrfalcons. Migratory birds are also 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 many bird species that can be observed. Ice conditions permitting, we may also get to enjoy a visit to the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, where over 200,000 birds choose to nest. We may also have a chance to visit the evocative ancient Thule sites, where you will see the traditional tent rings and learn about the culture and history of the area. Be prepared for lots of surprises!

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Premium Safari Camp
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Day 7: Return to Pond Inlet

We’ll leave camp today by qamutik and return to the arctic hamlet of Pond Inlet. Depending on the route, one of the stop may include a visit to a 328-foot waterfall to enjoy tea made from its ancient glacial water. The rest of the day and evening is yours to explore on your own and discover why Pond Inlet is referred to as one of Canada’s “jewels of the north.” Consider visiting the Nattinnak Visitors Centre, located on the bluff, with its excellent exhibit on the region’s natural history, including a full size narwhal with a tusk hanging from the ceiling. Other places on our bucket list: the Co-op Store and its selection of native carvings and other locally made crafts, and the Northern Store, historically known as “The Bay”, is also worth visiting. You may also have the opportunity to learn about and buy carvings directly from local artists. Accommodations and dinner will be at our lodge in Pond Inlet.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Premium Safari Camp

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Day 8: Fly to Ottawa & Depart

Bid farewell to your fellow explorers and prepare yourself for warmer climes as we transfer to the airport for our southbound flights to Iqaluit, Ottawa, and then home. If weather permits, we should be arriving in Ottawa at approximately 4:50pm. Please plan accordingly when scheduling your return flights.

  • Breakfast
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TRIP INCLUDES:

  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 4 nights accommodation in Paramaribo
  • 2 nights accommodation in Isadou Island
  • 3 nights accommodation in Raleigh Falls
  • Meals as specified
  • Sightseeing as specified in itinerary with services of local English speaking guide
  • Escort by travel expert Richard Bangs
  • Transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle

PRICING

2016 Pricing, per person sharing

Land Price: $ 10,495
Single Supplement: $ 8,395 (Request to share when booking to avoid single supplement)
Internal Air: $4,105

$2000 deposit required at time of booking. Full Payment due 120 days prior to departure date.


LODGINGS

Premium Safari Camp — Floe Edge

Inspired by African mobile safari camps, the Premium Safari Camp brings elegance and comfort to the Arctic. The modern, specially designed yurt-style safari camp structures have double walls with insulation to provide a warm and inviting home away from home in one of the world’s most remote, yet breathtaking places.

Sleep quarters are spacious and warm with over 10’ cathedral ceilings. The yurt-style safari sleep structures are 16’ in diameter and are entered via a lockable door. Configurations with either two twin beds or one king size bed are available. Each bed is complete with mattress duvets, pillows, and a warm comforter. No detail has been overlooked – from large windows that give a 360 degree view, to coat hooks, cozy rugs, and heaters for those that would like it a little toastier, our Premium Safari Camp provides the perfect home away from home.

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Sauniq Hotel — Pond Inlet

The Sauniq Hotel is renowned for its hospitality and traditional Inuit cuisine the world over. The experienced staff are knowledgeable about the local tours, wildlife spotting and best hiking locations in the area. The associations with the local co-operative and experienced outfitters will help guarantee that your stay in Pond Inlet is comfortable and convenient.


BOOKING DETAILS

For detailed information and sign-up, contact Justin Huff at: justinh@mtsobek.com


ADDITIONAL INFO

For more info on this trip visit: MTSobek.com


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