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.
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.
|Click map to enlarge|
ARCTIC WATCH WILDERNESS LODGE|
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.
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.
How do you get through the waning weeks of winter?