Pond Inlet - In Search of the Narwhal
In mid-summer, the ice in Eclipse Sound in the Canadian Arctic finally melts. The land and sea mammals that have congregated at the floe edge disperse for the short summer. This sea kayaking expedition explores the northern coast of Baffin Island near the Inuit hamlet of Pond Inlet.
As we search the spectacular fiords and bays, we hope to find pods of the mystical narwhal with their distinguishing single tusk. In the winter they feed on fish beneath the ice and breathe at narrow cracks called “leads”. In the spring they feed along the boundary between the ice and sea called the “floe edge”. When the ice melts they travel in small groups to their preferred “summering grounds” - usually shallow bays. Often several groups will come together to form pods of 100 or more whales. Because they like to summer in the same area every year, there is a good chance of finding narwhal; but, variations in the fish population, sea temperature, and a host of factors means there is no guarantee. Although much rarer, we may see killer (orca), bowhead, and beluga whales.
On land, we may see polar bears (although most summer to the north on Bylot Island), Arctic foxes, caribou, and small mammals. The austere land and seascapes are on a grand scale. This is a beautiful, but harsh and challenging, environment. The trip is a true Arctic expedition in a very remote area. It is suitable for adventurous sea kayakers with previous experience, solid basic or intermediate skills, and a few trips under their belts. These paddlers will enjoy a unique adventure that only a few people will ever experience.
"The trip exceeded my expectations. It is truly an Arctic experience, and we were so lucky to spot the narwhal." Allen, Ontario, Canada
Recommended Skill Level And Dates
Guides 5:1 ratio
• 11 nights of camping, 2 nights in the Sauniq Hotel, Pond Inlet
• excellent trail meals and snacks from Day 2 lunch to Day 13 lunch
• dinners (Days 1 and 13) and breakfast (Days 2 and 14) in Pond Inlet
• sea kayaks with rudders, paddles, spray decks, etc.
• PFDs (you may bring your own)
• tents: free-standing, custom expedition dome tents - 2 per tent
• "kitchen": tarp, cooking stoves, utensils, dishes, etc.
• dry bags and containers for food and group equipment
• first aid, safety, kayak rescue, and repair kits
• communications equipment (satellite phone)
• motorboat transfer between Pond Inlet and the expedition location on Days 2 and 13
• airport transfers in Pond Inlet
• transportation of guides, group gear, food, etc. to Pond Inlet
Trip Rendezvous Point: Pond inlet, NU