Who wants to travel to the Arctic?
If you could see me right now, you’d see my doing a happy dance with a big smile on my face. A few months ago I found out that I was going to be travelling to the Arctic. I was BEYOND excited for this trip. Despite my super high expectations, Adventure Canada’s Arctic Safari exceeded my wildest dreams. You can read all about my Arctic adventure here.
Not everyone will share my enthusiasm for this remote region. After all who likes frigid weather? Or barrenness? Or the possibility of getting eaten by a polar bear? But after reading this, you may be surprised to discover what a trip to the Arctic offers.
7 Reasons You Should Consider Travelling to the Arctic
1. Unravel the Mysteries of the Arctic
When you think of the Arctic, you probably think of ice. And lots of it. You know that glaciers are melting and that polar bears are in trouble. It’s cold. You’ve heard that igloos supposedly are quite warm, but you secretly have your doubts. But there’s SO much more to the Arctic. Isn’t it time to find out? Be honest? Have you even heard of Devon Island? If you’re not Canadian, I guess that you probably haven’t. And if you have, well, you’re probably a geography whizz who should try out for Jeopardy. It’s the largest uninhabited island in the world at 50,000 sq km. It resembles Mars so much that even NASA has a station there to simulate life on Mars!and is said to resemble Mars. Seriously, how cool is that? I’m Canadian and didn’t know that either – bows head in shame.
I was amazed at how little I knew about the Arctic and all the preconceived notions I had. There was so much to learn on my Arctic Safari. One of my favourites was discovering Inuit humour. It’s dry. The Arctic explorers that I spoke with said humour is critical in such a harsh climate. It makes sense when you think about it. I guess I’d never thought about it before.
2. Ice, Ice Baby
Make that glacier ice. Glaciers are melting at an ever increasing pace. Now is the best time to see them before they disappear. On this Arctic Adventure, you won’t just see glaciers, you’ll visit THE UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland. The ice fjord is home to the Sermeq Kujalleq Glacier. It’s one of the most active and fastest moving in the world at an incredible nineteen meters per day! It’s seriously one of the most amazing natural wonders I’ve ever seen.
3. Polar Bears, Walruses, Whales, Seals, and Birds
You’ve got to be tough. Real tough to survive one of the most extreme climates on the planet with dramatic weather changes. Not only that, if you call the Arctic home your days are spent in darkness. Take your chance to observe some of the most adaptable wildlife on the planet!
You have an excellent chance of seeing polar bears on this Arctic Safari in Greenland and Canada. Also, you’re 99.9% sure to see whales, seals, and birds if you’re hanging out on deck and not in your room. While sailing across the Davis Strait, the broadest strait in the world you’ll be on the lookout for minke and humpback whales.
Or how about seeing the elusive Narwhal in Mittimatalik, a famous region for its marine mammal sightings. Or maybe it’s a beluga that’s on your wildlife spotting bucket list. Don’t worry, in Lancaster Sound, you’ll have an excellent chance of spotting one. There are incredible 17 whale species found in the arctic alone! It’s fascinating that any species can survive here, let alone thrive!
If you’re a birder, you’ll also want to visit Prince Leopold Island. It’s the most important station for breeding marine birds in the Canadian Arctic.
On my Arctic Adventure, we saw three polar bears, two walruses, whales, including Narwhals! I’ve included the whole list of animals we saw. That way you can see how incredible it is. But realize that every trip is different.
4. Follow in the Footsteps of Big Time Explorers
There’s nothing like following in the footsteps of intrepid explorers to get you thinking about the mark you want to leave on the world.You’ll feel a kindred spirit as you sail across the Davis Strait, named after the English explorer John Davis (1550–1605), who explored the area while seeking entrance to the Northwest Passage.
One of the most historical sites in the Canadian Arctic is Beechey Island. You’ll learn more about Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition while here. Not a single one of the 129 men on board returned from the fateful expedition.
The three graves found at Beechey Island left no indication as to the fate of the rest of the British party—until recently. In the autumn of 2014, Canadian archaeologists discovered remnants of the HMS Erebus and its sister ship the HMS Terror in 2016 in the frozen waters of the Northwest Passage, a discovery that has renewed interest in the fabled region.
I left Beechey Island feeling both grateful and depressed. Grateful that I only had to spend a couple of hours on this miserable island. And depressed for the men that were here for over two years.
5. Discover Inuit Culture
You’ll be meeting locals along the way from Greenlandic Inuit to Canadian Inuit. How do they survive the cold temperatures for months on end? Do they sleep in igloos? Your whole world opens up as you discover what life is like in the arctic.
Some of my favourite conversations were with Inuits ranging from dating in a small community – Alex from Pond Inlet quips It’s much easier if you’re open to dating your third cousin. Or the lasting impact of Christianity. Or to my favourite, the last rite of passage when you kill a seal. Inuit give it one last sip of fresh water to show respect. It’s fascinating culture. One that I was quite ignorant to before.
6. Hangout with Really Cool People
There are going to be some seriously AMAZING people on board. To highlight just a few:
- Andre Gallant: A famous Canadian photographer who took many of the photos seen on this page.
- Anguti Johnston: A culturalist and famous Inuit actor/director with his own tv show. Not to mention a hilarious guy who loves to tell stories about nipples.
- David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes: World famous underwater photographers.
- Pete Ewins: Lead Species Conservation Specialist, WWF-Canada.
- Deanna Spitzer: A Marine Biologist
- Aaron Spitzer: An expert on the history, politics, and culture of the north.
- Jerry Kobalenko: Canada’s premier arctic traveller. Jerry has logged over 7,000 miles in the Arctic over the course of 35 skiing, hiking and kayaking expeditions. He’s also the author of The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island.
- Alanna Mitchell: An award-winning Canadian journalist, playwright, and author who writes about science and social trends. Be sure to check out Franklin’s Lost Ship: The Historic Discovery of HMS Erebus, a book that she co-authored, and that’s related to this adventure.
Not only that, but the other passengers are incredible people. If you’re interested in an arctic adventure, you’re among kindred spirits. You’ll meet travellers who are fascinated by natural history. Individuals who can name species of birds you’ve never heard of. Voracious readers who can recommend summer reading that you’ve never considered. And people who love adventure.
Age has no limits. I enjoyed conversations with 20 and 80-year-olds. There were also lots of solo travellers. So you never feel alone, but there are plenty of opportunities to be by yourself when you want to be.
7. Know That Your Participation Makes a Positive Difference (When You Travel with Us)
The hosts for 2017 included representatives from WWF Canada who support this expedition. That’s an impressive endorsement. Also, your discovery fee of $250 represents a portion of the money that will be donated to ensure the longevity and success of educational, environmental, and cultural initiatives in the regions that you’ll be visiting.
Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel also plants a tree for every client who books. I will also be working on some conservation initiatives that will ensure your contribution continues long after your Arctic adventure.
Who’s ready to travel to the Arctic?
You can read about my day-day Arctic Adventure here or find out how to book your Arctic Safari here to make your Arctic dreams become a reality!