travel / travel magazine / summer 2007

Island Getaways

Beluga Haven
Under 24 hours of sunlight, Somerset Island's shoreline comes alive in summer with whales, polar bears and visitors to the world's most northerly adventure lodge

NORTH OF THE NORTHERNMOST POINT on the continental mainland lies Nunavut's Somerset Island. And at its northern tip lies what, from the air, looks like a scene from a science fiction film about a futuristic outpost on a faraway planet. An orderly array of snow-white structures — one modular mother pod and 16 mini-pods — sits on the sandstone tundra. But this is no sci-fi fantasy. This is the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge.

Click map to enlarge
Overlooking the meandering Cunningham River, which runs across the island, the site is a former whaling station that was transformed into a lodge by renowned North Pole trekker Richard Weber in 2000. Weber, his wife, Josée Auclair, and sons Tessum and Nansen have a contagious passion for the North. They have turned Cunningham Inlet into an arctic traveller's dream destination by offering comfortable lodging, well researched, safely guided trips and amazing scenery, rich historical sites and herds of nursing, moulting belugas.


Getting there First Air and Canadian North offer daily flights from Ottawa and Montréal to Iqaluit. There are special rates for tourists. A five-hour privateplane flight takes you from Iqaluit to the lodge's airstrip on Somerset Island. A one-week stay is $5,990 per person, including transportation from Iqaluit.

Staying there Up to 20 guests stay in private heated cabins with cold-water sinks, marine toilets and beds with thick duvets. The lodge has a dining room, projection room, lounge, bathing room with hot showers, gear room and nature centre.

Playing there Activities include rafting on the Cunningham River, which runs through a canyon up to 300 metres deep; hiking to see belugas in the river estuary, an Arctic fox den, an ice cave, Triple Waterfalls and a gull rookery; mountain biking, which is suited to those who bike but very difficult for those who never bike; sea kayaking in stable double kayaks; and fishing for Arctic char in Inukshuk Lake, two hours from the lodge by ATV.
(877) 272-8426


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