Canadian High Arctic Experience
Travel 800 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle to an unparalleled destination for adventurous explorers, the Canadian High Arctic. The wildlife out here is spectacular. Great hurds of enormous musk ox roam the tundra, arctic foxes carefully raise their pups, snowy owls patrol the skies and hungry polar bears roam the island until winter brings them the sea ice they need for hunting. But the highlight of this Canadian High Arctic Experience are the hundreds of Beluga whales that come to Cunningham Inlet each year. They swim so close to the shore that you can get within a few metres of them.
High Arctic Expedition ActivitiesOn this expedition we go out to explore the area every day. From ATV and bike rides to wildlife photography and sea kayaking with beluga whales, we offer a fully guided expedition in Canada’s far north. Early in summer we even go out on the ice floe that reaches down here, later in the season the pack ice crumbles and floats out to the open water of the Northwest Passage.
Arctic Watch LodgeYou stay at The Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, situated on the historic Northwest Passage on Somerset Island, Nunavut. This is the most northerly fly-in lodge in the world. Gourmet meals and comfortable accommodation at 74° north makes this a unique adventure for those seeking an experience of a lifetime.
Activities may variate during your trip because of changing weather conditions. We try our best to provide the best experience for you.
Day 1 & 2 - Heading North
On the first day you fly into Yellowknife and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel. The next day after breakfast you depart on a private 3-hour charter flight towards the High Arctic. Upon arrival in the lodge you will get an introduction about the accomodation and surrounding area followed by some time to get settled into your cabin. In the afternoon a short hike is planned, your first opportunity to see the incredible surroundings and get a view of the Arctic Ocean.
Day 3 - Searching for Beluga Whales
By atv's you will be transported your entire journey. This day you will have a short ride to the Cunningham Estuary to watch beluga whales. Archaeological sites and artifacts dating to Viking contact can be seen along Somerset’s coastline. Enjoy a delicious lunch buffet back at the lodge before departing for a short afternoon hike to the Triple Waterfalls. This 5km roundtrip hike gives you an introduction to the plants and animals that live in the area. Encounters with musk-ox are common.
Day 4 - Cunningham River delta
We will travel by ATV across the Cunningham River delta, to Muskox Ridge. This scenic trail provides spectacular views of the area and is a great vantage point from which to see musk-oxen and arctic foxes. From the high ridge, we hike down into one of the many depressions where musk-oxen often spend the summer months foraging.
After a picnic lunch at Inukshuk Lake, fishing gear will be supplied to catch-and-release arctic char. We head back to the lodge along the River Trail keeping an eye out for birds such as snowy owls, rough-legged hawks and more.
After dinner, an informal lecture will be held by Richard Weber on his North Pole expeditions, highlighting his historic (and unrepeated) 1995 successfull unassisted journey to the North Pole.
Day 5 - Kayaking Cunningham River
Sea kayak the gin-clear water of Cunningham Inlet while enjoying views of Gifford Point in the distance. Watch for beluga whales passing by your boat as they travel between the open water of the Northwest Passage and the mouth of the Cunningham River. Hop out on the other side of the inlet at Kayak Falls with stunning views of the Northwest Passage, and (if lucky!) spot polar bear.
After dinner, an informal lecture by Nansen Weber on wildlife photography will be offered.
Day 6 - Up close to Beluga Whales
Travel by truck to the east side of Cunningham Inlet where a number of unnamed canyons offer great hiking opportunities. The afternoon will be spent at the estuary to watch the beluga whales play in the freshwater, as it spills into the Arctic Ocean. Packing into the turquoise waters of the sheltered bay, they can be seen splashing and gurgling as they rub themselves on the river stones. This particular spot is renowned because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to the shore.
Day 7 - History and Wildlife
Even after several days out here, the views of the Northwest Passage will never seize to amaze you. Enjoy them from the ATV while driving along the west shore of the inlet. We will stop at a some of the 1000 year-old historic Thule sites that are situated along the coast. Today you'll learn more about the history of this remote area.
We turn west at Polar Bear Point to look for wildlife before we go for a short hike up to Nansen’s ridge. There we find even more incredible views of the Northwest Passage and the incredible Arctic landscape.
Day 8 - Raft, kayak or paddle board
We head out to the raft put-in on the Cunningham River and hike the last stretch through the Badlands. This is a unique landscape where we will stop at some of the incredible 8000-year-old bowhead whale skeletons that are exposed here on the tundra. This area is inhabited by snow geese, musk-ox and arctic foxes.
After a picnic lunch by the river, you can take one of the rafts, kayaks or standup paddle-boards for the return to Arctic Watch Lodge. You paddle through a narrow canyon that opens up into into the braided flats in front of the lodge.
This evening you'll have the final dinner of the expedition. In the evening we challenge the arctic waters and take a polar plunge!
Day 9 - End of the expedition
This is your last morning and afternoon at the lodge. You have some free time to do an activity that you missed during the week or would like to repeat. There’s lots of time before the flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.
Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
Located 800 km north of the Arctic Circle on the shores of the Northwest Passage in Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island, Nunavut, is the most northerly fly-in lodge on earth - Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.
There are 16 private guest cabins are each equipped with a marine toilet and sink. Private showers are located in the main complex. At night hot water bottles are provided to place under the thick duvets to add an extra level of comfort. A generator provides electricity to the cabins from early morning until 11:00 pm. There’s no electricity at night, but you won't need it under the midnight sun.
If you’re not out exploring the land or on the water, it’s all about great Canadian cuisine. Experience gourmet fare inspired by every province. Our talented chef bakes breads, yogurts, ice creams and other delights daily to satisfy you at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Before or after a meal, relax, socialize or attend a lecture in the main lodge’s Great Room or explore the extensive Arctic Library and Interpretive Center housing local artifacts, maps, and 42 million year-old fossils.
Call us today on +31 (0) 858 771 583
Call us today on +31 (0) 858 771 583