Chimu dive deep into the Canadian Arctic to discover how to get the most out of your northern experience
If ‘Canada’ and ‘Arctic’ are two words which make you dream of an adventure filled with wild landscapes, rarely seen creatures, tales of bravery and a cosy cabin to mull it all over at the end of a chilly day, then ‘Canadian Arctic’ is sure to have you reaching for your thermals and heading north. Way north.
WHERE DO I FIND THIS WILDERNESS?
Bid the mainland farewell as your quest for the Canadian Arctic takes you beyond continental Canada. Here you will find the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, a collection of over 36 000 islands scattered like eggshells into the Arctic Sea. Come into a world of dramatic fjords, sparkling glaciers, imposing mountains and vast pack ice. Travelling during the summer months of June through to September means perpetual daylight thus more opportunity to play under the Arctic sun; exploring the wildlife, history and culture punctuating the wilderness.
TOUGHING IT OUT
The wildlife found up here is a particularly hardy bunch, evolving to survive in the already harsh elements only to face the challenges introduced by climate change. The Musk-ox traverse the tundra, sporting shaggy brown coats over their enormous frames to fend off the icy winds; the majority of the world’s polar bears rely on the swathes of sea ice in Canada to live; and the free roaming caribou is entwined with local communities through the providence of food and clothes. Observing these tough creatures from a safe distance allows a glimpse into their fragile world and ignites a newfound momentum for their protection.
MYSTERIES AND CULTURE, PAST AND PRESENT
Submerge yourself in the icy waters of the past as you learn about the explorer whose journey in this region drew to a bitter conclusion. While Amundsen successfully completed the Northwest Passage (a legendary trade route connecting Europe and Asia via the Arctic) between 1903 and 1906, the ships under Franklin’s command (the HMS Terror and Erebus) ended with the loss of 129 men in 1848 and a fruitless 11 year search for the wreckages. The present highlights its own lessons: the Canadian Arctic is inhospitable to agriculture so indigenous people rely primarily on fishing and hunting with these activities being an integral part of their tradition and survival.
WHERE TO GET COSY
The Arctic expedition ships of today are much better equipped for this region than the ill-fated vessels of the 19th century; transporting you into the midst of the scenery with the promise of comfortable lodgings for the night. Make like a high Arctic explorer aboard the Akademik Ioffe, a scientific polar research ship carrying just 96 passengers which has the added luxury of a sauna, spa and salt water plunge pool. If staying on dry land sounds preferable then a week exploring from the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, which is located 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle and involves a four and a half hour charter flight from Yellowknife, is akin to a luxury hotel in the middle of, well, nowhere.
Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures, can guide you through their Canadian Arctic itineraries and help you create your own polar adventure
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What do you want to experience when visiting the Canadian Arctic?
Written by Frances Armitage at Chimu Adventures.