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Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge

Spend a week exploring the Canadian Arctic at this unique wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada. Situated 500 miles (805 km) north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers guests fully guided opportunities for diverse adventure activities, and extraordinary polar photography thanks to 24 hours of daylight. Observe the elusive musk ox, polar bear and more wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible via a scenic flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

Early Booking Offer

Free transfer package on selected* 2017 Arctic Watch itineraries (value of $1,690 USD)

*Applicable dates: 30 June 2017 & 07 August 2017

Early Booking Discount on 2018 dates:

$1000 USD on 8-day itineraries
$1500 USD
on 10-day itineraries

  • Encounter rarely seen and iconic arctic wildlife and their habitats: polar bears, muskoxen, ringed seals, bird cliffs, fox dens and much more
  • Visit the Cunningham River estuary, seasonal home to hundreds of beluga whales
  • Take advantage of included equipment and activities such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), a Mercedes Unimog, kayaking, rafting, fishing and hiking
  • Visit Cape Anne Thule sites with ancient stone and bone houses
  • Enjoy unique photography opportunities

Your Hosts

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is a family-run basecamp, hosted by arctic enthusiasts Josée Auclair and her husband, Richard Weber, along with their two sons, Tessum and Nansen. They are distinguished across the Canadian High Arctic as polar experts, particularly in Nunavut, and specialize in North Pole and arctic tourism. Additional expertise comes from Quark Expeditions’ veteran polar expedition team member, Hadleigh Measham.

POSSIBLE LANDINGS AND WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS

CUNNINGHAM INLET

Every summer, this sheltered inlet is home to about 2000 beluga whales who pass through the Cunningham River estuary on Somerset Island, Nunavut. Arctic Watch Lodge is located within walking distance of this cluster of whale activity, and we will be able to view them enjoying the warmth of the river water and socializing.

TRIPLE WATERFALLS

A hike from the lodge brings you to a five-story torrent of free-falling water. Here you can see nesting peregrine falcons and other birds such as loons, snow buntings, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks.

MUSKOX RIDGE TRAIL

The trail provides a scenic overview of the entire Cunningham River delta. Here you will see an arctic fox den and are very likely to encounter musk ox herds.

INUKSHUK LAKE

Located two hours from the lodge by ATV, at Inukshuk Lake you can fish for arctic char as part of the lodge’s catch and release program.

FLATROCK FALLS

Here you can view the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their most vertical walls vary in height from 200 to 1,000 feet. Keep your eyes open for fossils of prehistoric plants and animals.

GULL CANYON

Named by Arctic Watch owners Richard Weber and Josée Auclair, Gull Canyon shows the striking biological contrasts between barren canyon and lush gull rookery.

CAPE ANNE

A trip to Cape Anne includes seeing scenic vistas, icebergs, ancient Thule campsites and giant prehistoric whale bones. The Thule were a culture of bowhead whale hunters, and ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The Cape Anne Thule site is the largest in the area and includes the remains of 15 stone and bone houses.

YELLOWKNIFE

Beautiful Yellowknife is a thriving community on the north shore of Great Slave Lake, featuring endless summer days and incredible arctic scenery. Originally a gold-mining town, Yellowknife has now reinvented itself as Canada’s “Diamond Capital”, and is an interesting gateway to the expansive world of the north. Numerous opportunities abound for an active and unique vacation, including seeing Northern Lights, dogsledding, or hiking on the Canadian Shield.

10 day program - some departures are two days shorter. Day 1 - Yellowknife, Northwest Territories Enjoy an included night in Yellowknife and meet your fellow travelers at a welcome expedition briefing, followed by boot and parka distribution. Day 2 — Yellowknife and Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Today, board our private chartered plane to fly the 1,000 miles (1,500 km) to the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. During the four-and-a-half-hour flight, you’ll pass over the tree line as you cross the Arctic Circle. Following a refueling stop in the community of Cambridge Bay, you’ll circle above Cunningham Inlet. Enjoy aerial views of the lodge below, before landing on the private airstrip on Somerset Island. A short walk across the tundra—and an even shorter raft ride across the Cunningham River—will bring you to the lodge. After a tour of the facilities, you’ll be escorted to your cabin. Upon settling in, meet your hosts for a safety briefing and overview of the exciting activities and options ahead. Day 3 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Somerset Island, Nunavut After a hot breakfast, 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 operate. Later, you may take a short hike to the Cunningham River estuary to spot beluga whales frolicking in the shallow water only a few yards offshore. After lunch there may be an opportunity for 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 this canyon introduces you to the delicate beauty of wild arctic flowers. Encounters with muskoxen are common. During your gourmet dinner, pair your meal with a fine Canadian bottle of wine from the Northwest Passage Wine and Spirit List. After 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 center contains collections of local fossils, the skeletal remains of arctic fauna, and a collection of traditional Inuit clothing from Canada, Greenland and Siberia. Day 4 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge After a full breakfast you’ll 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 you’ll see muskoxen and pass by an impressive arctic fox den, where you may have the opportunity to watch fox cubs at play. Following an outdoor lunch at Inukshuk Lake we’ll supply gear for those who would like the opportunity to try catch-and-release fishing for arctic char. Returning on ATVs, the tour takes an alternate route via the River Trail, so you can view hoodoos (sculptured sand pillars) and local coal deposits. In the evening, after dinner, we’ll enjoy an informal lecture. Day 5 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge One of today’s activities may be kayaking in Cunningham Inlet. Paddle among icebergs, looking out for beluga whales as well as ring and bearded seals. Sightings of seabirds, including arctic terns and eider ducks, can be expected. After a lunch served along the shoreline, you’ll take a short hike to explore a local canyon aptly named Kayak Falls. From there, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Northwest Passage and the opportunity to see polar bears. In the afternoon, you’ll return to the Cunningham River estuary, a beluga whale migration site. This site is unique the world over because of the density of the beluga population and its proximity to our lodge. You may even be able to see the whales while you stand on the river banks, and be close enough to hear their calls. Guides will use hydrophones so you can also hear the whales’ underwater song. In the evening, following a five-star dinner, you’ll hear a lecture on the beluga research being conducted in Cunningham Inlet. Day 6 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Following breakfast, you’ll depart for a trip to Flatrock Falls, crossing the Cunningham River delta. There, you’ll have the option of hiking or traveling by Mercedes Unimog (a multipurpose four-wheel-drive truck). You’ll visit the Somerset Island canyons, formed as the result of shifting fault lines. Their steep walls vary from 200 to 1,000 feet (61 to 305 meters). Millions of fossils of prehistoric plants and animals are scattered around the ground. You may also have the opportunity to observe nesting sites of local birds, including terns, plovers and snow geese. An alfresco lunch is served directly on the flat rocks that surround this canyon. After lunch, you’ll travel to Gull Canyon, where you can see the striking color contrasts between the barren canyon and a lush gull rookery. This spot was recently declared a unique ecosystem by the Canadian Wildlife Service due to the area’s gull rookery and the presence of peregrine falcons. In the evening, a Scientist in Residence will give an informal lecture. Day 7 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Today, you’ll set out on an ATV to Cape Anne, where you’ll visit some Thule sites along the coast and look for polar bears. The Thule people were bowhead whale hunters, ancestors of today’s modern Inuit. The ride showcases 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 overland trip via the Red Valley will give us incredible views of the place we’ve called home this week. Day 8 — Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Today’s full-day rafting adventure will begin after breakfast with a Mercedes Unimog truck ride to the Arctic Watch raft launch on the Cunningham River, 12.5 miles (20 km) from the lodge. Opt to hike the final four miles (6 km) through the Badlands, passing the skeletal remains of two bowhead whales that date back 8,000 years. On the way to the launch, you may encounter muskoxen, snow geese, jaegers, arctic fox, sandpipers and rough-legged hawks. You’ll savor a picnic lunch on the beach, beside the river, as the staff and guides prepare the rafts. Return to the lodge by raft on the swift-flowing, crystal-clear water of the gentle rapids. The views are amazing and include steep canyon walls that at one point make a 180-degree turn. Tonight, you’ll enjoy our farewell dinner and evening at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Day 9 — Depart Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge Today, you’ll bid a fond goodbye to the lodge team and the High Arctic. You may have time to take advantage of one last activity before you depart. In the late afternoon, you’ll return to Yellowknife. Upon arrival in Yellowknife, you will be transferred to your included hotel. Day 10 — Depart Yellowknife After breakfast and boot return you can make your way home at your leisure or spend some more time in the Yellowknife area. Important reminder: The itinerary outlined is only a sample of a typical week at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Day-to-day activities may vary and are also weather dependent. Please note that the likelihood of seeing belugas early in the season is dependent on weather and ice conditions. *MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Hotel shuttle transfers on arrival and departure between airport and hotel in Yellowknife
  • One night’s hotel accommodation in Yellowknife with breakfast
  • Group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge
  • Charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge (return)
  • One night’s hotel accommodation in Yellowknife with breakfast
  • Package cost: $1,690
Dates of charter flights may be altered due to weather conditions. Please keep this in mind when making international flight arrangements. Consider purchasing flexible, changeable airline tickets or booking a one-way flight home after completing the expedition, to help reduce ticket change fees. These delays may not be covered by travel insurance.

ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE: CANADA

Far North in the remote Canadian Arctic this unique wilderness lodge and world-class beluga whale observation site on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada. Situated 500 miles (805 km) north of the Arctic Circle, the lodge offers guests fully guided opportunities for diverse adventure activities, and extraordinary polar photography thanks to 24 hours of daylight. Observe the elusive musk ox, polar bear and more wildlife in their natural habitat and enjoy comfortable accommodations and superb food, all accessible via a scenic flight from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.

For full information about Arctic Watch click here:

Dates, Costs & Booking

Choose Date

Choose Number of Berths & Category

Date Selected: 30th Jun 2017


Adult (1) US$6295
Sub total US$6295

Essential Information

Rates and Share Bookings Prices shown are per person in US Dollars on a shared basis. Deposits Reservations require a deposit of 20% (minimum $1000 per person) at the time you receive a booking confirmation from Expeditions Online. A payment link will be sent to you and this may be paid by major credit card. Bookings within 120 days of departure require full payment. Final Payments Balances are due 120 days prior to departure and may be paid by bank transfer. Cancellations All requests for cancellation must be received in writing to Expeditions Online. Cancellations received 180 days or more prior to departure, are refunded less a fee of $1000 per person. If cancellation is received between 179 days and 120 days, the full deposit is forfeited. If cancellation occurs less than 120 days prior to departure, all payments are forfeited. If full payment has not yet been received, the full penalty will still apply and any unpaid balance is due immediately. We strongly recommend that you obtain adequate trip cancellation insurance. Booking Terms Please read carefully the Terms and Conditions for Expeditions Online (link at the bottom of this page). This voyage is operated by Quark Expeditions and you additionally travel under their terms and conditions as the operator as well as of the Shipping Company/transport carrier. Details will be forwarded to you at the time of booking.

Included

  • Daily accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks at Arctic Watch
  • All activities per the daily program, e.g. ATV, kayaking, rafting, photography, etc.
  • Leadership throughout the expedition by our experienced Arctic Watch Team
  • Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
  • Waterproof expedition boots on loan
  • An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep
  • Coffee, tea, water and juice available around the clock (soft drinks and beer are not available)
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Arctic Reader
  • All miscellaneous service taxes throughout the program
  • All luggage handling at the charter terminal and at the lodge
  • Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$100,000 per person
  • Complimentary WiFi (limited signal strength)

Excluded

  • Mandatory transfer package*
  • International airfare
  • Passport and applicable visa expenses
  • Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
  • Meals outside the lodge with the exception of breakfasts in Yellowknife
  • Wine and spirits, “Northwest Passage Wine and Spirit List” available at additional cost
  • Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance - strongly recommended
  • Excess baggage charges on international flights
  • Waterproof gear beyond the included parka
  • Voluntary gratuity at the end of the expedition for staff
  • Additional overnight accommodation
  • Fee for fishing licence
  • Additional expenses (meals, accommodation, international flight change fees, etc.) incurred by delay or cancellation of activities due to sub-optimal weather