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Experience the chill of the Arctic in an incredible one-day excursion that highlights aerial views of the far frozen north. insight into modern arctic coastal village life, and mesmerizing views of wild polar bears waiting for the ice pack to come in.
This exclusive trip is offered during a very brief window at the end of the summer and can accommodate a maximum of 180 guests for the entire season.
“Unbelievable” — Warbelow’s has designed a Polar Bear Expedition that combines the best of arctic tourism. It’s one that has most guests saying “This is unbelievable” from start to finish.
The day begins with a 7 a.m. check-in and orientation in Fairbanks. Your 9 passenger twin-engine Piper Chieftain lifts off around 8, taking you to come of the most remote places in Alaska; through the Brooks Range, into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and then to Deadhorse, on the Beaufort Sea. After a gas-up, you’ll head for Kaktovik, an Inupiat village of about 200 located on Barter Island.
From the air, you’ll see a world that few experience: craggy ice-covered peaks, steep valleys full of snow. You may see caribou herds, and will likely be able to spot a polar bear from on high as you land in Kaktovik.
There are has around 20 to 60 Ursus maritimus (“sea bears”) that arrive each year to take advantage of “left-overs” from Alaska Native subsistence whale harvest, as well as a dense ring seal population that makes for good hunting once their regular hunting platform — the ice pack — is fully ready.
After lunch at the Marsh Creek Inn, guests will find their way to the harbor, where rustic planks lead down to open-air boats that hold a maximum of six passengers each. U.S. Coast Guard certified captains will motor groups out to the barrier islands, where polar bears like to hang out during the day.
Boats will stay out for viewing between one and four hours, so be sure to dress for the weather (the Arctic is cold even in summer!) and have plenty of room on your camera for these rare views of polar bears in the wild.
Sometimes you can get a view of bears that have come into town, too, especially at the “bone pile,” where the bears find old whale bones to chew.
Warm up on the flight back to Fairbanks, where you’ll arrive around 8 p.m. with your photos — and an Arctic Circle certificate — to show for your adventures. You won’t need those to help you remember the day, though. The experience is quite unforgettable in and of itself.
WHEN TO GO: The polar bear expedition is offered daily during the prime polar bear viewing season on Kaktovik — from August 25 to September 25, 2017.
WHAT TO BRING: Wear layers for comfort and warmth, as well as a warm coat/raincoat, hat, and gloves. And of course, bring your camera.
PRICING: $1,799 per person includes round-trip flight from Fairbanks to Barter Island, lunch at March Creek Inn, and boat ride. A minimum of four guests in required to depart. A full refund will be given if minimum numbers are not met.
HOW TO BOOK: Reserve early for the best availability. Call (907) 474-3520 or (888) 280-0582 for reservations.