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Arctic Park Profiles
Arctic Cruises to:
Wildlife Trails were trailblazers for the little visited province of Nunavut and have been organising tours to the southern tip of Baffin Island since 2003, when we sent James (our North American Operations Manager) up there as part of his 6 week recce trip of Canada. The main attractions are Bowhead Whales, 3 different species of Seals, Polar Bears and the outside chance to see the legendary Narhwal. Hunting is still very much a way of light in the huge province of Nunavut, so be prepared to see seal and poalr bear skins drying outside the local houses and to be offered the chance to eat a goose or seal 'harvested' that day.
Is famous for its ice floe tours in June/July; where just as the ice starts to break up for the summer you have the chance to spot Bowhead Whales and Narwhals in the 'fissures' created by the melting ice. Obviously this is also prime Polar Bear habitat and there is even the opportunity ( depending on the weather and ice conditions!) to visit a Walrus haul out location on a nearby island. Tents of temporary huts are set up next to the edge of the ice to maximise you time viewing the Arctic Wildlife - timing for this trip is everything!
Another opportunity to visit a remote Inuit community, where we hire local guides with eagle like eyes to search the Arctic Ocean for wildlife such as Belugas, Bowhead Whales, Narwhal and Polar Bears. There are also a few interesting birds of prey, such as gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons, as well as a thriving artistic community which produce some exquisite soap stone carvings - Kirsty and I already have quite a collection at home!
After making our name in the Arctic by 'taking the path less travelled' for our clients and discovering some real wildlife gems in the Canadian Arctic, we were initially a little reluctant to look at Arctic cruises, due to the relatively large number of passengers onboard the ship. However, as a company who attract many keen photographers and wildlife enthusiasts we were drawn to Spitsbergen by the pristine quality of its many different island shores and the chance to see the BIG 3 of the Arctic; Polar Bears, Walrus and Fin Whales (Blue Whale sightings are rare!). In addition, it is common to see Arctic Fox, Reindeer, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and sometimes Belugas. With that and a small but incredibly unique birding list, which include rarities such as Ivory Gull and King Eider and the chance to enjoy 'crunching' through the ice as you pass round the northern tip of the island; you have an experience which is hard to replicate on a Arctic Cruise in any other part of the world.
I think it is fair to point out that the level of hunting in Greenland far exceeds that of Spitsbergen and this is reflected in sightings of certain Arctic Wildlife, such as seals and polar bears. That said, certain iconic species such as Muskox, Bowhead Whales and Hunmpback Whales are regularly viewed. You also pass through spectacular scenery, with huige glaciers and the resulting large icebergs are much more numerous on an Arctic cruise near Greenland.
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