(Sept 27-Oct 3, Sept 30-Oct 6)
Price $6495 USD
Departure Point: Fairbanks, Alaska
Length: Seven days, six nights
Group Size: 6
Kaktovik, Alaska is a hidden gem for polar bear viewing. Located within the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), it is truly remote, a fly-in community surrounded by sweeping landscapes. Each fall, the traditional whale harvest is conducted and, due to changing ice patterns, polar bears now gather near the community, spending the days along the shoals of the Arctic Ocean.
Every day, we will travel by boat to photograph polar bears at eye-level. Most bears in this area are mothers and cubs; Kaktovik offers the unique opportunity to glimpse polar bear family life; mothers nursing, cubs playing, bears swimming. October is peak ‘bear season’ in Kaktovik, the first snows of winter have just arrived making for some truly inspiring photographic opportunities.
This is an arctic outpost, far north of the Arctic Circle, so accommodations are ‘rustic’ compared to most other places. Kaktovik abounds with ‘northern character’, local students brief tourists in polar bear safety and polar bears roam the streets at night – a trip for the adventurous polar bear enthusiast.
Day 1 – Arrive in Fairbanks, transfer to our bed & breakfast, Welcome dinner in downtown Fairbanks
Day 2 – Morning flight to Kaktovik, evening polar bear viewing by boat. Check into the Waldo Arms – a ‘rustic’ hotel in Kaktovik, resembling more an Arctic base camp than the Banff Springs…. but all homecooked meals and northern characters included.
Day 3&4 – Morning and evening polar bear tours by boat. Travelling with a licensed ANWR tour boat gives us the best access and the best views of bears as they congregate on the offshore islands. Back at the hotel, learn more about bears in Alaska and around the world with presentations by your Naturalist guide.
Day 5 – One last chance with morning light for polar bear viewing and photography then we catch the flight to Fairbanks and check into our bed and breakfast.
Day 6 – Free morning to relax and explore Fairbanks; in the afternoon, our small group will join an area tour and visit Chena Hotsprings. Farewell dinner to follow.
Day 7 – Transfer to airport, Depart Fairbanks.
(Polar Bear Alley uses charter flights whenever possible to reduce the risk of weather delays. However, although rare, weather delays or additional expenses for flights will be shared by the group. Travel insurance is a must for this trip as the flights in and out of Kaktovik are highly subject to snow and wind conditions.)
Kelsey Eliasson – Fifteen years of polar bear guiding experience in Churchill, Manitoba; working as first a tundra buggy driver and then as guide/bear security for on-the-ground encounters.
Karine Genest – Karine has been a rafting and adventure guide in northern Canada for fifteen years now. She started guiding in Churchill in 2010 and now has significant experience with bears and bear behaviour.
Guide service available in French and English.
Non-refundable deposit of $995 per person is required.