Polar Bear Arctic Expedition
The Arctic region gets its name from the Greek word for bear, ‘arktos’, which is a handy reminder that you find polar bears only in the vicinity of the North Pole and not the South Pole. It would make no sense to tramp all the way to the Arctic and not see the powerful, majestic creatures that give the region its name. Polar bear Arctic expeditions allow you to venture into the realm of the denizens of some of the most remote places on the face of our planet.
With numerous operators conducting expeditions across the length and breadth of the icy tundra, the intrepid explorer of the North is spoiled for choice. You may be rumbling across vast white plains aboard specialized explorer vehicles, motoring over the icy waves in a Zodiac, kayaking between the ice floes, flying over snowy mounds aboard a dog sled or hiking silently up crests to view the oblivious fauna at play below.
Each exploration party is usually led by one or more skilled spotters who are intimately familiar with the region. They are also aware of the best spots and times to maximize your chances of getting up close, safely, to the native wildlife. Despite the name, polar bear excursions also give you the opportunity to see other native species in their respective natural habitats – the walrus, reindeer, arctic fox, fur seal and an assortment of birdlife. Any excursion to the Arctic is intrinsically unique for its environmental conditions, but the experience is made ever more so amazing by these native species at home in their natural habitat.
Most of us have seen polar bears in zoos, but the sight of a mother polar bear scouring the far horizon for prey as her little one ambles along behind her? Now, that is a sight. Your days amidst the whiteness are not solely about nature, geography and the environment; there is also the history behind abandoned trappers’ huts that tell tales of the spirit of the pioneer in our souls.
Depending on the time of the year, the region you explore, and the tour operator, there may be a chance to interact with the people who continue to co-exist with the natural world in such inhospitable conditions here.
The best time to spot polar bears is between the months of May and September. This summer period is relatively warm and the days are longer so there is ample light by which to see your surrounds. The ice floes have also broken up to allow greater access to the interior.