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Alaska Polar Bear Viewing Tour

Sled Dogs and Polar Bears. Blue Kennels  6 night, 7 day 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!

Text BearUpon 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.  The Siku, a C-Dory, 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.

Ketil, Siku boatFor protection you are provided with coveralls (Mustang Suits). The boat cabin can be heated on cold days.  Most importantly the Siku can go in shallow water, which allows up close and personal Polar Bear Viewing. Many hours each day are spent watching Polar Bears in their natural environment.  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

 

Itinerary:

Day 1 Sunday: Arrival in Fairbanks, Transfer to Hotel, Welcome Dinner ( D )

Day 2 Monday: Breakfast in Hotel in Fairbanks, Transfer to the Airport and Flight to Kaktovik. Lunch in Kaktovik. Afternoon Van Tour to the Bone Pile and various viewing points around town. After Dinner another Van Ride to the Bone Pile. ( B,L,D )

Day 3 Tuesday: All Day in Kaktovik. Morning 4 hr boat tour with the Siku to the Barrier Islands for prime Polar Bear Viewing.  ( B,L,D ) in Kaktovik

Day 4 Wednesday: All Day in Kaktovik. Morning 4 hr boat tour with the Siku to the Barrier Islands for prime Polar Bear Viewing. Evening Drive to the Bone Pile. ( B,L,D ) in Kaktovik.

Day 5 Thursday: Breakfast in Kaktovik and 4 hr boat tour for more Polar Bear Viewing at the Barrier Islands. Afternoon flight to Fairbanks and Transfer to Blue Kennels in Two Rivers. Dinner at Kennel. Meet the Huskies. ( B,L,D )

Day 6 Friday: 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 7 Saturday:  Transfer to the Fairbanks Airport after breakfast. ( B )

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Included

  • 1 hotel night, double room in Fairbanks
  • 3 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 evening Day 1 to morning Day 7
  • Personal guide during entire tour
  • 1 day of Van Polar Bear Tours in Kaktovik
  • 3 half day Boat Polar Bear Tours in Kaktovik

 

Not included:

Airfare to and from Fairbanks, medical and travel insurance

Group size:IMG_3036

Max 6 guests per group

Cost:

$ 4995 p.P. (double accommodation) for 6 nights/7 days

Dates:IMG_3060

  1. Sunday Sept 7th to Saturday Sept 13th, 2014
  2. Tuesday Sept 16th to Sunday Sept 21st, 2014  sold out
  3. Sunday Sept 21st to Saturday Sept 27th, 2014,  sold out
  4. Sunday Sept 28th to Saturday Oct 4th, 2014, sold out
  5. Sunday Oct 5th to Saturday Oct 11th, 2014

Notes:

Polar Bears arrive in Kaktovik already in July. Temperatures are much warmer than later in the season and there is no snow ( hopefully ). Yet Polar Bears can be viewed in Kaktovik as they begin to arrive in town with the melting sea ice. They are not as many bears as in the fall, but the viewing is still spectacular. Of course you can truly experience the magic midnight sun, with 24hrs of daylight high above the Arctic Circle.  If you are already in Alaska, Fairbanks or Anchorage, than Kaktovik is only a flight away, a flight into another world, few people are privileged to experience. Between July 15 and August 15, 2014 prices are from Fairbanks:

  • 2 nights/3 days trip start at $ 2595 p.P.
  • 3 nights/4 days trip start at $ 3295 p.P.
  • 4 nights/5 days trip start at $ 3995 p.P.

Notes:

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. 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.

Guide Sebastian SchnuelleMy 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.

Kaktovik FlightThere 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

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 Mama Bear feeding her cub: A true privilege to watch 

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