Day 1 — Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meeting your fellow travelers.
Day 2 — Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
We’ll meet early in the morning to board our private chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles (1,500 km) to the Arctic Watch lodge.
Day 3 — Arctic Watch Lodge, Summerset Island
A typical first morning at the lodge may include receiving a hands-on introduction to driving all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), which are easy and fun to drive. Later, we may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to watch beluga whales frolic in the shallow water only a few yards offshore, followed by a wonderful buffet lunch.
Enjoy a hike to Triple Waterfalls, a five-story torrent of free- falling water. There you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. Exploring the canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild Arctic flowers. Encounters with muskox are common.
After a hearty dinner, there’s free time to explore in and around the lodge. The library has a broad selection of Arctic and polar titles. The interpretive centre contains collections of local fossils, skeletal remains of Arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia
Day 4 — Arctic Watch Lodge
Today we travel by ATV, crossing the Cunningham River delta, and driving along the Muskox Ridge Trail, which provides a scenic overview of the entire area. It’s very likely that we’ll see muskox and pass by an impressive Arctic fox den where you may have the opportunity to watch fox cubs at play. Following a picnic lunch at our shelter at Inukshuk Lake, we’ll supply gear for those who would like to take the opportunity to “catch-and-release” fish for Arctic char.
In the evening after dinner, we’ll have an informal lecture.
Day 5 — Arctic Watch Lodge
Today we may attempt to kayak in Cunningham Inlet. All equipment and basic instructions are provided. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for ring and bearded seals as well as beluga whales. Sightings of sea birds, including Arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, we’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named “Kayak Falls.” From there we’ll have stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears.
In the afternoon, we’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary to watch the beluga whales. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the whale population and their proximity to our lodge. Standing on the river banks, you’ll be able to see the beluga whales frolic in the shallow water and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides will use our hydrophones so that you can also hear their underwater calls.
In the evening, following a delicious dinner, we’ll have a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet
Day 6 — Arctic Watch Lodge
Today we’ll depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you’ll have the option of hiking or travelling by Mercedes Unimog a (multi-purpose four-wheel drive truck). We’ll visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines.
You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. A picnic lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon. After lunch, we’ll travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. The Canadian Wildlife Service recently visited and claimed this spot to be a unique and special eco-system for the gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons.
In the evening, Arctic Watch’s scientist- in-residence will give an informal lecture.
Day 7 — Arctic Watch Lodge
Today we’ll set out on ATVs to Cape Anne where we’ll visit five Thule sites all along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule culture were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The ride includes scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Inuit campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones.
The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses. Polar bears can often be seen on the shoreline, as they wander the coast, waiting for the ice to return. The return trip overland via the Red Valley, will give us incredible views of the place we’ve called home this week.
Day 8 — Arctic Watch Lodge
The first leg of today’s journey will be by Mercedes Unimog truck. We’ll get to the Arctic Watch raft and kayak launch on the Cunningham River, 20 km from the lodge.
Day 9 — Depart for Yellowkife
Today, you’ll bid a fond farewell to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before we depart. In the late afternoon, the plane will arrive for the return flight back to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife you will be transferred to your included hotel.
Day 10 — Yellowknife
Today you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area.
MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:
- Pre-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
- Group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch lodge
- Charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch lodge (return)
- Post-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
- Group transfers from your hotel to the airport for your charter flight (return)
Cost per person: $1690 USD
IMPORTANT: The itinerary outlined s only a sample of a typical week at Arctic Watch Lodge. Day-to-day activities may vary and are also weather dependent. Please note that during “Adventure Week”, the first week of the season, there is less likelihood of seeing belugas.