Cruise North is the newest member of the First Air / Air Inuit family. With a heritage that reaches back more than 50 years, they pride themselves on their knowledge, respect and commitment to the Canadian north and its native people. All three companies are owned by the Makivik Corporation of Quebec, where traditional values are married with innovative operational approaches. Owned wholly by the Inuit, Makivik is a highly successful investment corporation born of the first modern-day Aboriginal land claim settlement agreement in Canada (the JBNQA of 1975).
Under the direction of Dugald Wells, an industry veteran who began his career in the Arctic more than 20 years ago as a research scientist aboard Canadian icebreakers, Cruise North has developed an outstanding program of unique expeditions. In every detail of your travels, you will experience the land’s exceptional scenery, culture and wildlife. With Cruise North, you are considered a privileged visitor to the home of the Inuit, and you experience an Arctic only the Inuit could show you.
2008 Programs & Reservations
Inuit-owned Cruise North Expeditions – the only cruise line to specialize exclusively in Canadian Arctic cruises – has expanded its line-up of affordable Arctic experiences for Summer 2008 to include the Torngat Mountains National Park Reserve of Canada, Labrador’s first national park which opened to visitors for the first time in 2006.
From June 22 through September 1, 2008, Cruise North will offer nine Arctic experiences on six distinct itineraries including Spirit Mountains, Arctic Explorer, Arctic Odyssey, Baffin Adventure, Northwest Passage and the High Arctic. Highlights of the season include the running of the second bi-annual Arctic Marathon Cruise taking place on the July 20 Arctic Odyssey sailing and the annual Arctic Clean-Up, a post-season trip open to volunteers in September.
The seven-night Baffin Adventure is priced from $3,695 including round-trip air from Montreal to the Arctic on Cruise North’s sister company First Air from Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq.
Cruise North is the first and only cruise line to bring ease and affordability to the Arctic. By positioning its ship at the northern limit of the great Boreal Forest in Kuujjuaq, a short two hour, 15-minute flight from Montreal, Cruise North passengers bypass the traditional Arctic cruise itineraries that involve long flights to Greenland and days at sea to travel to the Arctic.
Cruise North’s ice-class rated 122-passenger ship, the Lyubov Orlova, provides a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere for Arctic cruising. Each expedition offers exceptional opportunities for wildlife encounters with those who call the North home including polar bears, muskox, seals, caribou, whales and a wide variety of bird species including the penguin-like thick-billed murres.
Each Cruise North expedition features a first-rate Expedition team and lecture series with leading naturalists, historians, geologists and ornithologists. Itineraries include visits to ancient Inuit archaeological sites and explore traditional Inuit culture such as Drum dancing and throat singing.
Travel arrangements are handled by the experienced staff at The Travel Network, a Virtuoso member agency in Toronto at 1-866-263-3220 or 416-789-3752.
Encounter a wide variety of birds and animals in their natural habitats. The sightings are often unpredictable, and can be sudden and dramatic. There's the collective screech of a half-million thick-billed murres nesting on the cliffs, the silent gliding of white beluga whales, and the humorous cacophony of a walrus colony. Seals poke their heads from the water, and polar bears measuring 11 feet in length - the undisputed monarch of the Arctic - swim more than 90 miles off shore.
Exploring and learning are essential to the Arctic experience, and they take the time to do just that. Itineraries are designed to minimize time at sea, and maximize time spent ashore. Whether visiting wildlife colonies, traditional Inuit villages, or just exploring the pristine arctic landscape, you will move at your own pace, in the company of friendly guides. At the end of the trip, you will be amazed at how many and varied your experiences have been.
Itineraries include time and flexibility to seek out and take advantage of wildlife sightings whenever and wherever they occur. Each landing is carefully planned by the experienced Expedition Leaders and the ship's Captain, taking into account ice, weather and sea conditions, as well as wildlife movements, to ensure a unique and fulfilling experience. The fleet of stable, inflatable zodiac boats designed by Jacques Cousteau will take passengers ashore just about anywhere.
Cruise North expeditions are hosted by a mix of local and southern guides and naturalists with expertise on topics such as natural history, anthropology, zoology and ornithology. They have an incredible enthusiasm for the region, and enjoy nothing more than sharing with you the secrets of the natural world, whether in the course of an engaging presentation in the comfortable lounge, guiding a walk on shore, or lingering after dinner in informal conversation. Our Inuit staff understands the land like nobody else, and you will appreciate their quiet confidence, friendliness, and proud mix of traditional values and modern sensibilities.
Named Lyubov Orlova and built in 1976, the ship was renovated in 2006 and is 4251 tons. She carries 122 passengers and 63 crew; she’s 328 foot long and travels at 13 knots. The ship offers a clean and casual setting with all the necessary comforts. All of the cabins have two comfortable berths, an outside view and private or semi-private facilities. Cabins also feature a writing desk, sitting space, and storage. The chefs onboard serve three delicious meals every day, with occasional selections of locally harvested country foods, and perhaps even a barbecue on deck. Early morning coffee and tea, and mid-afternoon snacks and refreshments are served for your enjoyment.
Comfort is ensured by helpful, cheerful staff who will attend to your every need. Additional ship features include a library well stocked with arctic-related reading and reference books, a cozy bar and lounge, a gift shop, and several observation decks. They maintain an "open bridge" policy, which means that unless otherwise noted, you are welcome to visit the command bridge at any time of the day or night. There you can learn more about the operation of the ship and its navigational equipment, as well as talk with the Captain and his Officers and observe them at work.
The expedition vessel is a purpose-built, ice strengthened ship designed to operate in ice covered waters. Equipped with the most modern navigational equipment, it is small and maneuverable enough to reach the most remote bays and shores, yet large enough to traverse open ocean with speed and comfort. It operates in accordance with all Canadian and international safety regulations and shipboard staff undergo continuous training programs.
The arctic is their home, and they are dedicated to protecting its natural environments. Their entire program has been carefully reviewed with the elders and community leaders of the region, to ensure there are no unwelcome consequences for the people and animals who share this land. Cruise North is active in promoting and supporting local clean up projects, to remove refuse from abandoned commercial activity sites.
Priced From US$3695 to $4895 for triple cabins to $7895 for the Hudson Suite, Air, Land & Sea Inclusive
Cruise North Expeditions is the price leader in expedition cruising. Their goal is to provide excellent value while providing exceptional quality - exceeding your expectations. Instead of black-tie dinners, they focus on providing an outstanding program of informative talks and frequent shore excursions that will enhance immeasurably your experience of the north. Included in all expedition fees are airfare when indicated, most meals, all lectures and shore excursions. A trip handbook with detailed information about the Arctic is also included. Single travelers who indicate they are willing to share a cabin are guaranteed the double occupancy rate for that cabin, whether or not a roommate is available.
Questions & Answers
When is the best time to travel to the Arctic?
The northern summer, especially during July and August, is the best time to visit. Though the sun may dip just below the horizon, the days are long and the weather is normally very pleasant. The region comes alive with wildlife and Inuit families head out onto the land to camp, hunt and fish the traditional harvest. Caribou begin their annual migration northward. Whales, seals and walrus head north and westward, following the retreating pack ice to feed along nutrient rich ice edges. Migratory birds, including geese, eider ducks, and murres by the hundreds of thousands nest on offshore islands and await the hatching of their young. By August, Arctic wildflowers have reached full bloom, and soon the local berries will be ready for picking.
What is the temperature in the Arctic?
During the months of July and August, the region's average temperature hovers around 9 C. However, it's also common to have beautiful sunny days with temperatures reaching 18 C.
Are Cruise North expeditions suitable for children & families?
By all means. Children and families are very welcome, however we generally advise against bringing children less than 5 years old. The excursions ashore will always include activity options geared to those with reduced mobility, however due to the nature of the expedition, they cannot always accommodate the disabled. When you make your reservations, discuss your particular needs with the agents.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
A complete clothing list will be sent with your pre-departure material, but generally, layering of warm clothes will ensure that you are comfortable. For example, a turtleneck, sweater and waterproof jacket will allow you to vary your attire to suit conditions that may change from warm to cool and back again within a short period of time. You will need waterproof pants to wear over your pants and rubber boots that go at least to the middle of your shins, since most landings will involve a brief step into the water.
How do I get to my departure gateway?
All of the Arctic voyages include airfare from Montreal, Quebec. If you need to fly to Montreal, Cruise North can assist you with connecting flights for an additional charge.
Will we encounter rough seas?
The seas in this region in summer are usually calm, though rough weather can be experienced at any time. There are remedies to control the rare case of seasickness. Please ask your physician for advice.
Will there be any mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes and black flies are common in the boreal forest tree-line areas - more numerous in July than August. However, it takes only a slight wind to keep them clear and fortunately, the great majority of our time will be spent along the coast - exposed to breezes, and away from the marshy breeding grounds.
Winner 2006 Award of Excellence, Nunavut Tourist Association
Leading Innovators in Travel – Travel and Leisure Magazine
2006 Green List Honoree – Conde Nast Traveller
TIAC National Award for Tourism Excellence
The People and the Land
The people native to the coastal regions of Labrador, Greenland, Nunavit, the Northwest Territories (including the Arctic archipelago), Alaska and northeastern Siberia share ancestors as well as many cultural traits, and form an entirely separate group from the adjacent Indian tribes. Each of these regions, however, has its own language:
Yuit is spoken in northern Siberia, Yupik along the central Alaskan coast, Aleut in the Aleutians, and Inupik from northern Alaska across Arctic Canada to Greenland and Labrador. All these stem from the same linguistic roots but are mutually unintelligible.
Inupik speakers occupy a greater land area than any other language in the world - there are only dialectic differences between people living in isolated groups thousands of miles apart. These are the Inuit people (Inupiat in Alaska), and their name means 'the people'.
The Inuit belong to the Mongolian race. Most have dark eyes, straight black hair and darkish skin. It is thought that typically their large trunk and body mass, with relatively small hands and feet, is a genetic adaptation to the cold environment. Inuit babies are born with a blue patch at the base of the spine which disappears within a year or two.
There are today about 20,000 people in the Baffin region, of which 85% or so are Inuit (in an area of 1.9 million sq km that makes for 172 sq km per person). Their lives are changing fast, and most of these changes were set in motion merely a generation ago.
Traditionally, the Inuit lived in small groups of extended family members. Nowadays, Baffin communities range in size from Grise Fjord (population less than 100 and falling) to Iqaluit (population 3,500 and rising). Most of these were formed only 30 years ago, when government officials persuaded the Inuit to move into new housing projects so that their children could be near a school.
In the old days, hunting and trapping were virtually the only pursuits of the Inuit, although in the last few centuries this was sometimes driven as much by the desire to obtain southern goods from traders as by personal need. Money did not come into question - furs were a far more common currency. With the furor over the cruelty of the age-old Inuit hunting practices, and the subsequent steep decline in the demand for fur, the Inuit lost their sole means of purchasing the food, gadgets and luxuries they had adopted from the south: They had become poor and functionally unemployed. By the end of the 1960's, the Inuit had come under the control of the remote Ottawa government - and had become the objects of what has been called 'welfare state colonialism'. The Baffin Region, like the rest of the Canadian Arctic, is now utterly dependent on transfer payments from the federal government: Ottawa spends more than $15,000 for every man, woman and child Nunavut and in the NWT, compared to $3,000 per capita in Newfoundland, Canada's poorest province.
In response to the changes in their lives, and the subsequent confusion, alienation and resentment that resulted, a wave of Inuit nationalism rose about 20 years ago. Many of the leading Inuit activists are the sons and daughters of people who were forcibly relocated into the High Arctic from their homelands in the 1950's. Fair representation for the Inuit by Inuit in regional government was a first step, and land claims for ancestral territories are still ongoing. The most important of these is the creation of Nunavut, a new territory which covers the Baffin region as well as part of what used to be central NWT. This legislation, ratified in 1999, includes a land claim agreement as well as a system of aboriginal self-government.
Current and recent projects in the Baffin Region aimed at improving the lot of the Inuit include educational reforms and the creation of Arctic College; the promotion of the region as a tourist destination, with local people becoming involved as guides and outfitters.
The history of those who have occupied Nunavik over the centuries is a reflection of the populations which have inhabited the entire Arctic from Siberia in the west to Greenland in the east. Roughly 4,500 years ago, a slow migration began from Alaska. Groups, known today as paleo-eskimo, took 500 years to arrive in Nunavik, occupying the east coast of Hudson Bay as well as different areas of Ungava Bay. Over almost 1,500 years, the coasts of the region ensured their survival. Then for unknown reasons approximately 2,500 years ago, this population disappeared from Nunavik.
Much later, about 2,000 years ago, other groups came to Nunavik, following the arrival of a significant population in neighbouring eastern Arctic territories. Archaeologists have named these people Dorset. They occupied different areas of Nunavik for over 1,000 years and harvested marine wildlife for the most part. It was towards the middle of this period that Dorset art became prominent. Then between 1000 and 500 years ago, this culture seems to have disappeared from the region. The actual time is currently disputed by archaeologists.
Around 1000 AD, the Thule (ancestors of the Inuit), appeared in the western part of Northern Canada. Rapidly, groups belonging to this new culture commenced migrating eastward. The new arrivals possessed technology much better adapted to the cold conditions of the Arctic at that period. In Nunavik, the earliest Thule sites date to around the 13th century and are found on the coasts of the Hudson Strait and western Ungava Bay.
From the second half of the 16th century, the records of European explorers mention encounters with groups living on Baffin Island and other nearby islands. The encounters were generally brief as well as sporadic. Nunavik Thule occupying the shores of the Hudson Strait and eastern Hudson Bay possibly became aware of the new presence in the North around the 17th century, though contact would have been very limited. Elsewhere in Nunavik, contact was non-existent. The first fur-trading posts, which were established during the 18th century and the many more which followed in the 19th century, changed this. Some areas, however, continued without any direct contact until the 20th century. The fur-trading period marked the beginning of drastic and irreversible changes in the lives of the Inuit of Nunavik.
Nunavik is Quebec's arctic region. A vast and virgin territory lying north of the 55th parallel; bordered by Hudson Bay to the west, Hudson Strait to the north and Ungava Bay and Labrador to the east. It is 507,000 km2 of truly wild tundra, taiga forest, scenic mountains, majestic rivers and countless lakes. Its inhabitants are the Inuit, the Naskapi and the Cree.
Kuujjuaq is approximately 1000 miles, 2 hours on the jet and 5 hours by turbo prop from Montreal.
Nunavik is a sparsely populated region, with close to 10,000 people living in 14 communities. The villages are scattered along the coasts of Ungava Bay, Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay. Although settled in these communities, the practice of traditional activities, such as fishing and hunting, remain essential elements of Inuit culture.
Nunavik lakes, rivers and coastal waters team with arctic char, Atlantic salmon, brook trout and lake trout, offering anglers an abundant renewable resource which has changed little since the beginning of time. While you fish you may even have an opportunity to observe caribou, musk-ox, black bears, wolves, foxes, ptarmigan, geese, ducks and various birds of prey.
The largest herds of caribou ever recorded - close to a million head - roam the taiga and tundra of Nunavik. Their annual autumn migration is a natural spectacle that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. These magnificently-antlered animals provide excellent hunting and photography opportunities alike.
Through an economic development project begun in 1967, 15 young muskox from Ellesmere Island were transported to an experimental farm at Old Chimo. The animal’s wool was intended to be woven into warm clothing and its meat incorporated into the diet of local residents. Though the development project was closed down in 1983, the small herd had grown to 52 head and these animals were released at a few sites throughout the region. In 2005, Nunavik’s musk-ox population was estimated at more than 2000.
And talking of wildlife, don’t forget the bugs! You do tend to see a lot of bugs throughout the summer months and they can get intense at times. It’s best to be prepared with bug spray and jackets.
Majestic natural scenery is everywhere you turn in this land. Trek through the untouched Torngat Mountains. Travel by freighter canoe among icebergs with the fjords of eastern Ungava Bay as a backdrop. Practice sea-kayaking along Nunavik's Hudson coast, a favourite destination for sea-kayakers from around the world. Or visit Richmond Gulf, an area renowned for its natural beauty
By August, arctic flowers have reached full bloom, nursed by the warm, gentle days. Their bright colours magically illuminate the green carpet of the tundra's lichen. Soon berries will be ripe and ready for picking: kigutanginnak (blueberries), kimminak (mountain berries) and, in southern parts of Nunavik, aqpik (cloudberries).
From October to March when the North is blanketed for long hours in darkness, Nunavik is often witness to fabulous displays of Northern lights. Also known as aurora borealis, or arsaniit in Inuktitut, they paint a wide rippling green, sometimes red and purple, arc across the night sky. Their vertical rays twist, much the way a giant curtain hung in the sky would blow in a gentle breeze. At intense moments, they even appear to be falling to the ground. In scientific terms, the natural phenomenon is said to be caused by energized electrons as they smash into the earth's atmosphere at high speeds. Carried by solar winds, many electrons and protons from the sun are conducted by the earth's magnetic fields to the night side of the planet, before being pulled downwards into the ionosphere. There, they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, knocking them into excited states. As the atoms calm again, radiation, which we perceive as green, red and purple, is emitted several hundreds of kilometers through the night sky. Some Inuit stories and myths give roles to these mystical lights. To discourage children from playing outside too late, they are often told that the arsaniit take errant children away. It is also said that the dancing lights are sky people playing in the dark of winter. Whistling out loud at them, can even make them dance more furiously.
Meaning: Great river. Population: 2,055. This is Nunavik's largest community, is located on the west shore of the Koksoak River, about 50 km upstream from Ungava Bay. Daily life in this community is closely tied to the mighty river. The ebb and flow of its tides are continually altering the landscape and they impose their rhythm on the practice of traditional summer activities. The boreal forest is present around Kuujjuaq. Patches of black spruce and larch stand in marshy valleys. Kuujjuaq also witnesses annual migrations of the George River caribou herd. These animals pass through the region throughout August and September. Kuujjuaq was known before by another name, that of Fort Chimo. 'Chimo' is a mispronunciation of the phrase saimuk, 'Let's shake hands!' Early fur traders were often welcomed with this phrase which they eventually adopted as the name of the trading post.
Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Inuit village of Kuujjuaq unites two divergent ways of life. On the one hand, Kuujjuamiut continue to practice traditional wildlife harvesting activities in harmony with the rhythm of the passing seasons and the tides of the mighty Koksoak River. On the other hand, daily town-life has acquired the frantic pace of the modern world, including regular air connections with Montreal and Quebec City, high-speed telecommunications, as well as a diversified economy.
The landscape found around Kuujjuaq is recognized for its natural beauty and this area marks the transition between boreal forest and tundra. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find a wide range of services in such a remote and relatively small community. Kuujjuaq boasts a state-of-the-art, 500-seat conference centre and theatre, two three-star hotels, several eating places, a bar with dance floor, as well as several stores and shops. A branch of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce offers a full range of banking services and the Tulattavik
Ungava Health Centre is a modern health care facility. The community’s meeting place is, without a doubt, the Kuujjuaq Forum. This recreational centre possesses an artificial ice surface, a double gymnasium, as well as a four-lane bowling alley, fitness club and community radio station.
Since the signing of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement in 1975, Kuujjuaq has become the administrative centre of Nunavik. Many regional organizations have their head offices in the community, namely the Makivik Corporation, the Kativik Regional Government, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, the Regional Conference of Elected Officers of Nunavik, the Kativik School Board, the Nunavik Research Centre and the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau.
Kuujjuaq’s airport is the transportation hub of Nunavik. The airport’s 7000-foot, asphalt runway is capable of receiving large, jet aircraft. Two major Inuit-owned airlines, First Air and Air Inuit, generate the bulk of the community’sair traffic. As well, a few air-charter companies are available year-round to shuttle a clientele of business people, mineral prospectors and other outdoor adventurers across the wild and beautiful north.
Whether visiting Kuujjuaq for leisure or business, you will discover a village humming with activity, and founded on the traditional Inuit way of life.
Accommodation: The Kuujjuaq Inn has a restaurant and comfortable lounge
Kangiqsujuaq Population: 479 Meaning: The large bay
Kangiqsujuaq occupies an exceptional site, 10 km from the Hudson Strait, on the south-eastern shore of Wakeham Bay. The village is snuggled in the hollow of a splendid valley surrounded by majestic mountains, a landscape of unspeakable beauty. Of particular note is the method employed by local Inuit to harvest mussels in winter. As the tide ebbs in shallow areas, they pierce holes in the sea ice. With the water having receded, they drop themselves through these holes and are able to crawl under the ice to collect this succulent seafood delicacy.
Quaqtaq: pop 257 Meaning: tapeworm. It is located on the eastern shore of Diana Bay, called Tuvaaluk (the large ice field) in Inuktitut, on a peninsula which protrudes into the Hudson Strait where it meets Ungava Bay. Mountains stand on the peninsula to the north and to the south-east are short, rocky hills. The region around Diana Bay is rich with land and sea mammals, as well as fish and seafood, including mussels, scallops and clams.
Specializing in Nunavik art, Tivi Galleries is the only art gallery located in Nunavik: exquisite carvings in soapstone, serpentine, caribou antler, whalebone and ivory; Collectables such as Inuit dolls, most crafted by local artist Annie Jonas; Original works of art: wall hangings, paintings, sketches and limited edition prints; wide variety of jewelry finely crafted from caribou antler and walrus tusk (ivory).
A cruise for two on the July 12, 2008 Arctic Odyssey departure.
You will enjoy this once in a life time experience aboard the ice-rated ship M/V “Lyubov Orlova”. Cabin assignment will be advised. Your package includes an 8 night cruise for 2 and airfare from Montreal, excluding applicable government taxes and fees.
Whether it is Inuit culture, majestic icebergs, or the most variety of wildlife seen on any cruise – polar bears, beluga whales, muskox and walrus – the popular “Arctic Odyssey” itinerary has it all. There is simply no better way to experience the Arctic for the first time.
Day 1 Kuujjuaq
Depart from Montreal to Kuujjuaq, a name that means “Great River” in Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit. After a brief tour of the town and buffet lunch, transfer to the ship and prepare for our expedition. You may have time to visit the restored Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post at Old Fort Chimo, the site of the original settlement dating back to 1830.
Days 2 through 8
Spend these days exploring the Arctic land and seascape. Among the places you may visit are:
An uninhabited island of soaring bird cliffs and small rocky beaches. Use the zodiacs to scout the beaches in search of walrus and polar bears.
Quaqtaq and Diana Island
At the northern tip of a peninsula jutting into Hudson Strait, Quaqtaq lies directly in the path of migrating marine mammals. On nearby Diana Island, herds of muskox roam the island amid fields of wildflowers and
thick beds of soft lichen.
Passing through a deep fiord with steep rocky walls, anchor in Wakeham Bay. You will feast on locally harvested foods, and enjoy an amazing performance of traditional Inuit throat singing and drum dancing.
Digges Island & Mansel Island
At Digges Island, visit the spot where Henry Hudson first encountered native Inuit. Cruise along the cliff face and visit Mansel Island, a favorite place for walrus and polar bear.
This small, rocky outcrop in the northern reaches of Hudson Bay is a favorite haul-out for hundreds of walrus. Zodiac the shores and marvel at the size and number of these massive creatures with their gleaming ivory tusks, so awkward on land but incredibly agile in the water.
The relatively warm waters of the Churchill River are a favorite summering ground for droves of glistening white Beluga whales. Watch for them on deck as you maneuver up the river and prepare for your journey home.
The fishing season runs June to September.
If visiting a community and you wish to fish, check with the local Landholding office for your local fishing permit. A permit from the province of Quebec is also necessary.
In the North, Atlantic salmon mature in the hostile seas between Greenland and Labrador endowing it with a powerful character and making it the ultimate strike for any expert fly-fisherman. When it takes your line the peacefulness of your surroundings will erupt like a furious explosion. Streaking into the air, over and over again, this robust fish will relentlessly try to throw your line. Beyond a doubt, Atlantic salmon is the hardest fighting fish in the region. The four main river basins for Atlantic salmon in Nunavik are the George, the Whale, the Koksoak and the Leaf.
Almost exclusively a Northern fish, Arctic char is not well known among anglers. Yet once hooked, the fight it puts up easily rivals that of the Atlantic salmon. Arctic char swim out in long runs and can skillfully throw a barbless fly with characteristic, powerful shakes of its head. Arctic char is definitely the rarest kind of delicacy, the prize catch of only the most adventurous anglers.
Brook Trout or Sea-run Trout
Brook trout, widespread throughout Quebec, is much sought after by fly fishermen. In Nunavik, you will have an excellent chance of finding that trophy you so much want to be a part of your fishing excursion. Brook trout shares many similarities with its cousin, the Arctic char. In particular, some populations, known as sea-run trout, will move to salt water estuaries in summer and adapt their colouring to this marine environment. At sea, brook trout is generally light green on the back with silvery sides; while in freshwater, a darker colour is displayed.
Since lake trout grows to a healthy size, it is a favourite among trophy anglers. That heavy tug that comes when this species strikes your lure is something all anglers dream about. Make your dreams come true in Nunavik where, as throughout the rest of Canada, lake trout inhabits many lakes and streams, not to mention cold rivers.
Trophy fish are the elders of Nunavik's underwater renewable resource and you are sure to hook more than one as they dart through their silent, discrete environment. It must be recalled, however, that the harsh climate of ice and snow has an impact on all wildlife in the region, fish included. Since they reach reproduction size much later in life than their southern cousins, the replacement rate of many fish species in the North is lower. Arctic char and brook trout may only reproduce every two or three years, while Atlantic salmon spawns no more than four times over its life span. Consequently, conservation of large mature fish through catch and release is highly recommended by the region's fishing camp operators. A single barbless hook and live release will preserve fish stocks and allow future generations to also enjoy this unique experience.
Many of Nunavik’s outfitting camps have been delivering quality, hunting services for more than 30 years, with very respectable success rates. Every year, caribou taken at Nunavik camps rank among the top scoring trophies recorded by Boone & Crockett, Pope & Young, and Safari Club International. Hundreds of thousands of caribou roam the wilds of Nunavik and offer innumerable hunting opportunities for every kind of sports hunter.
Through the summer and fall of 2001, for the first time in roughly a decade, a census of the George River and Leaf River herds was conducted. Their ranges were shown to cover the entire northern region of the province of Quebec. While the caribou of the George River herd spend part of each year in Labrador, the animals of the Leaf River migrate along a north–south corridor comprising the western and central parts of Nunavik.
Results of the 2001 census now estimate the size of the George River caribou herd at between 400,000 and 500,000. Although the population has decreased in the last decade, other scientific data collected in 2001 suggest that the herd’s overall health has improved over the same period. The size of the Leaf River herd is currently estimated at between 430,000 and 500,000 head.
Beyond a doubt, the tundra caribou is among the best-known symbols of life in the Arctic. This massive wildlife resource continues to represent an important source of food for the Inuit residents of the region. In Nunavik, you will encounter the largest caribou herds in the world.
The hunting season for caribou runs from August to October.
Around the 1880s, caribou were everywhere in Nunavik. The Inuit of the region had ample supply for subsistence purposes. Between 1890 and 1910 however, caribou populations plummeted for unknown reasons and these animals remained scarce for many, many years.
From a low of about 15,000 animals in 1958, the George River herd began to grow again, increasing exponentially to an estimated 800,000 head according to a 1993 census enumeration compiled by biologists. Since that time, the annual range of the George River herd is considered to have shrunk by 40% and now covers the area traditionally known by Inuit as the home of the caribou.
Offsetting this phenomenon, the Leaf River herd has increased in number and expanded its range during the last decade. While its calving grounds have slowly migrated much further north of the Leaf River, the herd’s entire annual range covers much of the Ungava Peninsula, from the large James Bay hydro-electric complexes in the south to Hudson Strait in the north.
Although seemingly abundant and invulnerable, Nunavik caribou have reached a critical point with their environment. It is therefore important that caribou sport hunting continue to be practiced ethically: excessiveness is out of place and regulation is as important as elsewhere. Everyone must take special care of this world-class resource
History of Kuujjuaq
• Archaeologists believe that initial Palaeoeskimo groups arrived in Nunavik some 4500 years ago. These groups were followed approximately 2000 years later by the Dorset people. The direct ancestors of the Inuit (Thule) arrived in the region around 1000 AD. In the early summer of 2006, preliminary archaeological work carried out by the Avataq Cultural Institute for Hydro-Québec and the Nayumivik Landholding Corporation identified certain prehistoric sites near Kuujjuaq that may date back close to three thousand years.
• Some of the earliest Europeans to have contact with local Inuit were Moravian missionaries, members of a Protestant denomination intent on converting Inuit to Christianity. The first recorded-encounter between these two groups was August 25, 1811.
• The Hudson’s Bay Company opened its first fur trading post on the east
shore of the Koksoak River in the 1830s, approximately five kilometres
downstream from today’s settlement.
• The current site occupied by Kuujjuaq was originally the trapping and wintering area of a few Inuit, including Tommy Tusaajiapik Gordon and his family. A U.S. Air Force base, known as Crystal 1, was constructed here between 1941 and 1945. It wasn’t until the Government of Canada became responsible for the landing strips that Inuit began to relocate to the settlement’s current site, near the end of the 1950s.
The FCNQ-Hotel Division has accommodations in Kangirsualujjuaq, Kuujjuaq, Aupaluk, Kangirsuk, Quaqtaq, Kangirsujuaq, Salluit, Ivujivik, Akulivik, Puvirnituq, Inukjuak, Umiujaq and Kuujjuarapik.
Lodge: Full service which includes dining room, lounge, full kitchen, electric and heat, cabins include indoor plumbing, electric and heat.
http://www.higharcticadv.com Leaf River Estuary Lodge
Specialize in world-class fishing for arctic char and Atlantic salmon, both of which feed voraciously in the rivers of the Leaf River Estuary and readily hit spinning lures and streamer flies.
Steve Belleau Tel.: 819-633-5335 Fax: 819-633-5337
Nunavik covers one third of the province of Québec, possessing 20 of its 43 identified natural regions. Each natural region is endowed with unique geology, topography, climate, wildlife and flora.
Today in Nunavik, three magnificent areas are at different stages of being transformed into parks. These are Pingualuit, Kuururjuaq and the Richmond Gulf–Clearwater Lake area. Parks are expected to encourage tourism by facilitating access to some of the region’s most spectacular natural attractions. Eco-tourism activities are founded on respect for the environment and local management, and may be easily integrated into a park structure.
Parc national des Pingualuit Created by the Québec government in December 2003, the official opening of this park to visitors was marked in November 2007.
As its name suggests, the centre piece of this park is the Pingualuit Crater. This crater was blasted into the Ungava Peninsula by a meteorite roughly 1.4 million years ago. Situated 88 km south-west of the community of Kangiqsujuaq, the walls of the circular crater created by that impact still cast an imposing shadow over the surrounding plateau of lakes and tundra. To Inuit, this place is known as Pingualuit (where the land rises).
The crater is 3.4 km in diameter and 400 m deep, while the lake which occupies the basin is an impressive 267 m deep, a depth comparable to most parts of Hudson Bay. The purity of this lake water is renowned throughout the world for its unique qualities: utterly colourless, odourless and tasteless. It has a salinity level of less than 3 parts per million; that of the Great Lakes is 500 parts per million. In terms of transparency, it is second only to Lake Masyuko in Japan. With neither inlet nor apparent outlet, water accumulates in the basin through precipitation, in the form of rain and snow. It has been estimated that the residence time of each drop of water in the lake is 330 years.
Although in a glass, the lake's water appears colourless, from above it is dark blue in summer and a cobalt shade in fall when the shoreline is lightly sprinkled with snow. In winter and spring, ice and snow blanket the landscape. Kangiqsujuaq is the starting point par excellence for any excursion to the crater, whether in summer or winter.
Kuururjuaq Park Project
At the northern tip of the Québec–Labrador Peninsula lies a mountain range that has some of the highest peaks in eastern Canada: the Torngat Mountains. This region is a place of legend, believed by Inuit to be inhabited by venerated and malevolent spirits. The Koroc River, which finds its source in the Torngat Mountains, flows through a deep valley and travels some 160 km all the way to Ungava Bay. For thousands of years, the Inuit have used this valley (named Kuururjuaq) as a travel route between the coasts of Ungava Bay and the Labrador Sea, as well as a seasonal home for fishing and various other wildlife harvesting activities. The forested valley of the Koroc River is an oasis in the heart of the tundra that sustains a unique variety of wildlife unusual for this latitude.
Situated along the eastern coast of Ungava Bay, not far from the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq, the territory of the park covers 4274 square kilometres. It comprises representative sections of three natural regions, which is to say the Torngat Mountain Foothills, the George River Plateau and the Ungava Coast. This national park should be formally created by the Québec government in 2008 with its official opening following shortly thereafter. Kangiqsualujjuaq is the starting point par excellence for any excursion through the valley of the Koroc River, whether in summer or winter.
For more information about Nunavik parks, visit www.nunavikparks.ca .
Cruise North Expeditions Inc.
With Cruise North, you are considered a privileged visitor to the home of the Inuit, and you experience an Arctic only the Inuit could show you.
Cruise North Expeditions, 1920 Avenue Road,Toronto, ON, M5M 4A1
The history of those that have occupied Nunavik over the centuries is a reflection of the populations which have inhabited the entire Arctic from Siberia in the west to Greenland in the east. Roughly 4500 years ago, a slow migration began from Alaska. Groups, known today as paleo-eskimo, took 500 years to arrive in Nunavik, occupying the east coast of Hudson Bay as well as different areas of Ungava Bay. Over a period of almost 1500 years, the coasts of the region ensured their survival. Then for unknown reasons approximately 2500 years ago, this population disappeared from Nunavik.
Much later, about 2000 years ago, other groups came to Nunavik, following the arrival of a significant population in neighbouring eastern Arctic territories. Archaeologists have designated these people as Dorset. They occupied different areas of Nunavik for over 1000 years and harvested marine wildlife for the most part. It was towards the middle of this period that Dorset art became prominent. Then between 1000 and 500 years ago, this culture seems to have disappeared from the region. The actual time is currently disputed by archaeologists.
Around 1000 AD, the Thule (ancestors of the Inuit), appeared in the western part of Northern Canada. Rapidly, groups belonging to this new culture commenced migrating eastward. The new arrivals possessed technology much better adapted to the cold conditions of the Arctic at that period. In Nunavik, the earliest Thule sites date to around the 13th century and are found on the coasts of the Hudson Strait and western Ungava Bay.
From the second half of the 16th century, the records of European explorers mention encounters with groups living on Baffin Island and other nearby islands. These encounters were not only sporadic but generally brief. Nunavik Thule occupying the shores of the Hudson Strait and eastern Hudson Bay possibly became aware of this new presence in the North around the 17th century, though contact would have been very limited. Elsewhere in Nunavik, contact remained non-existent. The first fur-trading posts, which were established during the 18th century and the many more which followed in the 19th century, changed this. Some areas, however, continued to have no direct contact with people of European descent until the 20th century. The fur-trading period marked the beginning of drastic and irreversible changes in the lives of the Inuit of Nunavik.
Average temperatures in Kuujjuaq are –24.3°C in January and 11.5°C in July
August 2005: Kuujjuaq, Quaqtaq, Kangissuluaq, Akpatok Island, Torngat Mountains, Cruise North