Journeys worth taking

Pond Inlet, Nunavut, Canada

Polar Bear and Narwhal Safari

Endangered Wildlife

View narwhals, polar bears and icebergs under the midnight sun

Lodging

Premium Safari Camp

Nights

7

Trip Details

Guided Excursions

Price

$9,995 + 5% GST

Pygmy miles

13,380

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

Above the 72nd parallel, you are in a different world.

Icebergs and "bergy bits" flow freely, the sun sticks around until midnight and whales have long unicorn like tusks. This is the arctic and it is a chance to see some of the most rare creatures and stunning landscapes of your life. Polar bears and seals may be spotted in the open water or resting on ice packs. If you are lucky, you may also observe two other species of whales, bowhead and beluga, known to frequent the area.

You will also have the chance to see Narwhals on this expedition. Alone or in pods, they often swim to the floe edge, a great opportunity for pictures of their tusks rising prominently out of the icy blue waters. Then again, you may wish to take to the sea, either in a kayak or with a wetsuit and snorkel, to see these mythical beasts up close and personal. Curious animals, Narwhals have been known to swim inquistively within three meters of snorklers. You are about as magical to them as they are to you (not many humans swiming around in the arctic ocean, mind you).  

Narwhals have been known to swim inquistively within three meters of snorkelers.

Activities

Wildlife Viewing

Observe the tusked narwhal, from pods of one to hundreds, while they rest and feed near the floe edge. Possible viewing opportunities for polar bears, harp seals, bearded seals, ring seals, bowhead whales, and beluga.

Snowmobile

Journey by snowmobile & qamutik to traditional Inuit hunting grounds.

Gastronomy

Enjoy tea made of melt-water from hundreds of years old icebergs.

Snorkeling

Snorkel in the icy arctic waters with the possible presence of whales.

Kayaking

Kayak surrounded by sea ice and the vast blueness of the ocean.

And also

Experience the 24-hour daylight of the Midnight Sun in the height of Arctic summer.

Place

After arriving at Pond Inlet in the far north of Canada, you will travel to Bylot Island. The area around Pond Inlet is home to various archeological Thule sites, which you may explore on route. The Thule were ancesestors of the Inuit who arrived in the region approximately 1,000 years ago.

Uninhabited, Bylot Island is used as a seasonal hunting ground by Inuit from Pond Inlet and other hamlets. The island is covered with mountains, cliffs, ice fields and glaciers. It is home to a large number of migratory birds including thick-billed murres and black-legged kittiwakes.

Around the floe edge, your lodge will be waiting for you. The floe edge is where the land-fast sea ice meets the open water and where a variety of wildlife, such as polar bears, narwhals, beluga, seals, and Arctic birds, congregates to travel through the openings in the ice, providing an excellent opportunity for wildlife viewing.

 

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

Each day we will travel by snowmobile and qamutik (an Inuit sled pulled by snowmobile) to the floe edge for full days of discovery. Hiking, climbing sparkling icebergs, gazing up at thousands of birds flying over the nearby cliffs, and drinking refreshing glacial melt-water tea are just a few of the unique activities you will experience on our Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari. Our local Inuit guides will also share stories and explain the traditional ways of Inuit life for a full Arctic immersion. This itinerary is intended to be representative only as weather and wildlife conditions play a large role in dictating our daily movements and activities. It is important to have a spirit of flexibility when travelling to any Arctic location.

Day-1

Pond Inlet

Upon landing in Pond Inlet in late afternoon, you will be welcomed by a local representative and transferred to a comfortable hotel. During dinner, your expedition leader and lead Inuit guide will give a briefing and perform a gear check. After dinner, enjoy a truly authentic cultural presentation of Inuit throat singing, drum dancing, and storytelling by local elders.

Day-2

Transfer to Bylot Island by qamutik

After breakfast and a briefing from Parks Canada, meet your guides on the sandy beach in preparation for your departure to southeast Bylot Island. Travelling by traditional Inuit-style qamutik (a wooden sled with suspension seats pulled behind the snowmobile), you’ll experience the exhilaration of gliding across the ice. The journey of approximately 70 km (43 miles) will vary depending on ice conditions and may include warm tea stops at historic grave sites, hanging glaciers, abandoned whaling stations and hunting cabins. Your Arctic Safari Camp will be set up a few kilometers back from the floe edge.

Day-3

Floe Edge

Over the next few days participate in trips from our Arctic Safari Camp out to the floe edge along with excursions to other attractions in the area by qamutik and snowmobile. During our adventures, you’ll be able to enjoy the warm spring weather and engage in a variety of activities both on land and at the floe edge. Expect to see icebergs, ‘bergy-bits’, and drifting pack ice with playful seals poking their heads up out of the water and looking directly at you.

Day-4

Floe Edge

Plenty of time will be provided for unhurried observation, and exceptional opportunities for impressive Arctic photography. Perhaps the greatest highlight for participants on our Narwhal and Polar Bear Safari is the opportunity to observe a wide variety of Arctic wildlife in their natural habitat.

Day-5

Floe Edge

On the floe edge, you will see narwhals, bowhead; polar bears on the prowl for seals, and possibly walrus and beluga. Bylot Island’s uplands are home to Arctic foxes and hares, weasels, collared lemmings, Snowy Owls, Rough-legged Hawks, and Gyrfalcons.

Day-6

Floe Edge

Migratory birds are also in abundance. Pure white Ivory Gulls, gaudy King Eider, low flying Northern Fulmars, Thick-billed Murres, Kittiwakes, and Greater Snow Geese (kanguq) are just a few of the many bird species that can be observed. Ice conditions permitting, we may also enjoy
a visit to the Bylot Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary, where over 200,000 birds choose to nest each year.
We may also have a chance to visit the evocative ancient Thule sites, where you will see the traditional tent rings and learn about the culture and history of the ancestors of the Inuit.

Day-7

Transfer to Iqaluit

After breakfast, depart camp by qamutiq and snowmobile for your return journey to Pond Inlet. Lunch will be in Pond Inlet, where you will change from your expedition clothing to your travel clothing.
If you have purchased our flight package from Ottawa to Pond Inlet and back, we will transfer you to the airport for the flight to Iqaluit, were you spend the night at a hotel. (The accommodation in Iqaluit is included in the trip package price.)

Day-8

Transfer to Ottawa

Breakfast at the hotel. If you have purchased our optional flight package we transfer you to the Iqaluit Airport for your morning flight to Ottawa.

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Motorized Vehicle
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
9995pygmy miles

Base Miles

For every one dollar you spend, Pygmy Elephant rewards you with one Pygmy Mile.

1885pygmy miles

Flight Distance

Most travelers will need to fly in from Ottawa. The flight takes approximately seven hours. We provide you with one Pygmy Mile for every mile flown. That's a total of 1,885 Pygmy Miles.

1500pygmy miles

Responsible Tourism and "Total Approach" of partner

From our partner: Tourism and film production can be a real boon to local Arctic communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges, and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a ‘total approach’ to responsible tourism. Everything, from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Arctic Kingdom as a company, is geared toward making a positive impact on the regions we visit. Arctic Kingdom trips are designed to allow a high degree of economic benefit to the local communities; we hire local guides and local drivers, buy local produce (whenever possible), eat local food, and use local services, thus ensuring that as much money as possible is retained within the local economy and the host communities. We are continually reassessing our trips, trying at all times to ensure that they are socially, economically, and environmentally sound.

For our partners commitment to sustainable tourism, Pygmy Elephant provides an additional 15% bonus on Pygmy Miles.

Total Pygmy Miles

13380pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Premium Safari Camp

Bylot Island

Inspired by African mobile safari camps, the Arctic Kingdom Premium Safari Camp brings elegance and comfort to the Arctic. The modern, specially designed yurt-style safari camp structures have double walls with insulation to provide a warm and inviting home away from home in one of the world’s most remote, yet breathtaking places. Sleep quarters are spacious and warm with over 10’ cathedral ceilings. The yurt-style safari sleep structures are 16’ in diameter and are entered via a lockable door. Each bed is complete with mattress duvets, pillows, and a warm comforter. No detail has been overlooked - from large windows on all sides, providing a 360 degree view, to coat hooks, cozy rugs, and heaters for those that would like it a little toastier our Premium Safari Camp provides the perfect home away from home.
Other Premium Safari Camp Features:
• Large and spacious dining/lounge area with central fireplace, stove, and 24 hour buffet with snacks and drinks.
• Shared washroom facility with on demand hot water, sinks and showers.

Practical info

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

In mid to late spring (May/June), the sun is constantly shining for 24 hours. The sun shines high above at noon, and by 10:00 pm, the sun has sunk low on the western horizon and continues to seemingly skim across the tops of the distant mountain ranges until it reaches the eastern horizon, where it then begins to climb higher into the sky again. The warm, soft glow of the midnight sun is a photographer’s delight.
Scheduled Tour Dates
May 19 - May 26 / May 26 - Jun 2 / Jun 2 - 9 / Jun 9 - 16

How

Join a guided tour

Join 7 other inquisitive and adventurous souls (Max 8 participants). This trip is typically represented by an international range of participants. Having a laid back, open- minded, and patient demeanor is important.

Service categories

Consult & Book

Pygmy Elephant provides: 

  • Transfer arrangement: from the US to Ottawa and further on to Pond Inlet
  • Pre-departure support: what to pack, arranging travel insurance and informing on travel advisories
  • 24 hour customer service: if something goes wrong, we have your back
  • Best Price Guarantee: if you find a better price on the internet, we'll match it
  • Pygmy Miles: receive discounts off future travel

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Low

Mental Strength

Level : Low

Physical Conditioning

Level : Low

This expedition is somewhat active but not too strenuous. One can choose to do as little or as much as he/she would like throughout the adventure.

The mode of transportation to move over the ice is the traditional Inuit sledge pulled by a snowmobile called a qamutik (also spelled qamutiq or komatik). Each of the two to four persons in a qamutik is provided with a suspension seat to sit on. You move over flat sea ice and even though our partner has added suspension seats to the qamutiks for a smoother ride, the later one goes in the season, the bumpier the ride could potentially be. Anyone with a history of back problems should inquire to see if this trip is right for you.

Pricing, Inclusions and Exclusions

Base price $9,995.00 plus $499.75 in tax. Based on double occupancy. Prices in US dollars. Single supplement is X1.8

Airfare - From our partner, the cost is $3,631.98+ $472.16 (taxes & fees) from Ottawa (YOW) to Pond Inlet (YIO). Pygmy Elephant will also search for cheaper flights to make sure you get the best deal possible.

Booking Terms Cancellation Terms
$2000 deposit required at time of booking. Full payment due 120 days prior to departure date.
All requests for cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received up to 180 days prior to departure are refunded less an administrative fee of $500 per person. If cancellation is received between 179 and 120 days prior to departure, the deposit is forfeited. For cancellations received between 119 days and the departure date, all deposits and payments are forfeited.
Due to the nature of this, trip cancellation/interruption insurance is highly recommended. It is a condition of joining this expedition that you must be insured against medical and personal accident risks and have search and rescue coverage. Pygmy Elephant can help you find appropriate insurance.

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.