Beluga Whale Photography at Arctic Watch

Beluga Whale Photography at Arctic Watch

Photograph belugas at the heart of one of the last beluga whale nurseries on earth.

Beluga Whale Photography at Arctic Watch

  • 9 nights

Beluga Whale Photography at Arctic Watch

Led by the team at Weber Arctic, embark to photograph one of the most unique beluga congregations on earth - two thousand whales every season in the shallow waters of Cunningham Inlet near Arctic Watch to nurse, molt, socialize and feed. This expedition is limited to eight guests.

Eight hundred kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge is your basecamp as you set out to photograph one of the last beluga nurseries on earth.

The adventure focuses on spending time at the mouth of the Cunningham River where mothers and young congregate in the shallow waters. We want to take time to teach and show you about the belugas moments, behaviours and really immerse yourself into their world. We will take opportunities to explore the coastline and photograph the whales as they travel in and out of the inlet and along the Northwest Passage; capturing all aspects of their journey as they play in Cunningham and travel the ice of the Northwest passage. We will be focusing on optimizing prime times with the tides - evenings and early mornings. Hone your skills in wildlife photography and landscape photography with the ever changing Arctic colours. For beluga enthusiasts, sit and enjoy the tranquility of these amazing creatures.

The belugas of Cunningham Inlet exhibit unique behaviour such as "spy hopping and bananas" (see photos). They are extremely vocal, making sounds that can be heard a kilometer away. Experts and novice photographers alike are welcome. Read our stories to learn more about the beluga whales of Cunningham Inlet.

Read more about Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, and what to expect on staying at the world's most northerly fly-in lodge.

Cancellation Policy

Any cancellations before 180 days prior to the departure date will receive a full refund less a $750 administration fee, per person. Any cancellations after that are not eligible for a refund.

To ensure a stress-free adventure, we recommend guests purchase travel insurance prior to visiting the Arctic.

For guests wishing to donate, a $500 conservation fee will be charged to each visitor to Arctic Watch. The fee directly supports our foundation's conservation work.

As per Canadian Law, all quoted rates are GST applicable at 5%. Prices are in Canadian currency.

Notice, as per regulatory requirements: This website describes activities carried out under licenses pursuant to the Tourism Act. Weber presently is seeking license renewals to conduct licensed activities for the 2024 season. During the ongoing licensing process, Weber does not hold an active outfitter’s license or tourist establishment license pursuant to the Tourism Act. By using this website you agree and understand that Weber is not a current license-holder and is not offering services requiring such licenses, pending their issuance. We are proud to have operated for the past twenty plus years in Nunavut.


Arrival Instructions

All adventures to Arctic Watch include accommodation in Yellowknife the nights before and after at the Explorer Hotel. Guests arrive into Yellowknife the day before the private charter departs for Arctic Watch.

Day 1

Fly to Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories and spend the night at the Explorer Hotel.

Day 2

After breakfast, depart Yellowknife on a private charter for the 3-hour flight to Arctic Watch. Guests will land in the Arctic later that afternoon. After an introduction to the lodge and the surrounding landscape by the Arctic Watch team, guests will have time to settle into their cabins. Before dinner is served, a short hike up to the local mountain is offered; breathtaking views of the Northwest Passage and ice formations on the Arctic ocean. Spend time with your guide that evening, as you prepare your camera gear for the adventure. 

Day 3

ATVs are our most practical form of transportation to cover long distances on the tundra. Attend a hands-on introduction to all-terrain vehicles followed by a short drive to the Cunningham Estuary to watch beluga whales. The gin-clear water of Cunningham Inlet is visited by two to three thousand whales every season in the months of July and August. The beluga whales visit to moult in the warm waters of the Cunningham River while nursing and socializing in Cunningham Inlet. This is a crucial rest-stop on the annual migration for these beluga whales. Spend the day at the mouth of the Cunningham River watching and photographing mothers and their young as they frolic in the shallow fresh waters. 

Day 4 - 9

Daily excursions led by our team at Arctic Watch focus on observing, photographing and encountering the belugas in Cunningham Inlet. Guests are provided the best opportunities to photograph unique moments as we observe the social behaviours between mothers and their young, adults, juveniles and family social structures within the herd. Guests are welcome to bring handheld and drone based photographic equipment (under the guidance of our team to ensure we don't disturb any whales). 

Day 9

The flight departs in the late afternoon. Upon arriving in Yellowknife you will spend the night at the Explorer Hotel before your return flight home.

Day 10

Depart Yellowknife for the return flight home.

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic the weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. Therefore all of our itineraries are marked as ‘suggested’. Daily excursions are planned based on guest desires, abilities and interests as well as daily wildlife and weather conditions.

Preparing For Your Trip

In the wild and unpredictable Arctic, weather patterns and wildlife can disrupt even the best-laid plans. All of our itineraries are ‘suggested’– we strive to ensure your visit to Arctic Watch is a trip of a lifetime. Each day’s activities take into consideration the dynamic environment we operate within, your interests, and may not always reflect the suggested itinerary outlined below.

Travel Recommendations & Notes

Read and understand our waiver here.

All travellers must purchase travel insurance - even Canadian guests. We recommend trip interruption, cancellation and health insurance that includes air ambulance. If an air ambulance is required to Yellowknife, Iqaluit or Ottawa, all non-Nunavut residents are responsible for the cost.

Baggage allowance on the charter flight from Yellowknife to Arctic Watch is 20 kg per person, including carry-on. If you have additional gear that will exceed the weight limit please let us know in advance.

Gear List

  • Neoprene Boots - A comfortable update to the traditional rubber boot with neoprene uppers and a neoprene/polyurethane foot. The best brand is Muck Boots -
  • Hiking/Walking Boots - Sturdy, waterproof/water-resistant leather lightweight boots are nice to have, but if happy with the Muck boots, these are not needed.
  • Light Winter Jacket/Raincoat - In the cooler evenings, a warm jacket is a must.
  • Comfortable Hiking Pants - Pack a couple pairs of quick dry pants made from tightly woven, wind-resistant material. No cotton or silk content.
  • Long Underwear - A couple sets of long underwear made from synthetic or wool - no cotton or silk content.
  • Day Pack - You’ll need a day pack to carry cameras and extra clothing on your excursions. We recommend Osprey Backpacks. Waterproof/water resistant storage compartments are a must for water sports.
  • Personal Items - Toiletries, cameras, sunglasses, extra glasses/contacts or any other items you might require.
  • Fishing - We have gear, but if you prefer your own - bring it.
  • Rain Pants - This item is primarily for protection against the wind while on the ATVs. Ensure your pants are waterproof and seam-sealed.
  • Lodge Shoes - Light, comfortable shoes to wear in the lodge are useful. We will supply guests with lodge shoes.
  • Fleece Jacket - A fleece jacket is another necessity as an extra layer under your raincoat, for warmer days, or just to wear around the lodge.
  • Hat - A wool toque or fleece hat. Any cap really that is made from a material that dries easily.
  • Gloves - Wind-resistant gloves/mittens for cold days or the ATV excursions.
  • Socks - Several pairs of good wool or wool-synthetic socks are a must. No cotton or silk content. Arctic Watch has Smartwool socks available for purchase if needed.
  • Sunscreen - The summer sun in the Arctic is extremely strong - not to mention it shines almost 24 hours a day. So pack sunscreen.
  • Binoculars - Great for spotting wildlife. We recommend Swarovski Optiks.
  • Arctic Watch has gear available for use on specific excursions: ATV helmets, fishing gear, paddling dry jackets and pants, life jackets, and more.

Staff Gratuities/Tip: If you wish to leave a tip to the team after your stay, it is greatly appreciated. Gratuities are split evenly amongst the staff members. We don't make suggestions - every culture has different expectations surrounding tips. Guests will (on average) leave about 10% of the value of their trip.

Add Ons

Take to the sky and see the beautiful landscapes from above as you fly the Northwest Passage. Observe narwhal, bowhead and beluga whales, seals and polar bear. Helicopter accessed hiking and flying is a great way to explore the coastal areas of Somerset Island. See the floating ice pans of the Arctic Ocean, explore pre-contact archeological sites from the Thule people and more. This one day optional excursion is aboard our privately dedicated helicopter at Arctic Watch and must be booked in advance.

PRICE: $2,900 person/per day

Love fishing? Creswell Bay is one of the top locations to fish for arctic char, their bi-annual migration offers a world-class fishing opportunity just a 45 minute flight from Arctic Watch. The arctic char range in size from 6-20 lbs. A minimum of 3 guests is required. $2,900 person/per day

We're here to help.

We understand that booking a trip like this is a big endeavour. Please reach out to us with any questions that you might have regarding your upcoming adventure.