- Location: Base Camp Resolute Bay. Advanced Camp – Polar Bear
Pass, Bathurst Island
- Mode of Transport: Air charter and/or snowmobile with kommatik
(large trailer), foot.
- Number of Participants: A minimum of 6 and a maximum of 12
- Grade: Easy – no experience necessary
- Dates: 16th May – 29th May
- Duration: 14 days, Resolute to Resolute
- Accommodation: South Camp Inn, Tented Camp.
We will be venturing into extremely remote environments, where others simply don’t go. Travel in the Polar Regions is often very difficult and sometimes impossible. This means we may experience delays and alterations to our plans. Everyone has to adopt a flexible approach and positive attitude and whilst it is great to plan things in advance and on a day-by-day basis it is rare, in our
experience, that the plan is not changed. We as your guides will keep you fully informed of our options and advise the team as to the best course of action.
We will access areas that are far more remote and wild than any normal “holiday” of this type would do. These are areas where Jim McNeill has guided the BBC to make wildlife films and where the occasional scientist will be met. We will be walking each day with light to medium weight back packs with our lunch and some team equipment in. You will need to be able to put up with normal camp life. But, there is no need to help with the chores although our guides will encourage it as it does constitute part of the overall expedition experience.
8th to 22nd May arriving and departing Resolute Bay. We then aim to spend as much time on the ice/land as possible bearing in mind that Arctic weather often dictates the timings of these events. For all participants this means an overnight stay in Ottawa. The flight north is at 0900 hrs the morning of 8th May and travels first to Iqaluit and then on to Nanisivik and finally to Resolute Bay, arriving at around 1800hrs.
We will assemble the team in Ottawa on the evening of the 8th at the Marriott Hotel, Kent Street. We will arrange accommodation here for you at our preferential rates but it is up to you to pay the bill. We will escort you on the journey north to our base camp, South Camp Inn, in Resolute Bay. Having arrived in the evening our guides will settle you in at South Camp where we will discuss the details of preparation over supper. The following day we will check everybody's kit and clothing and prepare for the journey to the edge of Bathurst Island - some 130 km northwest of Resolute. This may be by charter flight or snowmobile depending on sea ice conditions. Once we reach a suitable site we will set up camp. There will be a chance to meet our Inuit friends and get a feeling for what it is like to live in Resolute.
What should you expect:
- Weather: in the last few years, in particular, the weather has become very unpredictable which means we should prepare for the worst. Minus 5 to minus 25 Celsius.
- Camp: We use large base camp tents which accommodate 8 people for normal camping but we use them for 4/6 people – so there will be sharing but plenty of room. There will be raised cots for you to sleep in and top specification arctic sleeping bags provided. You can of course purchase a new one from us if you wish. We use our base layers to sleep in, including a fleece hat.
- Ablutions will be primitive but effective and each person will be advised to bring along their own moist wipes to keep clean. We will not be able to shower or bathe whilst we are in the field but personal hygiene is very important indeed.
- We also operate a light-footed approach to nature making as little impact as possible and shipping out all our refuse. There will be a small generator available for battery re-charging as well as solar chargers.
- We use super freeze dried food supplemented with fresh produce. A typical days menu would be:
* Pporridge or pancakes for breakfast, fresh fruit, bread, tea or coffee,
* For lunches: cheese and cold meat sandwiches with snack bars and biscuits and hot apple drinks from a thermos
* For dinners: a staple such as potatoes, rice or pasta with re-hydrated protein-based “sauce” such as chillied or casseroled beef, lamb or chicken. Please advise us if you have any special requirements.
Wildlife: The wildlife for the area is not extensive but being so remote the chances of getting close is extremely good. A BBC wildlife expert once said to me “there may not be many different species but I’ve seen almost all of them and up close!” We will give everyone a very clear briefing with respect to wildlife safety.
Featured Bird Species: Fifty-four species of birds, including 30 breeding species, have been recorded in the Area. This is unusual for this latitude in Canada. They include the Redthroated Loon, called Qaqsauq by the Inuit, Greater Snow Goose (Kanguq), Brant (Nirlirnaq), King Eider (Qingalik), and Oldsquaw (Aa'aangiq). The Snowy Owl (Ukpik), and the Rough-legged Hawk (Kaajuuq) are relatively common breeders in the pass and so are waders such as the Red Phalarope (Siggaq), White-rumped Sandpiper (Sigjariarjuk) and Baird's Sandpiper (Livilivilaaq). Sixteen species of shorebirds have been recorded in total. Three species of jaegers - Pomarine, Parasitic and Long-tailed - have nested in the Area and five species of gulls have been recorded: Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Sabine's Gull, Ivory Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake. The Snow Bunting (Amauligjuaq) and Lapland Longspur (Qirniqtaaq) are two songbirds that often nest locally. Birds banded at Polar Bear Pass have turned up in far distant areas: Brant in Ireland, King Eider in Greenland, Red-throated Loon in Chesapeake Bay, USA, Blackbellied Plover in Florida, USA, and Red Knot and other shorebirds in Great Britain and France. Some bird species that occur on Bathurst Island are known to winter in South America or Africa.
Mammals: Eleven resident species of mammals occur in the Area: Arctic hare, Arctic wolf and fox, Ermine, Collared Lemming, Peary Caribou, Muskox, Polar Bear, Ringed and Bearded seals, and Walrus. The largest concentration of Bathurst Island's Muskox population - 10 to 30% - occurs in the National Wildlife Area. Up to 120 adults may be present during the rutting season. They are in the pass from early February to late November. Calving occurs between April and June. The Muskox is called Umingmak by the Inuit.
* Insurance: Due to the extremely remote nature of our expeditions Jim McNeill writes a specific proposal for underwriters. For those living in the UK this is normally arranged through the British Mountaineering Council. The slight disadvantage with this is that you have to be a member of the BMC in order to qualify for the insurance which currently costs £14.97. Typical cost of the insurance is around £250. If you live elsewhere you will have to get insurance from your own country. Please contact us if you have any problems.
* Booking Flights: So as to avoid any possible repayments and cancellations we accumulate the minimum number of expedition team members and then arrange the flights for you, passing on our preferential rates wherever applicable (and we do get very good rates north of Ottawa!). We then inform you of how and who to pay and ask you to let us know when you have received confirmation of your bookings. We will either have an IWG on the same flight or meet your incoming flight and guide you through to our hotel in Ottawa.
* Risks: There are inherent risks involved when really immersing yourself in a highly remote environment alongside wildlife. We have a continual briefing and practice system with comprehensive plans to evacuate individuals or the whole team if necessary. A full Safety Strategy will be sent to you before departure. Our style of Guiding is consensual unless safety is at stake in which case our guides will take over and lead from the front.
* Clothing and personal kit: It is impossible to predict the weather these days and so we need to be prepared for full Arctic weather. We will send you a separate clothing and personal kit check list where you can also place an order for purchase or hire of items.
* Communication with civilization: We have a special method and protocol for communications with home and a Communications Strategy will be sent to you before departure.
Also see tour packages in:
Canada Nunavut Outdoor: Land Rambler Wildlife Viewing