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Best Time For Wildlife in Arctic
When does the Arctic Ice Melt?
As a rough rule of thumb, if you are planning to coincide your visit for ice-floe wildlife obervation, then you need to arrive in late June/July. As if the melt starts early, there may well be not that much remaining in locations such as Igloolik by early August. In theory if you are visiting the southern tip of Baffin Island for general boat based wildlife viewing, you can visit anytime from July until October; however we need to look at climatic factors such as fog and poor weather which may cause the flights from the capital Iqualuit to be cancelled; a common ocurrence in the month of August for example due to low cloud/fog and the lack of navigation aids for pilots at the smaller airports.
When we discuss an Arctic Cruise to Spitsbergen with our clients, we mention that if you take the earlier voyages in July, there is less chance of making the circumnavigation, but possibly more enjoyable time 'playing' in the pack ice, which can result in some truely memorable polar bear encounters. Conversely, if you are keen to explore both sides of the islands and have a chance to see Belugas (mainly found on the eastern side) then a cruise in August or even early September may be a better choice. Either way, you are still going to see a huge amount of wildllfe all through the season as part of this very special Arctic cruise.
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