Polar Regions

Antarctica
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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The remote continent of Antarctica is the coldest, highest and windiest place on Earth. With more than 90% of the world's ice and almost no precipitation, it is a frozen desert spanning an area larger than Europe. Winter temperatures plummet as low as -90C, making Antarctica the only uninhabited continent, without ownership or government. Yet a select few plants and animals are able to survive in this hostile environment, including millions of penguins, amongst them the Emperor penguin, which breeds during the Antarctic winter. Tourism in the region is governed by strict environmental guidelines. Most visitors approach from Chile and head for the Antarctic Peninsula with its huge penguin colonies and abundant marine life, attracting large marine predators such as the leopard seal and killer whale.

 
Arctic Alaska
 
28 Jun 2018 12:00 am
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Alaska’s Arctic encompasses the Arctic Coast, Brooks Range and the Western Arctic, and is home to a number of National Parks and Preserves, which aid the protection and conservation of native species. The largest of these is the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in north-eastern Alaska, the largest national wildlife refuge in the USA, and home to a large variety of species of plants and animals, including polar bears, caribou, wolves, eagles, and migratory birds. Alaska’s Arctic is also home to the Inupiat Eskimos, many of whom still live a subsistence lifestyle and preserve their history verbally from generation to generation.
 
Canadian Arctic
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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The vast Canadian Arctic territories cover an area as large as India, but with a human population of 100,000. The regions of Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut contain some of the most unspoilt wilderness of the Arctic, and the fabled North West Passage, now becoming more accessible with rising sea temperatures. Arctic Canada includes the massive islands Baffin, Ellesmere and Victoria, which support healthy populations of musk oxen, Arctic wolves and snowy owls, and a small indigenous population of Inuit people. Belugas and narwhal may be seen offshore, and polar bears follow the pack ice even as far south as Churchill in winter.

 
Greenland
 
28 Jun 2018 12:00 am
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Greenland is the world’s largest island, located between Canada and Iceland, bordering the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The majority of its residents are Inuit, with ancestry tracing back to the Canadian mainland. The total population is just 55,000 in various small towns around the coast, none of them connected by road. Three-quarters of Greenland is covered by the only permanent ice sheet outside Antarctica. Greenland is famous for its glaciers and icebergs, which are produced all year but especially in summer, and vary greatly in size, shape and colour. One of the best sites for icebergs, located on the west coast of Greenland, 250 km north of the Arctic Circle, Ilulissat Icefjord is the sea mouth of Sermeq Kujalleq, one of the fastest and most active glaciers in the world and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
 
Norway Whale Watching
 
11 Sep 2019 12:00 am
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The Norwegian fjords just north of Tromsø are some of the best whale watching sites in the world. During the winter, the waters between Kvaløya and Andøya are teeming with orcas and humpbacks, as well as the occasional fin whale. They are there for the herring, which populate the fjords in their millions during the wintertime. At 3 degrees Celsius, the cold water is perfect for herring. The fish were once preyed upon by orca alone, but now, humpbacks are gate-crashing the party.
~With the humpbacks joining the orcas, it is now possible to see many hundreds of whales in a relatively small geographic area. The gathering is on a scale never before seen in Norwegian history. But it all depends on the herring stocks. For now, the populations along Norway's coast appear to be thriving.
~While Tromsø is the best place for winter whale watching, the Vesterålen coast and Andøya are better in the summer months. Here, large blooms of plankton support the species upon which whales rely. The fish stocks attract sperm, pilot, humpback, minke, fin, and killer whales, as well as dolphins and porpoises. Cetaceans can be seen at these locations year-round.
~Read more in our blog post here.

 
Russian Arctic
 
28 Jun 2018 12:00 am
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Vast swathes of Russia are located north of the Arctic Circle, a region rich in minerals and natural resources. The most biodiverse area is Wrangel Island, which sits in the Arctic Ocean, between the Chukchi Sea and East Siberian Sea. The island and surrounding waters are a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site and a federally protected nature sanctuary, as the island acts an important nesting site for hundreds of migratory species of bird, and a significant feeding ground for migrating grey whales. It is also home to the highest density of polar bear dens anywhere in the world, and is believed to be the last place on Earth where mammoths survived.
 
Sub-Antarctic Islands
 
25 Aug 2014 04:31 pm
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Svalbard
 
25 Aug 2014 12:00 am
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Located 400 miles north of Norway and half-way to the North Pole, the Svalbard archipelago is one of the most accessible and dramatic destinations in the Arctic. The main island of Spitsbergen was discovered by the Dutch explorer Barent in 1596 and lives up to its name, with spectacular mountains and glaciers.The west coast's fjords are warmed by the Gulf Stream, allowing summer exploration, but pack ice is never far from the north and east of the islands, providing an ideal habitat for polar bears. Marine mammals such as walrus and ringed seal abound, while there are huge seabird colonies and a surprising variety of high arctic wildflowers. The midnight sun shines between April and August, allowing maximum time to appreciate the rugged landscapes and abundant wildlife.
 
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