arctic watch wilderness lodge

Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge (10 Days)

  • Overview

    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. 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 veteran polar expedition team members, Niki Trudeau, and Dave Allcorn. Arctic Watch offers a range of unique adventure travel experiences. Guests can experience arctic safaris, raft the Cunningham River, sea kayak with hundreds of beluga whales, hike the tundra, spot polar bears roaming the Northwest Passage, investigate the mysterious Thule ruins crafted from giant whale bones, fish for arctic char and more. Expedition Highlights: - Experience the magic of one of the foremost destinations for beluga whales - Opportunities to encounter rarely seen and iconic Arctic Wildlife : polar bears, muskox, ringed seals, and much more - Explore the island thanks to all-included adventure options: ATVs, Mercedes Unimog, kayaking, rafting and more - Enjoy excellent dining, finely paired with the best wine from Canada’s Okanagan Valley Note: This itinerary requires a 5% tax for Canadian residents and 2.5% tax for non-Canadian residents is not included in the rates outlined, and will be added during your booking process.

    Duration: 10 days
    Passengers: 26 passengers
    Embarkation Point: Yellowknife, Canada
    Disembarkation Point: Yellowknife, Canada
    Physical rating: Expedition
    Fly/Cruise: Mandatory extra flight
    Single Supplement: Unavailable
  • Itinerary
    • 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 signature Quark Expeditions 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 treeline 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 half mile (900 metre) walk across the tundra—and a 110 yard (100 metre) raft ride across the Cunnigham 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.

      MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:

      Pre-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
      Group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch lodge
      Charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch lodge (return)
      Post-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
      Group transfers from your hotel to the airport for your charter flight (return)

      Cost per person: AUD$2,400

      IMPORTANT: The itinerary outlined s only a sample of a typical week at Arctic Watch Lodge. Day-to-day activities may vary and are also weather dependent.

      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.

    Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your captain and expedition leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.

  • Highlights & Activities

    Arctic Watch - Transfer Package

    MANDATORY TRANSFER PACKAGE INCLUDES:

    - Pre-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
    - Group transfer to and from charter flight to Arctic Watch lodge
    - Charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch lodge (return)
    - Post-expedition hotel night in Yellowknife and breakfast
    - Group transfers from your hotel to the airport for your charter flight (return)

    AUD 2,400 per person

    A World class Beluga observation site

    A world class beluga whale observation site, Cunningham Inlet is of particular interest to naturalists, photographers and travellers looking to experience the high Arctic. As many as two thousand whales come to the inlet to nurse their young and molt their skin in the relatively warm water of the Cunningham River. While also home to Arctic animals such as muskox, polar bears and Arctic foxes the terrain offers easy passage to both hikers and sea kayakers.

    Three Generations of Polar Exploration

    A family of polar explorers. Richard, Josée, Tessum and Nansen have spent the past 25 years exploring the polar regions. Having lead some of the first polar expeditions to successfuly reach the North Pole, set speed records at both poles, recipient of the Order of Canada, renowned Arctic Wildlife photographer and worldclass polar guides, the Weber family knows Arctic. They've skied, kayaked, hiked and explored across Canada's far north.

    As founders of Arctic Watch, Richard, Josee, Tessum and Nansen host guests from across the globe to the internationally recognized destination called Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge. Meet a few of the team members at Arctic Watch:

    Arctic Adventures

    The experience of a lifetime 500 miles above the Arctic circle. Sea kayak the Northwest Passage, photograph unique Arctic wildlife, raft or paddle board the Cunningham River, fish for Arctic char, view 1,000 year old archeological sites, hike and mountain bike the tundra or ATV the shores of the Somerset Island. Since 2000, we've welcome travellers from across the globe looking to experience the untamed landscapes of the high Arctic. We offer a unique experience to travellers from all walks of life and are only open for the peak summer months of July and August. Choose your adventure today.

    Canadian gourmet fare

    Canadian gourmet fare with local dining experiences such as Arctic char sashimi, Baffin Bay turbot and more - Arctic Watch guests feast on the same fresh, chef-prepared fine cuisine you're just as likely to find in the best urban restaurants yet with northern flare.

    All our dining experiences are made from scratch: homemade European-style breads baked fresh daily, homemade yogurts, ice creams, organic Canadian meats, Ontario fruit and more.

    As proud Canadians, we strive to incorporate the best elements of every Canadian province into our menus: Okanagan Valley wines, Alberta Organic Beef, French-Canadian cheeses and more.

  • Inclusions

    Expedition Parka

    All passengers will receive our signature yellow expedition parka on the first day you’re onboard the ship. This 3-in-1 hooded parka is specially designed for our Polar voyages and is insulated, waterproof and will serve you well during your voyage.

    Charter Flight to Lodge

    Staying at the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge requires mandatory charter flight in and out departing from Yelloknkife, Canada.

    Pre & Post Arctic Watch Lodge accommodation in Yellowknife

    Accommodation is provided for you at our preferred hotel in Yellowknife.

    Breakfast included.

    Inclusions / Exclusions

    Included in your Expedition

    - All meals, lodging, guiding, excursions at Arctic Watch are included with the exception of the Beechey Island flight (an optional add-on).

    Not included in your Expedition

    - International and internal flights that are not specified
    - Passport and Visa expenses
    - Optional excursions and activities.
    - Items of a personal nature such as; Beverages / Laundry / Medical expenses / Gratuities / Internet & Wifi
    - Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Map
    Arctic watch
  • Gallery
  • Vessel

    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. 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 veteran polar expedition team members, Niki Trudeau, and Dave Allcorn.

    Features & Facilities
    Key Facts
    Luxury star rating:
    Guests #: 26
    Crew #: 16
    Ice Class:
    Speed:
    Refurbished:
    Technical Specs
    Year built: 1992
    Length: m
    Width:
    Draft:
    Tonnage:
    Registry:
    Elec Outlets:
Check Voyage Dates, Pricing and Availability
arctic watch wilderness lodge accommodation

Double Occupancy

28 Jun 2018 - 07 Jul 2018
Arctic Watch boasts 16 private guest cabins, each with a marine toilet and sink. Private showers are located in the main complex. Every night, our guests receive hot-water bottles to take with them as they bed down under thick duvets that keep them cozy and warm through the Arctic night. Electricity is generated by a generator that operates from early morning to 11:00 p.m., which means there is no electricity in the cabins at night. Water comes from the Cunningham River. It’s fully potable and is pumped daily into a holding tank on a hill above the lodge. Gravity ensures that fresh water is delivered to the lodge and cabins 24 hours a day.
AUD 12,600pp
AUD 10,200pp
arctic watch wilderness lodge accommodation

Single Occupancy

28 Jun 2018 - 07 Jul 2018
Arctic Watch boasts 16 private guest cabins, each with a marine toilet and sink. Private showers are located in the main complex. Every night, our guests receive hot-water bottles to take with them as they bed down under thick duvets that keep them cozy and warm through the Arctic night. Electricity is generated by a generator that operates from early morning to 11:00 p.m., which means there is no electricity in the cabins at night. Water comes from the Cunningham River. It’s fully potable and is pumped daily into a holding tank on a hill above the lodge. Gravity ensures that fresh water is delivered to the lodge and cabins 24 hours a day.
AUD 18,800pp
AUD 16,400pp