Arctic Watch Adventure

Adventure & Wildlife at 74 Degrees North

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. 

  •  Solo Travellers

    Get out there and explore on your own - Arctic Watch regularly welcomes guests who travel on their own.

  •  Photographers

    Internationally recognized as one of the top Arctic wildlife locations, we welcome professional and amateur photographers.

  •  Private Groups

    Families, a group of friends or a private experience - we specialize in the intimate, focused and personalized. 

  •  Active

    Adventure for the active traveller - sea kayaking, hiking, rafting, biking and more!

  •  Relax

    Unwind with a glass of wine and views of 2,000 whales. All daily excursions are tailored to our guests desires and abilities. You decide the effort level. 

Discovery experience

Situated on the shores of the Northwest Passage, Arctic Watch is located in Cunningham Inlet, Somerset Island, Nunavut. Home to one of the last beluga nurseries on earth, nearly two thousand beluga whales congregate annually in the inlet, for the months of July and August. Somerset Island is home to muskoxen, arctic foxes, polar bears, seals, migratory birdlife and more. 

Excursions at Arctic Watch are designed to showcase the best of mother nature - we offer sea kayaking on the Northwest Passage with beluga whales, hiking the tundra, ATVing, fly fishing, widlife viewing, paddle boarding, river rafting, 1000-year old archeological site viewing and more.

Multiple daily excursions are offered with guest desires, daily wildlife and weather patterns. Visit our gallery for great moments captured by guests at Arctic Watch.

Since 2000, we've welcomed guests from across the globe, offering a unique experience in one of the most untamed places on earth. At a maximum of 26 guests per week, we focus on tailored experiences for all walks of life. Read our suggested Discovery Experince to learn more. Visit our bookings page to see rates & dates. We offer 6 and 8-day experiences at Arctic Watch. 

Lead by the best - The Weber Family has travelled the Arctic for three generations. Supported by their international guiding staff, the Weber Family and their team are passionate adventurers who've lead guests across the Arctic for more than 30 years.  

Custom

Arctic Watch is pleased to offer custom experiences for guests. Please feel free to contact us anytime. 

Private Bookings

Arctic Watch can provide fully customized experiences lasting a minimum of three days—or as long as you wish. Arctic Watch provides unique experiences for special tour groups and family getaways, and allows you and your companions to explore the High Arctic safely.

To discuss your private booking, please contact us through our request for information or telephone at +1-819-923-0932. We look forward to hearing how we can create your experience. 

Beechey Island: Franklin's Lost Expedition

Visit one of the most significant places in the history of Canadian Arctic exploration and a Canadian National historical site. During the Franklin Expedition of 1845-46, two of Franklin’s ships, the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror anchored here with perilous results. Three of his crew died and are buried at a marked grave site. A supply depot, "Northumberland House" also remains, nearly 170 years later. In September of 2014, the HMS Erebus, was found in the ocean south of Beechey Island. The mystery of what happened to the Franklin expedition remains. We are very excited to offer an exclusive optional day excursion to this truly historic location, every week during the Arctic Watch season (weather dependant). Departing Arctic Watch on a De Haviland twin otter, you'll fly across the Northwest Passage, for the 40 minute flight to Beechey Island. During the flight we'll look out for narwhal, bowhead whales, beluga whales, seals and polar bears. Once on Beechey Island, we'll pay our respects at the graves, visit the storage depot, have a picnic lunch, and explore the island. Stunning ice formations, untamed landscapes, and one of the Arctic's most historical places are all part of this incredible day trip. A completely optional experience for visitors to Arctic Watch: Available weekly on every Arctic Watch Discovery Program. Minimum 8 guests, maximum 12 guests, $1,185 CAD/$895 USD per person, from Arctic Watch. Inquire today.

Photographer's Adventure - Private Guides

We offer personal guides at Arctic Watch for photographers with specific requirements. If you wish to capture images of specific wildlife, or simply do not wish to participate in the daily group guided tours, personal guides are available for hire. Privately guided excursions include all equipment and the same delicious food offered on our regular tours. To let us know how we can meet your needs, photographers should contact us for more information. See out photography galleries for examples of photos that our guests have taken over the years. Visit our gallery or see Arctic Watch on Flickr

Charter flight: Sea-run Arctic Char fishing in Creswell Bay

Recognized as one of the top locations on earth for Arctic char fishing (fly fish or spin fish), the bi-annual Arctic char migrations provide worldclass fishing opportunities. A 40 minute charter flight by twin otter from Arctic Watch, Creswell bay offers char fishing  with fish ranging in size from 6 lbs to 20 lbs. Inquire today. 

Private Aircraft at Arctic Watch

Arctic Watch is pleased to offer guests with private aircraft the ability to land directly at our lodge from southern Canada. Arctic Watch has a 4,000 foot airstrip and facilties capable of landing a diverse range of private aircraft, both fixed and non-fixed wing. 
 

Inquire today about bringing your own aircraft to Arctic Watch. 

 

Trip preparation

Key to your enjoyment and safety

Proper preparation for a trip to the Arctic is key to your enjoyment and safety. Please take a few moments to read through the gear list below, take a look at our list of Recommended Reading materials and read our list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any concerns, please contact us, or call us at +1 (819) 923-0923, and we’ll be happy to provide the answers and information you need.

Neoprene boots

These are a new option to the traditional “rubber” boot. They have neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. There is no insulation to get wet and they are comfortable to walk in. The best brand is Muck Boots, which are available on-line at www.muckbootcompany.com. Upon your arrival in Yellowknife, our friends at Quark Expeditions provide you with a pair for the duration of your stay (on loan).

Hiking/walking boots

A sturdy full-leather waterproof/water-resistant pair of comfortable lightweight boots is useful but can be replaced with the Muck Boots provided. 

Light winter jacket or down vest

Again for cooler evenings. (Yes, even in 24-hour light the nights are colder.) A warmer jacket is essential. 

Comfortable pants for hiking

A couple of comfortable pairs of pants are useful. Try to choose “quick dry” fabrics made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content please.

Long underwear

It is the Arctic, so bring a couple of sets of long underwear. Synthetic or wool material, no cotton or silk content please.

Day Pack

You need this to carry your extra things, e.g., a camera and clothing, while on a day’s outing such as walking, rafting, sea kayaking (with waterproof storage compartments) or when riding the ATV. 

Personal Items

Bring your toiletries, camera, sunglasses and other personal items. 

Fishing

If you enjoy fishing and prefer your own gear, please bring it. 

Raincoat and rain pants

This is primarily for protection against the wind while riding on ATVs. A rain/wind jacket is a necessity to wear when walking on cool days. Your jacket must be waterproof and seam-sealed. Note: Each visiting guest is provided with a purpose-built parka, yours to keep.

Lodge shoes

Light shoes for wearing around the lodge are useful. For those who enjoy a morning jog/walk, bring your trail shoes - the beluga whales congregate 1km from the lodge. Grab an espresso and head down to watch them frolick in the shallows of the Cunningham River.  

Fleece jacket

A fleece jacket is always useful and good for wearing around the lodge.

Hat

A wool toque (cap) or fleece hat made of a material that dries easily is necessary.

Gloves

Gloves or mittens with a wind-resistant outer fabric are good for cold days or those ATV rides.

Socks

A few pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic blend socks are essential. Remember that socks are small to pack and wonderful to wear! We have Smartwool socks available for sale. (No cotton or silk please)

Sunscreen

The summer sun at Arctic Watch shines 24 hours per day. It is extremely strong - we recommend packing sunscreen. 

Gear Available at Arctic Watch

We have the following gear available for you to use when doing the applicable activity: ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets (PFDs) and more. Please feel free to contact us for specific gear questions. 

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to get special vaccinations?

No, no special vaccinations are required.

Where can I get a map?

A topographical map of Cunningham Inlet is part of the “Resolute Bay” map, scale of 1:250,000, number 58F. Maps are available from the http://www.worldofmaps.com

On what kind of plane will I fly?

The charter plane from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch is either a Dash-8, a 38-passenger turbo-prop aircraft, or a Dornier 228, a 19-passenger turbo-prop aircraft or ATR 72

Do I really need rubber boots?

Yes you do. A good set of rubber boots, particularly a pair that you can wear for walking is the single most useful piece of gear. Rubber boots are the best footwear for the ATVs. When hiking or walking there are often small streams and wet areas to cross. We recommend Muck Boots. As part of your experience with us at Arctic Watch, our friends from Quark Expeditions loan you a pair of Muck Boots, upon your arrival in Yellowknife, (model: Wetland) for the duration of your visit. 

Do I need long underwear?

Yes, the temperature can vary from a high of +20C (70F) to freezing. Normal temperatures are +8C to +12C. This is cool and a layer of synthetic (no cotton, silk please) underwear is the best first layer next to your skin. 

Does it snow during the summer?

In the High Arctic it can snow at any time of the year. If it does snow in the summer, it usually melts within a day. As a general rule of thumb, we always recommend preparing for 0C to +20C (70F).

Is there running water/electricity in my cabin?

Each cabin has electricity, running water and washroom. Marine toilets (they look very similar to a normal toilet) are used to minimize our impact on the fragile Arctic ecosystem. Private showers are located in the main lodge.

Am I likely to see a polar bear?

Polar bears are very unpredictable animals. Some years we see several bear(s) per week, sometimes less. If you really want to see a polar bear, there are areas we can go where the chances of seeing a bear are greater.

What is the average temperature during the day and night?

The average daytime temperature is +10C to +13C. At night the sun is still up, but it is lower on the horizon and the temperature is about 5 degrees colder. Please remember that this is the high arctic; prepare for 0C to +20C.

Are there mosquitoes or other bugs?

Warming polar climates seem to be changing insect patterns - for nearly 15 years, we never had biting insects. Over the past several seasons, we have begun to notice approximately 5 days per year with a few insects. Perhaps a sign of climate change?

Are single rooms available?

At Arctic Watch we have 16 cabins for guests. We keep the number of guests to a maximum of twenty-six per week, so normally we accommodate everyone in a single cabin if they wish.

Do I need to bring gear for sea kayaking?

No, all the gear you will need to go sea kayaking is at Arctic Watch, including dry suits, paddles and PFDs.

Do I need experience to sea kayak?

No, our guides are there to ensure safety at all times. We offer double and single kayaks to guests. If you have no experience, we will put you with a guide or someone with experience. We maintain an extremely high standard of safety for all guests - regardless of their ability level.

Is there alcohol at Arctic Watch?

Alcohol is avalable for purchase at the lodge. If you wish to bring any alcoholic drinks of your own, please do so, it’s your holiday. We do ask that you respect the other guests. Our wine list includes some of the finest wines in Canada.

I require a special diet. Can you accomodate it?

All the food at Arctic Watch is flown 1500 km from Yellowknife. Although the nearest grocery is that far away, we can provide vegetarian meals if requested. For those with special diets, such as “gluten free,” please notify us upon booking. Please be sure to let us know of your requirements well in advance.

Is there an age minimum to visit Arctic Watch? 

While we do recommend a minimum age of 8 years old, we've welcomed past visitors to Arctic Watch as young as age six. The Arctic is a special experience for children, one that we encourage all families to undertake. Please do contact us if you are planning on bringing your children to Arctic Watch. We'd love to hear how we can create a unique experience.

Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of an experience at Arctic Watch. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to an Arctic experience.

Recommended reading

Suggestions for your trip to Arctic Watch

  • Cover -

    The Arctic Grail

    Pierre Berton, Viking, 1988

    An overview history of exploration of the Arctic, especially the Northwest Passage. This book touches briefly on all major polar expeditions up to 1909. It is a great introduction to Arctic history.

  • Cover -

    Beluga Whales

    Tony Martin, Voyageur Press, 1996

    Learn where, when and how to get close to belugas in their natural environment. More than 50 spectacular images (many taken at Arctic Watch!) of this photogenic whale, known for its wide range of facial expressions.

  • Cover -

    Ancient People of the Arctic

    Robert McGhee, UBC Press, 1996

    This book traces the lives of the Palaeo-Eskimos, the bold first explorers of the Arctic, some 4,000 years ago, up to the Dorset culture, 1200AD. 

  • Cover -

    Ice Blink

    Scott Cookman, John Wiley & Sons, 2000

    An unforgettable account of the ill-fated expedition led by veteran Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. This is a vivid reconstruction of the lives and events of a vyage that began with the certainly of success and led instead into oblivion. 

  • Cover -

    Polar Attack

    Weber Makakhov, McCelland & Stewart, 1996

    A day-to-day account of the Weber Malakhov expedition that took them on foot to the North Pole and back without being resupplied by aircraft or aided by support teams on the ice. 

  • Cover -

    Barrow's Boys

    Fergus Flemming, Grant Publication, 1998

    Between 1816 and 1845, John Barrow and his hand-picked teams of elite naval officeers scoured the globe's empty spaces, which makes this book a tale of absurdly dangerous comedy as well as harrowing personal endeavour. The book contains great details on all the British naval expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage from 1815 to 1850. 

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