Exploring places where you can safely roam


This site is designed to
let your imagination fly. It will introduce you
to some unusual travel experiences. It doesn't suggest
the best hotels or restaurants,
but it will lay out the territory where you
might be able to find one interesting adventure
and link up with some of the finest travel
companies on the planet and others like yourself.
So dream a lot,
plan a little. Then go.

A Jaguar thinks it over.

                        BELUGA WHALE
©Steve Snodgrassstevesnodgrass-beluga.jpg
The good news is that the average temperature above the Arctic Circle this summer will be between 46°F and 53° F (tropical, if you have lived through the winter 0f 2015 in the Northeast).  The better news is that a pair of Arctic explorers, Richard Weber and Josée Auclair, with a few decades' experience between them, opened Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge on Somerset Island in the far Canadian North, for whale watch trips a few years ago. More recently, they have partnered with Quark Expeditions of Arctic and Antarctic travel fame, realizing that the best safaris anywhere require comfort, hot showers, internet access, good food and drink, and available experts.
Quark has designed summer ten-day trips in which you can kayak, hike, mountain bike, raft, and drive or ride an ATV across some of the 25 square kilometers of flat-out wilderness. Muskox lumber along in small herds; Arctic foxes, changing from pure white to summer gray, tiptoe among the fields of flowers; polar bears swim or watch for seals, of which there are many, so their lunches are guaranteed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     POLAR BEAR ©Alan D. Wilson                                                               
Musk ox ©QUARTL wikicommons
The big attractions at this particular spot on Somerset Island at 74° North, about 500 miles above the Arctic Circle, are Beluga whales which migrate here for the summer, feeding their young and getting to know each other. You can hear these amazing creatures from your private cabin.
Scientists are identifying these particular Belugas to create a referential database of individuals to have on file as rapid melting of Arctic sea ice causes changes.                                                                                                                                 
         How you pass the time each day depends on you and your group. In the evening everyone gathers at the main lodge for dinner of local foods (Arctic char, for example), your choice of fine wines, and the fellowship that develops after a day's safari. This summer the Lodge will introduce a new photography program with professional photographer Nansen Weber sharing tricks for working (among other things) in the 24-hour-a-day light.
For a limited time, Quark is offering $500 off each person for each of three 10-day trips in July. The cost is about $8,000 to $9,000, plus about $1,700 private charter flight from Yellowknife, where you begin.  Call 800-892-0073.


See the website.

The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest ocean in the world. It is about about 5 million square miles in circumference, and is between 4,500 feet to 17,880 feet deep. In the summer, it is among the richest of all oceans, teeming with phytoplankton in a soup of oxygen and nutrients that attract hundreds of species of fish, as well as seals and whales.


The Arctic Circle.
Photo © CIA World Fact Book.

 GREENLAND     Glacier_in_Greenlandwest-of-tasiilaq_villemiettinen_.jpg
Without a doubt, Greenland, the world's largest island, is melting. Extremely. Predicted numbers of sea level rise may vary, and arguments about the causes of the rapid changes continue, but it is
impossible to ignore Greenland's graceful and beautiful shedding of its frozen state. For scientists, it's a field day to have data flowing in about the rate of glacial melt (and its subsequent winter refreeze); and to postulate theories of what lies beneath the ice, from 10,000 to as Kulusuk-Greenland_Nick-Russill-2006.jpgmany as 150,000 years ago.
For tour companies, it is also an exciting time. Inuit families who have lived in Greenland for centuries making their living from fishing and hunting now welcome tourism dollars into their villages, and tour companies can now offer more fjord kayak trips, and hiking treks up some 3,000 feet.  There are flowers in Greenland, probably a lot of artifacts from Norse explorers, and who knows? maybe the preserved remains seal-hunter-kulusuk_ville-miettinerwikicom.jpgmons.jpgof someone from before the last glacier.
Mountain Travel Sobek will take you to the less-traveled parts of Greenland on a "moderate to strenuous" trip over terrain that MTS describes as "granite, ikaite (spiky) tufa, grass, rock, sand, etc"; in other words, wear very sturdy boots.
[Above, top right: Glacier west of Tasiilaq, 2008. Photo©Ville Miettinen/WikiCommons.  Top left: The island town of Kulusuk, first stop. Photo©Nick Russill, 2006/WikiCommons.  Right: Sea Hunter from Kulusuk in his kayak with harpoon. Photo©Ville Miettinen, WikiCommons.]
Mountain Travel's Eastern Greenland's Ice and Mountains 10-day trip, from Reykjavik (Iceland) to Reykjavik, offers three days of "culture": spending time in the towns of Kulusuk, and Tasiilaq on the island of Amassalik, as well as visiting an abandoned World War II airport in Ikateq. Travel among these points will be by speedboat, sometimes through fjords crowded with icebergs, drift ice, and glacial melt rushing to the sea. Otherwise, you go on day-long hikes up granite mountains overlooking glaciers and stay in rustic fjord huts. For two nights, expect to camp beneath the stars. Accommodations in villages will be in small hotels.
There is a lot of takeaway on this exploration trip if you're interested in people who live very close  to climate change. Ten days, three trips beginning July 3, 2015 (and 2016). About $5,500, $800 single supplement. Air to and from Reykjavik, about $1,000. MTS is including a couple of hours to soak in Iceland's Blue Lagoon (below) before your international flights.
 Call 888-831-7526 for more information.
Greenland's coat-of-arms has an image of a Polar Bear, but the country has more whales than polar bears including rare breeds like the threatened Bowhead and endangered Sperm whales.


Visit the website.

Watch a NASA video of Greenland's ice sheet.

CoolFor ANIMAL ADVENTURES, click Tab above.