Narwhal and Polar Bear Expedition

Discover mythical whales in the wilderness of Canada’s northern frontier…

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8 days from £8,725 pp sharing

  • Includes all accommodation, domestic flights, transport, guides, full board at camp, and all activities
  • Deposit £1,400pp. Single supplement available on enquiry
  • Maximum group size 14 people
  • Excludes international flights

Download our 2013/14 Tours Guide for information on booking your flights and FAQs about our tours

Your Yurt style accommodation on the frozen sea ice.

Our Arctic expedition offers a rare opportunity to see the abundant wildlife that congregates where the frozen sea meets the open ocean. Along this icy edge there is a fascinating marine eco-system where wildlife gathers and thrives during the spring months. Narwhals head to the floe in large pods on their migration west, numerous sea birds gather to feed, and solitary Polar Bears roam amongst the pack ice looking for seals. Ethereal 24 hour sunlight and vast panoramas of glittering ice are the backdrop to this wildlife spectacle.

On this tour there will also be the opportunity to see numerous other sea bird species, including Thick-billed Murre, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Ivory Gull, and many other species of gull. Beluga whales are also frequent visitors to this area and if you’re lucky, a Bowhead whale may lift through the loose sea ice in front of camp, displaying it’s huge black hump before disappearing below.

A senior Inuit guide will explain the traditional ways of Inuit life over five days on the ice as you embark on a journey of discovery in a pristine wilderness area. Hiking on the land, breaking icicles off of glaciers, gazing up at thousands of birds at the nearby bird cliffs, and drinking glacier melt-water on day excursions are just a few of the activities that you can participate in during your stay on the ice.

For the more adventurous, a snorkelling option is available where you can attempt to swim with the Narwhal if conditions present themselves. These naturally inquisitive whales often approach snorkelers, swimming to within 3 metres. For the lucky few who experience it, it is a moment of sheer exhilaration and joy to swim with these animals.

We place an emphasis on providing time and space to explore the areas around camp, without the constraints associated with large groups or cruises. This is the best way to experience the solitude, stillness and silence of the high Arctic.

The comfortable heated Yurt style accommodation, with raised beds, duvets, and pillows, along with a lounge/dining Yurt, and fully functioning bathrooms with on demand hot water showers, will allow even a first time ‘camper’ to enjoy the experience of sleeping under the midnight sun.

  • Participate in an Arctic expedition to one of the most remote and inspiring regions on earth.
  • Witness the incredible wildlife at the floe edge, including pods of Narwhal, Polar Bear, and possibly Bowhead Whale.
  • Travel with a large team of Arctic expedition experts and benefit from their knowledge, logistical support, and exceptional wildlife guiding abilities.
  • Observe iconic Arctic wildlife at close quarters, and even at the very edge of your camp.
  • Use a dry suit to snorkel along the edge of an iceberg or hopefully to view the Narwhals below the water.
  • Take a Kayak along the floe edge to search for whales and bears.
  • Travel with, and learn from, the local Inuit guides who accompany our guests at all times.
  • Learn about Inuit culture and traditions at the excellent visitor’s centre in Pond Inlet.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking scenery at the floe edge whilst you wait for wildlife to appear between the moving pack ice and icebergs.
  • Enjoy a BBQ lunch whilst you spot Polar Bears from on top of a large iceberg.
  • Simply enjoy the perfect tranquility and space of an area untouched by mankind.

For a detailed tour itinerary, please download our Tour Brochure.

Day 1
Depart from Ottawa for Iqaluit in the morning. You will change planes in Iqaluit and then continue onto Pond Inlet. Upon landing at Pond Inlet, you will be welcomed by our local coordinator and transferred to a comfortable hotel. During dinner, our expedition leader and lead Inuit guide will give a briefing and check any gear you may wish to use. The evening will be yours to relax, enjoy and explore Pond Inlet and the not-too-distant mountains of Bylot Island under the midnight sun.

Day 2
After breakfast, you will meet your guides on the beach in preparation for your departure to southeast Bylot Island and the floe edge camp. You will be traveling traditional Inuit-style by Komatiq (a wooden sled with suspension seats pulled behind the snowmobile) and snowmobile across the sea ice. Your route of approximately 70km/43miles may vary depending on ice conditions and can include tea-stops at historic grave sites, hanging glaciers, and abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins.

Days 3-6
From the camp, there will be day trips made with the Komatiqs and snowmobiles out to the floe edge and other highlights of the area. You will be able to enjoy the warm spring weather and engage in a variety of activities both on land and at the floe edge. From camp and the floe edge, you can expect to see icebergs and drifting pack ice with wildlife dotted amongst the broken ice. Plenty of time will be provided for unhurried observation and photography.

On the land, you may have the opportunity to track land mammals with your camera, see ancient Thule culture sites, see traditional tent rings, and learn the history of the area. Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic fox and Hare, Weasel, Collared Lemming, Snowy owl, Rough-legged hawks, and Gyrfalcon.

Day 7
After breakfast, you will depart camp and reload the Komatiqs for your return journey to Pond Inlet. Stops may include (depending on the route) a 100-metre waterfall. Here you can make tea made with the water from the glacier.

Day 8
After an early breakfast, you will transfer to the Pond Inlet Airport for your 8:00am flight to Iqaluit. On arrival in Iqaluit at approximately noon, you will transfer planes and continue on to Ottawa, arriving at approximately 16:50

Just some of the wild Canada you may encounter:

  • Polar Bear
  • Narwhal
  • Bowhead Whale
  • Beluga Whale
  • Ring Seal
  • Harp Seal
  • Bearded Seal
  • Arctic Hare
  • Arctic Fox
  • Ptarmigan
  • Thick-billed Murre
  • Northern Fulmar
  • Kittiwake
  • Guillemot
  • Ivory Gull
  • King Eider Duck
  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Arctic Tern

Many of the photos you see on this site were taken by amateur photographers on our tours.

No online reviews for this tour. Please contact the Encounter the Wild team for a review or testimonial.

Encounter the wild are a proud to support the Seltzer-Chan Pond Inlet Foundation.

This is a community based charity in Pond Inlet that aims to preserve traditional Inuit culture and assist Inuit students with educational grants. Please read our tour brochure for more information on how your participation can make a difference.