Expeditions highlight 'cool' options for nature lovers

By Jeri Clausing

*logoWith the temperatures warming up around the country, what better time to start thinking winter adventures? Luxury expedition companies are launching some cool options for animal and nature lovers.

Among the offerings on tap for next year: a photo safari to view baby harp seals and a cruise through the Northwest Passage that includes a chance to sight various wildlife, including polar bears.JeriClausing 

Arctic Kingdom is adding the baby harp-seal safari to its 2015 lineup. The five-day trips, starting at $7,000, launch in February and March from Quebec and include a one-night stay at La Salicorne on La Madeleine Island and three nights aboard an active crab-fishing vessel that will take guests to ice pans to spend their days photographing the lives of harp seal pups. Mario Cyr, a professional photographer and videographer who has spent much of his career in the area, will lead the safari.

Travelers will get a chance to see seals and other Artic wildlife on Abercrombie & Kent’s newest offering for fall 2015: a 23-day, 4,600 nautical mile cruise of the Northwest Passage that links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
 

The September cruise aboard the chartered Le Boreal, starts in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and ends in Anadyr in the Russian Far East. The ship will sail past fjords, bays and glaciers and call on Inuit villages in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Arctic Canada and the isolated Bering Sea village of Little Diomede. In addition to baby seals, wildlife spotting possibilities include musk oxen, walrus, narwhal and beluga and polar bears. An onboard team of research and field scientists, naturalists, historians and cultural experts will give lectures on the animals and the artic ecosystem.

Prices start at  $24,995 per person.

“The Northwest Passage is something unique: a voyage that can be done only with a specific vessel during a very short period of the year,” said Le Boreal commander Capt. Etienne Garcia.

“The main difference between this voyage and other Arctic cruises is that we will transit across the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific," Garcia said. "The most challenging aspect is forecasting the movement of ice in different channels in order to find the best way through, following in the wake of great explorers like Franklin, Amundsen and McClure.”

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