Sled Dogs and Polar Bears. Blue Kennels Alaska Polar Bear Viewing Tour in Kaktovik brings you up close and personal with the "Great Whites of the North". After watching Polar Bears you get to experience Alaska´s state sport DOGSLEDDING, while riding with a team of Iditarod Sled Dogs. You like to take pictures? Seeing Polar Bears has been on your bucket list? You are a fan of the iditarod? Then this tour is for you!
Upon Flying out of Fairbanks in a small group, we stay on Barter Island in Kaktovik. About 280 people, mostly Inupiat, call this beautiful place on the shores of the Arctic Ocean their home. Historically it was a traditional fishing village.
Polar Bear Viewing in Kaktovik is best done from the water. Most Polar Bears stay on a set of outlaying barrier islands. Our boat is a 22 foot aluminum Hewes Craft with Twin 135 engines. It has a heated cabin to warm up. The boat is piloted by coast guard certified Captain Ketil Reitan. Norwegian born Ketil arrived in Kaktovik by dogteam a quarter century ago, where he met his wife Evelyn Anguyak. He also is an Iditarod Musher.
6 hours each day are spent watching Polar Bears in their natural environment. We return to the hotel for lunch in between the morning and afternoon tours. Photo opportunities are plentiful from a safe distance on board.
The second part of the tour will be spent in Two Rivers, Alaska, Alaska´s dog mushing capitol. Here we stay at the kennel of Iditarod Musher and Yukon Quest Champion Sebastian Schnülle and experience Alaska´s state sport: Dog Sledding. Enjoy a Sled Dog Ride with the racing team as well as a trip to the famous Chena Hot Springs for a dip in the soothing waters. All meals and transportation are included. The tour begins and ends in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Video from September 2013
Day 1 Arrival in Fairbanks, Transfer to Hotel
Day 2 Breakfast in Hotel in Fairbanks, Transfer to the Airport and Flight to Kaktovik. Transfer to local hotel and lunch in Kaktovik. In the afternoon we embark on our first Polar Bear Viewing trip during a 3 hrs boat tour. ( B,L,D )
Day 3 All Day in Kaktovik. Morning 3 hr boat tour to the Barrier Islands for prime Polar Bear Viewing, afternoon 3 hrs boat tour ( B,L,D ) in Kaktovik
Day 4 Morning 3 hr boat tour to the Barrier Islands for prime Polar Bear Viewing. After lunch we are leaving Kaktovik on our own charter flight. Transfer to Blue Kennels and Dog Sled Trips in Two Rivers ( B,L,D ) in Kaktovik.
Day 5 It is Sled Dog time ! After Breakfast feel the power of a Sled Dog Team. We hook up 16 dogs to a training cart and take to the Two Rivers Trails. After lunch we drive out to the Chena Hot Springs Resort for a dip in the soothing waters. . Farewell Dinner. ( B,L,D )
Day 6 Transfer to the Fairbanks Airport after breakfast. ( B )
- 1 hotel night, double room in Fairbanks
- 2 remote base camp nights, double rooms in Kaktovik
- 2 cabin nights, double rooms in Two Rivers
- All transfers from and to airports
- All meals including non alcoholic beverages from morning Day 2 to morning Day 7 ( Day 1 restaurant dinner not included )
- Personal guide during entire tour
- 4 Boat based 3 hrs Polar Bear Tours in Kaktovik
- Sled dog ride
- Chena Hot Springs visit.
Airfare to and from Fairbanks, medical and travel insurance
Max 5 guests per group
$ 4995 p.P. (double accommodation) for 5 nights/6 days
- Sunday Sept 20th to Friday Sept 25th, 2015
- Tuesday Sept 22nd to Sunday Sept 27th, 2015
- Thursday October 8th to Tuesday October 13th, 2015
Kaktovik is the most remote town in all of continental Alaska. Flights in and out of Kaktovik are very much dependent on the weather. A change in the itinerary is a possibility. Any extra costs which occur to these unforeseen circumstances each participant has to cover themselves. Our departure from Fairbanks or return from Kaktovik might be delayed, in which case we stay the night in Two Rivers before departing for Kaktovik. Kaktovik accommodations are of Northern Charm with plentiful food. They do not resemble a 5 star accommodation. In return you are rewarded with some of the best Polar Bear Viewing in North America and exposure to a northern culture few people are privileged to experience.
Due to the remote location, a subsistence lifestyle is part of the culture. That includes an annual whale hunt. The whale bones left on the "bone pile" after the hunt and the receding sea ice have led to the arrival of Polar Bears as early as July. Although the bears can frequently be seen in and around town, best viewing is via boat. Contact us, if you would like to visit Kaktovik earlier in the summer season and we are happy to customize a tour for you.
My name is Sebastian Schnuelle, and I am your guide. I love to share my passion for sled dogs, bears and nature with you. Kaktovik is off the beaten path. It is true and untamed Alaska. I love it and so I hope will you. But I also caution you. The trip is for the true adventurer. Kaktovik is a "dry" town. There are no bars, no evening entertainment and simply no alcohol at all. In Kaktovik you also do not stay in a hotel with southern comforts. I would call them of basic comforts. The food is calorie rich and plentiful. which in my opinion is great. We are far above the Arctic Circle. The nearest grocery store is 800 miles south. The people in town take great pride in their lifestyle and work. We are guests in their fantastic community, and I hope they keep things true and real for the years to come.
The same applies to my kennel in Two Rivers. Accomodations are in a log cabin. Heck, it has power and cold running water! Since I have not had that for 17 years, the cabin is a real luxury by my standards. My Sled Dogs will be happy to greet you. A happy greeting is only complete with some dog hair and possibly muddy dog paw prints on your clothing. The dog ride is an actual training run, not just a show ride put on for tourists. The duration is determined by the training regime. The dogs enthusiasm is contagious. A ride of a lifetime.
There is a good logistical reason for the itinerary. Space on airplanes to town is limited. The flight alone is part of the adventure. There is no guarantee that we will make it Kaktovik on time, or back to Fairbanks on time, each and every trip. It is not a matter IF we get "caught by weather" in those latitudes, it is more a question of when. By planning the "sled dog portion" of the trip at the end, I hope we always make it back to Fairbanks for your southbound return flight on Saturday. If you do have the time, it might be a wise move to schedule your flight out of Fairbanks to Sunday, in order to give yourself another "buffer day" for bad weather. I am happy to help you with your hotel reservation.
Any questions? Please call me on my cell at 1 907 841 5618. I look forward to hearing from you and to planning your ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME !!!!
Mama Bear on the move with her 2 cubs
Mama Bear feeding her cub: A true privilege to watch