Baffin Island: Polar Bears and Glaciers

Trip Overview

Discover the remote and rugged beauty of the Arctic in August 2017 on this very special and "once in a lifetime" trip with to see polar bears at home in their natural habitat. Join AdventureWomen Associate Leslie Stoltz as you explore the awe-inspiring glacier-capped and studded coastline, majestic mountain peaks, and dazzling icebergs of southeastern Baffin Island in Canada, a rarely visited and spectacular landscape.

Experience the long days and twilight of the Arctic summer, while the midnight sun casts a magical glow both day and night. Stay in the comfort of a safari-style base camp, located just outside one of Canada’s most stunning national parks, Auyuittuq National Park. Spend the days roaming the home territory of polar bears by land and search for bowhead whales by sea as they spy-hop, fin, and slap their flukes mere feet from your boat. With your Inuit guides and professional expedition staff, hike, kayak in glacier-fed lakes, and try your hand at fishing. Admire the views of the mirror-smooth water speckled with dazzling icebergs that reflect a striking panoramic view of the surrounding Canadian mountain peaks, and visit ancient Thule dwelling sites. You’ll delight in picking and sampling wild blueberries and indulging in delicious grilled Arctic char, caught fresh from a river near camp.

Cruising on small craft boats in a non-intrusive way allows you the unique opportunity to get "up close and personal" with polar bears and bowhead whales living in the Arctic's wild. As the sights and sounds of these spectacular mountainous and marine landscapes stimulate our senses, the rest of the world will seem like a distant echo.

Inspired by mobile African safari camps, premium safari camp tented accommodations will be your home away from home. Set in a backdrop of incredible Arctic scenery, these specially-designed yurt-style structures have double walls with insulation, are warm and fully equipped, allowing you the opportunity to rest easy and enjoy delicious meals that fuel you for daily adventures.

Isn't a trip to see polar bears on your AdventureWomen bucket list?? It should be! Join AdventureWomen in August 2017 to explore the natural habitat of polar bears while experiencing the true essence of the Canadian Arctic summer.

Main Attractions

  • Observe polar bears in their natural habitat as they ring edges of islands, prowling for prey.
  • Search for bowhead whales as they spy-hop, fin, and slap their flukes mere meters from our boat.
  • Visit a newly discovered bowhead molting area, one of the rarest wildlife experiences in the Arctic.
  • Indulge in fresh Arctic char and wild blueberries while admiring all-night sunsets from the comfort of a safari-style tented camp.
  • Hike at the foot of Coronation Fiord where the Penny Ice Cap Glacier ends abruptly in the sea water.
  • Visit Canada’s most stunning park – Auyuittuq National Park.
  • Visit ancient Thule dwelling sites and enjoy other exciting day trips that will immerse you in the history and culture of this awe-inspiring land.
  • Kayak among the icebergs and bowhead whales!

What You'll See and Do

  • Animal Tracking
  • Anthropology
  • Bear Viewing
  • Birding
  • Boat Cruising
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Fishing
  • Flightseeing
  • Glacier Exploration
  • Glamping
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Sightseeing
  • Walking
  • Whale Watching
  • Wildlife Viewing
Print Trip Details

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Baffin Island: Polar Bears and Glaciers

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - Ottawa to Base Camp on Baffin Island
This journey begins in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut. Purchasing the additional flight package you will depart Ottawa for Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, at around 9:00am and then change planes for the connecting flight to Qikiqtarjuaq. On the way to Qikiqtarjuaq, you will fly over Auyuittuq National Park.

Keep an eye out for Mount Asgard and Mount Thor, and the world’s tallest, uninterrupted vertical cliff at over 1524 meters (5,000 feet) of sheer rock. Qikiqtarjuaq is a small hamlet on Broughton Island with a population of approximately 600. A narrow channel separates the hamlet, which faces the large mountains of Akshakyuk Pass of Auyuittuq National Park, from the main land of Baffin Island.

On arrival in Qikiqtarjuaq, we are welcomed by our expedition escort and transferred to a waiting boat. Threading our way past many islands along the mainland of Baffin Island, we pass floating icebergs along the way, reaching our camp after a 45 minute boat ride.

Upon arrival, settle in and enjoy a deliciously prepared meal while watching the crimson red sky all night long.
Dinner

Day 2 - 6

Wednesday - Sunday, August 16 - 20 - Polar Bears, Whales & Glaciers from Base Camp
From base camp, the next few days will be spent taking in the highlights of the area and experiencing the true essence of an Arctic summer. Your camp is ideally located with a river passing through that provides fresh drinking water for food preparation and one of the best cups of tea or coffee you’ll ever have.

Each day provides an opportunity for adventure. Enjoy day trips to Akshakyuk Pass, where you can hike at the base of North Pangnirtung Fiord, as well as take a boat trip to the Penny Ice Cap Glacier for some hiking and exploration. Fishing for Arctic char right in camp and gathering fresh blueberries and blackberries nearby are popular activities, for sure!

Wildlife discoveries are always a highlight. Bowhead whales are known to frequent an area just 30 minutes to 1 hour from camp. Polar bears can often be spotted on islands throughout the area. In some cases, more than 20 polar bears can be seen on a boat ride from Qikiqtarjuaq to our base camp. Also provided are inflatable kayaks that be deployed at any time for your personal use.

The base camp is a short boat ride from the iceberg capital of the Canadian Arctic. If local conditions permit, you’ll reach the remote location where ice castles glisten in the sun.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Monday, August 21 - Depart Baffin Island
Today you board the boat and head back to Qikiqtarjuaq, where your journey ends. Transfer to the airport for a 10:00am flight to Iqaluit and onwards to Ottawa. Arrival in Ottawa will be between 4:20pm and 4:50pm. Transfer to a hotel of your choice or connect for an evening flight (departing at least after 6:30pm) to your next destination.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Baffin Island: Polar Bears and Glaciers

Traveling to Arctic: Baffin Island


Passports

If you do not have a passport, APPLY NOW! Please do not wait until the last minute. You should always carry 2 extra passport photographs with you, in case of emergency (if your passport/visa is lost or stolen), and always carry 2 sets of photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport.

Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months after your return date home. As a US citizen, you do not need a visa for travel to Canada.

Health Requirements and Health Insurance with Trip Evacuation Insurance

This trip is rated Moderate. You must be in good physical condition, be able to hike at least 1 mile with ease. You MUST have your own health insurance, which includes trip evacuation insurance. You will be required to complete a medical profile and submit proof of trip evacuation insurance.

Making Travel Arrangements to Ottawa and Qikiqtarjuag: Arrival and Departure

Our departure point for this adventure is Ottawa, Canada. You will have to fly into Ottawa on August 14 and stay overnight (recommended hotel is the Day's Inn at the Ottawa Airport. Ask for the "Arctic Kingdom" preferred rate which is $136 + HST $17.68 = $153.68 CDN).

We depart for Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, at about 9:00am on August 15, 2017, and then change planes for the connecting flight to Qikiqtarjuaq (YVM) . On the way to Qikiqtarjuaq, we fly over Auyuittuq National Park.

We suggest that you purchase the additional flight package from Ottawa (YOW) to Qikiqtarjuaq (YVM) when you register for this trip.

The **Additional Flight Package from Ottawa (YOW) to Qikiqtarjuaq (YVM) is $3,000, which includes taxes and fees.  As there are a limited number of seats available that conveniently connect with our trip departure dates, you are encouraged to book and pay for this flight package at the same time as you book your trip with AdventureWomen.  However, if you prefer to pay for this with your balance due, that will work also.

On August 21, 2017, we transfer to the airport for a 10:00am flight to Iqaluit and onwards to Ottawa. Arrival in Ottawa will be between 4:20pm and 4:50pm. You may transfer to a hotel of your choice in Ottawa, or connect for an evening flight (departing at least after 6:30pm) to your next destination.

However, it is strongly recommended if you are traveling on reduced fare airline tickets to Ottawa that you not try to continue your journey home on the same day as you return to Ottawa; any deviation from the ticketed itinerary will result in a penalty regardless of the cause. Do not plan on having any important meetings or events the day after your trip end date as we recommend planning on buffer time to account for any possible delays in getting home from the Arctic.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

NOTE: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations up to 6 – 12 weeks prior to departure!

Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Final Payment

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen, LLC in a cash form (check, money order or wire transfer) on or before April 6, 2017.

Cancellations and Refunds

All requests for cancellations must be received in writing.

$1,500.00 non-refundable deposit is due to hold space.

Full payment is due 130 days prior to the trip departure.

For cancellations received between 129 days and the departure date, all deposits and payments are forfeited.

You are highly encouraged to purchase trip cancellation insurance. A brochure will be sent to you in your registration packet.

Our Accommodations

Inspired by African mobile safari camps, your Premium Safari Camp brings elegance and comfort to the Arctic.

The modern, specially designed yurt-style 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 with over three meters (10 feet) cathedral ceilings. The yurt-style sleep structures are 4.8 meters (16 feet) in diameter and are entered via a lockable door. Configuration is with two twin beds. Each bed is complete with mattress duvets, pillows, and a warm comforter. No detail has been overlooked - from large windows that give 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 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.

Weather

July and August in the Qikiqtarjuaq region showcase the warmest time in the Arctic region. Being at the Arctic Circle, temperatures during the season range from 41º to 72º Fahrenheit. Weather is generally good but you can expect some days of rain and wind.

Daylight Hours

In August, the sun sets at 9:30pm and rises at 3:30am. There is still daylight during the time the sun is below the horizon and still does not require night time lights.

Gourmet Meals

You are provided with only the best food possible during your Arctic expedition, and no expense is spared in bringing a professional chef to manage the kitchen tent. It will be here that your chef will spend most of his or her time preparing the day’s meals, snacks, and delicious desserts baked in custom made field ovens. The dining/lounge area will have a convenient buffet table where unlimited snacks and hot drinks are provided all day.

Hot lunches, steaks for dinner, and local fish such as Arctic char are enjoyed. The kitchen is not kosher. If you have special dietary requirements please advise us at time of booking.

Power

Charging stations are provided for all your power needs in camp. From solar panels to an in-camp generator, you will have a place to charge all cameras, ipods, laptops or any other electrical device you choose to bring. Power provided is 120VAC/60Hz using North American standard plug outlets. Some plug adaptors may be available but it is recommended that you bring your own plug adaptors to suit your electrical devices.

If your electrical devices require 220volt power, most cameras, laptops already have a power inverter/AC Adaptor that converts the power to the necessary level for your equipment on your power cord, and there will be no further inverters/adaptors needed. To check, look at the adaptor (usually the square/ rectangular shaped box attached to your power cord) and examine the ‘input’ information. It will usually have an annotation similar to ‘INPUT’ 100 - 240V.

What To Expect

There is more to this stunning vista of ice, land, and sea than the wildlife that inhabits it. For centuries, these creatures have shared this wilderness with the Inuit people.

Participants are encouraged to understand and be sensitive to the cultural and historical ways of the Inuit, including their traditional subsistence hunting lifestyle. You may see evidence of hunting, including dead animals, as you wander through the gateway communities. Examples include the stretching of seal skin boots or gloves, and Inuit dog teams being fed Arctic char or seal meat. While out on our adventures, we may also come across an Inuit hunting party returning from a hunt. If you are open to the experience, these sights can provide a window into cultural traditions that stretch back for generations and exist in harmony with the wild Arctic.

As part of the Inuit cultural experience and to enjoy some local ‘country food’ such as seal, caribou or Arctic char, you may observe how an Inuit hunts the local wildlife that feeds their subsistence lifestyle traditions that dates back thousands of years. They will show you how to stalk wildlife for viewing and photography, which uses the same techniques a hunter utilizes to obtain their game.

Spirit of Adventure

This Arctic adventure is perfect for anyone looking for a relaxed adventure. You do not have to have previous Arctic experience, but you do need to have an adventurous spirit. You can become among the first to explore this amazing region. Having a laid back, open-minded, and patient demeanor is important. It is assumed that participants have the spirit of adventure necessary to enjoy the unique solitude of the Arctic and the free time provided.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Baffin Island: Polar Bears and Glaciers

What's Included:

  • Services of Inuit guides and expedition staff
  • All transportation to/from Base Camp, including local boats for the duration of your camp stay
  • All accommodations from Qikiqtarjuaq (6 nights in a Premium Safari Camp)
  • All meals while at Base Camp
  • Return transfers in Qikiqtarjuaq

What's Not Included:

  • Round trip flights from Ottawa to Qikiqtarjuaq. This flight package is $3,000 (including taxes and fees)
  • Any pre- or post- accommodation in Ottawa
  • Gratuities, personal expenses. Suggested tipping is between $400-$500, and will be split among the team of guides, which will be about 12 people (chef, guides, Inuit elders, boat drivers, expedition leaders, etc.) For personal expenses during the trip you should bring cash (not credit cards)
  • Trip cancellation, trip interruption, and medical and evacuation insurance coverage. You will be required to obtain appropriate travel insurance that includes emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Additional costs associated with weather and/or layovers in Qikiqtarjuaq, Iqaluit or Ottawa including flight changes, additional hotels and meals

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Baffin Island: Polar Bears and Glaciers

What To Bring

We recommend that dressing in layers is best for the Arctic. Here is a suggested list of what to bring to keep you warm and comfortable.

Note that the temperatures in August will vary between 40 - 72 F.

Baggage weights and restrictions:

You can bring one 50 lb. suitcase for check in, one carry-on bag, and one personal bag (can be a small backpack). Please note that you will have to check your suitcase and carry-on bag on the internal flight, so you will need to keep all breakable items (cameras, computers, and anything that needs protecting and should not be in a cargo hold) in your personal bag.

Base Layer

  • 4 long-sleeved shirts. One to use for sleeping (Merino wool and quick dry base layer are great options).
  • Underwear
  • 3 pairs of long underwear. 1 to use for sleeping.
  • Multiple pairs of wool or synthetic socks
  • Glove or mitt liners (i.e. lightweight gloves)

Insulating/Mid Layer

  • 2 fleece jacket or sweaters
  • 2 pairs of pants for over long underwear
  • Comfortable clothing for around town

Outer Layer

  • Lightweight down jacket
  • Waterproof Shell jacket
  • Waterproof Shell pants
  • Waterproof and insulated gloves or mitts
  • Windproof winter hat

 Footwear

  • Insulated, waterproof boots
  • Hiking boots (if insulated and waterproof, they can replace waterproof boots)
  • Running shoes for around town, hotel, yurts
  • Pair of shower shoes or sandals

Important Note: In consideration of the staff and other guests, please leave behind cosmetics, deodorants and perfumes that contain a strong scent.

Other Items

  • Money and credit cards
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Sunglasses strap
  • Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 rating or higher, and lip balm with SPF.
  • Personal Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, etc)
  • Body/hand lotion
  • Throat lozenges
  • Dry shampoo (optional)
  • Personal mirror
  • Chemical hand and foot warmers
  • Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer
  • We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drugstores, or www.earplugstore.com. Good to 22 Decibels!
  • Small, lightweight binoculars (a MUST) for wildlife viewing. You will be very disappointed if you do not have a good pair of binoculars. Nikon or Minolta make fine, lightweight viewing binoculars. Try a general game viewing 7 X 28, or 8 X 20 binocular.
  • Travel plug adapter
  • Ziploc bags of various sizes.
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Moneybelt or waistpack for money/passport.
  • Small backpack (to use as your "personal bag", in addition to your suitcase and carry-on bag.
  • Washcloth (provided is one expedition style microfiber towel).
  • 2-3 cotton bandanas (for uses too numerous to mention!)
  • A spare pair of glasses (if you wear glasses.)
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Small flashlight.
  • Eye mask to sleep at night

First Aid Kit

  • Prescription drugs (with the labels on.)
  • Systemic antibiotic (prescription).
  • Cloth, not plastic Bandaids; about 10 individually-wrapped alcohol pads; and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for "new" flora.
  • Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle.)
  • Laxative tablets.
  • Visine or similar eye drops.
  • Tweezers
  • Benadryl cream for itchy bites.
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.

Camera Equipment

Since photography is such a large part of this trip, we suggest you bring the following:

  • Digital camera, LOTS of extra memory cards and batteries, battery charger, and adapter. We suggest that you bring the equivalent of 96 GB of memory cards, or 3, 32 GB cards. It's always better to have a few cards in case one of them decides not to work!
  • Most digital cameras have a built in converter so you only need to bring an adapter.
  • Rain/snow cover
  • Well padded camera bag or hard case
  • Tripod

Last Minute Reminders

  • Make photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport, and put them in different locations (suitcase, carry-on bag, etc.).
  • Bring 2-3 extra passport size photos to use in emergencies.
  • Your valuables should be insured for the duration of the trip, but better yet, leave them at home.
  • Remove extra credit cards, driver’s license, and personal items from wallet or purse.
  • Make sure passport and airline tickets are valid and in the correct name.
  • Check with airline to reconfirm reservations and departure time (most airlines want to hear directly from the client for confirmations).
  • Please leave all valuable jewelry at home!!!

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List

We think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  • Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT).
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.