An Exhilarating Land-Based Arctic Adventure
Our polar cruises are not the only way you can explore the farthest reaches of the planet. We can also offer an excellent land-based trip which involves staying inside the Arctic Circle in what is known as the Arctic Watch Lodge. This camp can be found at 74 degrees north and provides the perfect alternative to an expedition cruise.
The Arctic Watch Lodge was established in 1992 and has been offering adventurers the chance to get closer to nature and take part in a wide range of once-in-a-lifetime experiences ever since. The camp is situated in the Canadian Arctic, on Somerset Island, in the middle of the North-west Passage. Guests will get the chance to meet each other in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, (with a night here included in your trip) before you climb aboard your own private charter plane and head off to the lodge.
You can choose between an eight or ten-night itinerary, which will include either six or eight nights staying at the lodge itself and then a night in Yellowknife at either end of your trip. Regardless of which option you choose, your stay will be action-packed and jammed full of amazing sights, sounds and activities.
The Arctic Watch Lodge was originally formed to be a beluga whale spotting venue and is still one of the best places in the world to see these playful animals. Each summer, around 2,000 whales swim into the bay and can be seen breaching the surface and swimming in large groups. This represents an excellent photo opportunity or just the perfect chance to stand back and revel in this unique experience.
During your time at the lodge, there will also be much more wildlife on display. Bearded and ringed seals may be spotted in the Cunningham Inlet, Arctic seabirds and snowy owls perch high up on the canyon walls, impressive muskox can be seen traipsing along the Muskox Ridge Trail, and Arctic fox cubs roll around in the tundra. During a designated day trip to Cape Anne, along the coast, you will also be on the lookout for the king of the Arctic food chain; the polar bear.
As you can see, there is plenty happening outside the sanctuary of your tent and the lodge itself, so you are sure to spend a lot of time away from camp. Various methods of transport will be used to help you get around, including ATVs (all-terrain vehicles), a Mercedes Unimog truck, kayaks or rafts, and, of course, your own two feet. All the basic equipment and instruction you will need will be provided and all the activities mentioned are included in the original price.
Further pursuits are also available at an extra cost. There’s the chance to go fly-fishing in the Cunningham River estuary for just $30 (the cost of a sports fishing license) and an additional day trip to Beechey Island is also offered. This extra expedition requires a minimum of 8 guests and a maximum of 12 and will cost an additional $895 each. You will leave camp and take a short flight to the scene of Franklin’s disastrous 1845 exploration, looking out for narwhals and whales along the way. Once there, you will visit the graves of the three crew members that lost their lives and ponder the mystery of this much-discussed quest for the North-west Passage.
Although the lodge is situated in the middle of the wilderness and looks slightly like a marquee, it is well designed to offer hotel-level comfort to all of its guests. There are relaxing chairs in which to sit and read the interesting and educational literature available, hearty meals laid out like banquets on the rustic tables, and even fine wines with which you can toast each other and your surroundings after a long day of discovery.
The tents that surround the lodge will provide a comfortable place to rest your head at the end of the long day. A far cry from a basic camping environment, they feature raised beds with warm blankets and plump pillows on top, storage space for your expedition gear, and even a window through which you can do some nocturnal wildlife spotting.
During this trip, you will be provided with an expeditions parka that you are entitled to keep and there are also waterproof boots available for loan. Guests are warned that temperatures can range between 0 and 20 degrees and so it’s best to ensure you’re prepared for both ends of that scale.
The Arctic Watch Lodge program is available on many different dates throughout 2016. If you are interested in learning more, or booking your place on this amazing adventure, please call us today.