Exciting news! For the upcoming 2015 expedition seasons, Quark is very pleased to offer our first-ever land-based adventure. It's an Arctic experience like no other, 500 miles above the Arctic Circle at the family-owned and operated Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge on Somerset Island, Nunavut.
A world class beluga whale observation site, Somerset Island lies between Prince of Wales Island and Baffin Island in the remote Canadian Arctic Archipelago. An Arctic safari experience here might include sightings of muskox, polar bears, arctic fox or rare Arctic birds, alongside fantastic Arctic char fishing. For six weeks each summer season, Quark travelers will have the opportunity to visit Arctic Watch and be one of just 26 guests, accompanied by two experienced Quark expedition leaders who supplement the amazing Arctic Watch team.
This partnership between Arctic Watch and Quark Expeditions will give guests the very same intimate and authentic Arctic lodge experience the Weber family has been offering since 2000, with additional expertise from the Quark team and enhanced creature comforts for 2015.
Sea kayak with beluga whales, raft the swift-moving Cunningham River, hike the vast and colorful summer tundra, or explore the rugged terrain of Somerset Island by ATV. At the end of the day, guests retire to the 5-star Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, Trip Advisor's top-rated Nunavut lodge. The lodge features private double accommodations, locally-sourced gourmet meals, the greatest selection of Canadian wines in the Arctic and more.
Our 10-day Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge expedition kicks off in Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories. A 1,000 mile, four and a half hour charter flight to Somerset Island via Cambridge Bay takes us over the treeline to the barrens, offering spectacular 360° views of the Canadian Arctic land and seascape.
Your week at the lodge has you fully immersed in an authentic Arctic adventure, from kayaking Cunningham Inlet, to hiking Flatrock Falls, to exploring life as it might have been in 1000 A.D. at five ancient Thule sites along the coast. (All adventure options are weather permitting.) Soak up the midnight sun; Somerset Island is a photographer's paradise in the summer, under 24 hours of daylight.
Visitors have the opportunity throughout the week to view terns, plovers, snow geese, ring and bearded seals, polar bears, muskox and even a den of Arctic fox, with fox cubs at play.
Don't be surprised to see playful belugas showing off for guests throughout your stay! The gathering of belugas at Cunningham Inlet is a phenomenon very few will ever witness; this is the home of the largest annual congregation of whales in the world. For about 4 weeks each summer, approximately 2000 belugas play, molt, mate and nurse their young in pristine Cunningham Inlet, where visitors can stand just steps away on shore to observe. This site is just a 15-minute walk from the lodge and offers a tower for observing from on high.
Whether it's your first time north of 60 or your fifteenth, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge and Somerset Island will reshape your perspective of the Canadian Arctic and all it has to offer. We'd love for you to join us this summer! Visit our expedition itinerary to learn more and contact us with any questions at 1-888-979-4010 (or 1-802-490-3628 outside North America).
All images courtesy of Nansen Weber Photography