MAY 2023: BAFFIN ISLAND, THE NARWHALS MIGRATION

 

21 – 30 May 2023

Exclusive departure for our group, 6 people only. Unique and spectacular exploration of the northern part of Baffin Island aboard snowmobiles, dog sleds and balloon; in the comfort of our base camp on the pack ice. May is the best season to observe the unique marine life that live in these waters; temperatures rise up to 10° C making it pleasant to indulge outdoor, and as soon as the pack ice begins to melt the elusive Narwhals and the friendly Belugas make their appearance in large numbers, while the Polar Bears and Walruses, although present, are more difficult to approach. Very important will be also the ethnographic aspect and our activities will be carried out in collaboration with the local Inuit who will share their culture with us.

PROGRAM

 

21  May
Flight to Ottawa (not included).
Overnight at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Ottawa Airport or similar****.

22  May
Flight Ottawa – Iqaluit – Pond Inlet (not included).
We will arrive in Pond Inlet in the evening and will be transferred to our hotel.
Overnight at Hotel Sauniq***.

23  May
In the morning, we will boarded the snowmobiles and sleds led by the Inuit, we will begin our adventure with a wonderful ride to our base camp located on the pack ice. We will enjoy the magnificent landscape that surround us and enjoy the adventurous spirit that the exploration of this remote region transmits to us. The location of the base camp varies from year to year according to the ice conditions and is chosen to optimize the possibilities for observing the fauna.
A favorite spot is located at a glacial lake nestled at the foot of spectacular peaks and surrounded by breathtaking ice caps.
Our exclusive pack ice base camp consists of special yurt tents equipped with a heating system capable of maintaining a comfortable temperature inside, insulated roof and walls, windows and floor. The Yurts are quite spacious and can each accommodate 2 folder beds complete with mattress and comfortable sleeping bags complete with brand new inserts, bedside tables and chairs. They are designed to be occupied by 2 people each, being about 2 meters high allow people to stand up inside them. The base camp is completed by a communal tent where meals are served, one can relax and discuss the day’s adventures and a small tent used as a toilet.
After settling in and experiencing a satisfying Arctic lunch, consisting of a mix of arctic char, caribou and other typical dishes, we will have free time to relax and settle into the fantastic world of ice.
Overnight at Base Camp.

24  May
Today we will have the unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to observe the spectacular Arctic landscapes and wildlife from the sky aboard a romantic hot air balloon. We will be among the very few in the world to experience this extraordinary balloon flight over the incredible Arctic region, an unforgettable emotion.
In the afternoon, back with our feet on the ground or on the pack ice, we will explore the area by snowmobile through some of the most spectacular landscapes of the region, including the Simirlik National Park, known for its rich wildlife: Beluga, Seals, Walrus, Caribou, Polar Bears, Arctic Foxes, Arctic Hares and Wolves can be found in the park.
Overnight at Base Camp.

25  May
In the Arctic, wildlife is concentrated on the edge of the pack ice, where the open sea meets sea ice. Late May is the best time to observe the wild animals and marine mammals that populate these regions in large numbers; temperatures rise up to 10° C making it pleasant to indulge outdoors, and as soon as the pack ice begins to melt, the elusive Narwhals and the friendly Belugas make their appearance in large numbers using the openings in the ice.
We will dedicate the day to the observation of the Arctic fauna. Narwhals and Belugas, forced to pass through the few narrow channels open in the ice, are more easily accessible while Polar Bears, Walruses and Seals rarely come very close.
Overnight at Base Camp.

26  May
Today we will take a step back in the history of the Arctic and in the Inuit culture driving dog sleds venturing into the territory of Simirlik National Park. Our Inuit guides will be with us all the way, showing us how dogs should be handled as we head to the cliffs of Bylot Island which is an important migratory spot for Narwhals and is a key nesting area for seabirds, and a Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The coasts of the island are characterized by rugged mountains, ice caps, steep cliffs, snowfields and glaciers, which provide a perfect nesting environment for hundreds of thousands of seabirds, among others Brunnich’s Guillermots are present in large numbers, Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Black Guillermots, Sabine Gulls, Terns and Skuas.
The southwestern end of the island is flat and covered with a humid tundra, the ideal habitat for nesting coastal birds and water birds. Bylot Island is home to the largest colony of Snow Geese in the Canadian High Arctic.
N.B .: Those who do not wish to lead their pack of dogs can participate in the excursion as a sled passenger.
Overnight at Base Camp.

27  May
We will return to the edge of the pack ice to spend some more time observing the fantastic fauna that at this particular time of the year makes this extreme ecosystem magical. We will have other possibilities to have close encounters with Narwhal and Beluga and if we are particularly lucky also with Polar Bears, Seals and Walruses.
In the late afternoon we will have time to relax and enjoy the sunset thus immerse ourselves in the extreme beauty of the environment that surrounds us.
Overnight at Base Camp.

28  May
This morning we will return to Pond Inlet with the snowmobiles. We will arrive in the late afternoon. In the evening we will have time to explore and observe the extreme lifestyle of this typical Inuit village known for the quality of the local handicrafts.
Overnight at Hotel Sauniq***.

29  May
Today we will reach Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, located on the southern coast of Baffin Island and we will have the opportunity to explore the city.
Overnight at Hotel***

30  May
In the morning, we will fly to Ottawa (not included).

* This is a real expedition in poorly explored areas, for this reason the program could be carried out in a different way due to weather conditions or the sighting of animals; it is essential to be flexible.

Included in the price:

–  Double room/tent accommodation breakfast included.
–  All mentioned excursions.
–  English speaking guide.      
–  All meals from 22/05 to 29/05.

Not included:

–  Meals not mentioned above.
–  The flgihts.
–  Any unforeseen additional costs associated with weather and/or layovers in Pond Inlet, Iqaluit or Ottawa including flight changes, additional hotels and meals.

Voyage Map

PRICE PER PERSON Euro 10300,00
*Exchange rate 1 CAD = 0,70 Euro.

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