Innovative small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations (http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/) has added four land-based tours that make the Arctic more accessible to North Americans. These tours that are conducted between late June and late November 2017 utilize strategically situated base camps as participants witness the natural miracles of an ice-bound world.
“We like to look at these land-based trips as a complement to our large selection of Arctic cruises. We now can apply our vast Arctic expertise in even more ways than ever to help travelers choose the perfect polar expedition, by land or sea,” explains AdventureSmith founder and director Todd Smith.
Two itineraries focus on Churchill in Manitoba, Canada, on the west shore of Hudson Bay. The world’s largest concentration of polar bears gathers here waiting for ice to form so they can begin their hunting season north. Churchill, dubbed Polar Bear Capital of the World, is also known as the “accessible Arctic” because wildlife and landscape mimic more northern reaches.
Two six- or seven-day trips in October and November 2017 visit this region. Classic Polar Bear Adventure uses hotels in the town of Churchill as home base for exploring the tundra by day aboard all-terrain Polar Rovers (designed for 35 but on these trips accommodating only 16 for maximum comfort and unobstructed window views) and enjoying a night mission in search of the Northern Lights. In addition to polar bears, guests are on alert for Arctic hare and fox. The gateway city is Winnipeg, Manitoba, where roundtrip charter flights, included in the rate, bring guests to and from Churchill. The rate is from $6,395 per person, double, for six days.
Tundra Lodge Adventure accommodates travelers in a mobile hotel rolled seasonally to the edge of Hudson Bay. The lodge has 29 rooms for guests and each room is a single compartment similar to sleeping quarters on a train, with either an upper or lower berth. There are six shared toilets and four showers. There is a lounge area for viewing bears and a dining car with sliding windows for photography. Guests also enjoy raised outdoor viewing platforms. By day they explore the tundra aboard Polar Rovers. The rate is from $7,895 per person, double, for six days.
Higher in the Canadian Arctic, 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle, is Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, located 50 miles from the nearest town. Here, at the Cunningham River estuary is a beluga whale migration hotspot on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada’s least populated territory and home of the Inuit, whose art is recognized around the world. Guests travel to this “most northerly fly-in lodge in the world” on a 4.5-hour charter flight from Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Named the Arctic Watch adventure, this trip engages guests for eight or 10 days late June through August 2017. Activities include hiking the tundra, standup paddle boarding, kayaking, fat bike outings, rafting the Cunningham River, fishing for Arctic char, riding ATVs and exploring via a Mercedes Unimog (off-road vehicle).
Guests may also site muskox, polar bear, ring seals, bird cliffs, fox dens and more on this active itinerary. Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is a family-run basecamp hosted by Arctic enthusiasts Josée Auclair and her husband, Richard Weber, along with sons, Tessum and Nansen. They are distinguished across the Canadian High Arctic as polar experts, particularly in Nunavut, and specialize in North Pole and Arctic tourism. The lodge operates with 16 staff and crew members with a maximum guest occupancy of 26. The rate is from $6,295 per person, double, for eight days.
The most remote of AdventureSmith’s four new land-based trips is Discover Greenland in East Greenland, where for nine days July through September home is Base Camp Greenland, a seasonal collection of eight safari-style tent cabins in Sermilik Fjord. This adventure starts in Reykjavik for a 75-minute flight west to Kulusuk, Greenland. A 10-minute helicopter transfer brings guests north to Ammassalik Island, landing in Tasiilaq for a two-night stay among colorful houses and whale-rich seas. A helicopter ride (10-20 minutes) or 2.5-hour boat transfer, conditions depending, transfers guests farther north to the exclusive wilderness Base Camp Greenland.
The icebergs alone are worth the journey: these are ocean-going slabs of ice, some of which have been drifting for months or even years, driven down the coast by the strong southerly Greenland Current. Glaciologists believe that some have even come from northern Canada, hundreds of miles away. On shore, guests may visit Tasiilaq's small but fascinating history museum. Greenland camping in style allows for cultural encounters with local Inuit who rarely see outside guests. Each cabin faces the central ice cap with expansive views across the bay. Guided sea kayaking, zodiac rides and hikes immerse guests in stunning landscapes populated with whales and Arctic foxes. The rate is from $9,995 per person, double.
These four Arctic trips are just the latest in AdventureSmith Explorations’ offerings in the polar region. The full complement of offerings can be seen online at http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/arctic. For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises worldwide, itineraries, availability and reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit http://www.adventuresmithexplorations.com/.
About AdventureSmith Explorations - Think Outside the Boat!
Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler's prestigious World’s Top Travel Specialists List as the leading expert on small ship expeditions.