Box 1320, Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (QC), J0M 1C0, Canada
Phone: +608-370-5071 / Email
: tundra@thelon.com

-presents-

Customer Trip Reviews: 2017-2016

The best possible explanation about the land, the animals, the camps and level of service that Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures provides is best described by our valued customers who have undergone their own journeys to the Arctic with us. The following testimonials are for real. If you are seriously considering joining us on our trips, please feel free to contact us, and we will be pleased to put you directly in touch with those who have attended our trips over the past few seasons - and then let THEM tell you about the wonderful experiences that Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures has to offer you...




- 2017-2016 Trip Reviews

- 2015-2014 Trip Reviews

- 2013-2012 Trip Reviews

- 2011-2009 Trip Reviews

- 2008-2006 Trip Reviews


- 2005-2004 Trip Reviews

- 2003-2002 Trip Reviews

- 2001-2000 Trip Reviews

- 1999-1998 Trip Reviews

- 1997-1995 Trip Reviews


2017

 

"It was exceptional tour [2017 Great Caribou Migration]. I saw wildlife, scenery, people in the Arctic North of Canada.  This is ONCE LIFE EXPERIENCE. The team and all people around were supportive and kind.  Even dogs around were friendly with us.  This was just a remedy for my soul. Leaving the camp on the way to Kuujjuaq I became emotional.  It is cold wind in my eyes I told  my friends in the boat.

Special thanks to Mariella, Thomas, Murray, Mark and YOU SIR. Many thanks to my friends in the camp, Sam, Hudson’s, Winnie, and others."

- Dr. Boris Kapitoulski
Red Deer, AB, Canada

 

 

"Since quite some time I was looking for an experience seeing polar bears in their natural habitat and the description of the trip Tom is offering seemed finally to be an answer on the search, a small group, remote, respecting the environment, the nature and the wildlife.  Having been in the field, I just have one word, it was FANTASTIC. We got some more insights of how life is in Nunavik and we saw more than one can dream of: polar bears, musk-ox, seals, an iceberg close to shore, peregrine falcons, sandpipers, the northern lights, artic poppies,… and beautiful landscapes. All of this respecting the nature, the wildlife and leaving no trash behind us. This was only possible with the help of an excellent Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures team: thanks Tom, Murray, Mariela, James and Poppy! The trip fueled my interest in learning more about Nunavik and start dreaming to go back to Nunavik."

-Caroline Vancoillie
Ieper, Belgium (2017)

 

 

"Many thanks for the wonderful trip I took with you recently on Polar Bears, Musk-ox and Icebergs. The trip you organized, the personal staff and equipment you provided were all top-notch. I cannot adequately express the tremendous efforts of Murray and Mariela to keep us fed and comfortable. Their knowledge of the plants, animals and the area surrounding the Leaf River was truly amazing. James’ and Poppi’s experience with boat and their knowledge of the area we traveled went a long way to ensure we enjoyed the trip and found the animals I was hoping to see. An unexpected bonus on the trip was to watch with amazement the daily ebb and flow of the tides. Thanks again Tom, I hope to go on another of your trips soon."

- Cliff Nagel (2017)
Leader, SK, Canada

 

"Hi Tom; Our trip with Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures started well with very prompt follow-ups to our (many) questions and good-natured accommodation of our need to change trip dates. Now that we've been there and back, we have a better understanding of the many complex logistics that Tundra Tom has to manage so we appreciate his flexibility and patience."

"The trip exceeded our expectations. It was a real privilege to be on Inuit land and experience the landscape they know so well:  the big sky, the rock and tundra and rivers and sea all within view of our tents. While the highlight was being out on the tundra, clambering over rocks and through acres of berries in the lichen; we both also really valued the tour of Kuujjuaq and area provided by local Inuit leader Allen Gordon.  The Inuit community there has an amazing array of economic development projects, from airline ownership to an Arctic Char fishery.  It is heartening to see how respectful Great Canadian Wilderness Adventures is of the local Inuit community, balancing fairly our interest and concern with living wildlife and the Inuit way of life that includes hunting."  

"As for the time on the tundra, now knowing the logistics involved, we very much appreciate the work of the staff to set up a brand new tent camp in Dry Bay to be closer to the muskox.  The tent was very comfortable (tall enough to stand up) and we had wonderful sleeps on the thick camp mats on cots in super warm sleeping bags.  Food was good and plentiful." 

"We can't say enough positive things about the guides: Tom ‘The Younger’, Mariela, and Murray.  Despite the long hours they worked each day, they were unfailingly enthusiastic and energetic.  Very well-informed, they each taught us many interesting facts without lecturing and then livened up our evenings with what may not be quite so factual legends (ask Tom the Younger about the 2 trout skin kayak!).  They are exceptional people and we owe them many thanks for such a great time." 

"I think it's important to note how impressed we were with Tundra Tom's care about safety. After our trip, while hanging out in Kuujjuaq for a few days, Tundra Tom and Murray generously offered to continue to show us around town. Then we learned that a polar bear had been spotted swimming near to Dry Bay where our tents were. This is highly unusual. Tundra Tom worked tirelessly for hours to investigate this story and arrange for an extra staff with a gun to be helicoptered to the tents to provide overnight security in case the polar bear came to visit (or prey).  I'm sure it was a huge unplanned expense but Tom didn't hesitate to ensure that everyone in the field was as safe as possible."  

"This trip was expensive for us but well worth it and very reasonable considering the logistics. We are planning to return!  Thank you Tom again and please extend our thanks to the other Tom, Mariela, Murray and Allen."  

- Maureen Fair & Wendy Shaw
(2017) Toronto, ON Canad
a

 

 

"I found about this amazing trip through my photo club and contacted Tom shortly thereafter last fall.  He answered all my questions and gave me all the information I needed to sign up and become informed. Upon arrival, Tom picked us all up and with Alan showed us around Kuujjuaq before we flew out to another Inuit village.  We then boarded James May's boat for an hour and half hour ride up into Leaf Bay to our island campsite.

This trip exceeded all my expectations in every way. Our group of people was all extremely nice people and our guides - we couldn't have asked for better, more competent, informed, knowledgeable and enthusiastic people. This positive, interested energy, I believe, provided the wildlife viewing experience of a lifetime. The tents we slept in were super comfortable and the food was tremendous - as good as any cruise ship food - but fresher.

While this is not a trip for everyone, anyone interested a unique, once-in-lifetime, wilderness, wildlife experience bar none, Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures is the company to go with!"

- David Ward (2017)
Hillsborough NJ, USA

 

 

"I’ve always had a fascination with the north and aboriginal culture.  After a trip to a very busy Iceland last year, I came away slightly disappointed because of all the photographers there all after the same iconic shots. As much as I loved the landscape, it made me realize the kind of photography tours I want to pursue in the future."

"It was after a cancelled trip to the Yukon and doing some research, I found Tundra Tom and Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures. I did some reading on the website and this sounded like a great fit; I wanted a trip that would be an adventure; something that would be unique and memorable [Musk-ox, Autumn Colours & Aurora}. I loved the idea of their values in practicing ethical and eco friendly photography in the wild."

"Right off the get go, when we landed in Kuujjuaq, we were met by Tom and his dog Girly; he loaded our bags and whisked us off to a waiting helicopter.  There were only 2 of us participating in this trip.  Most tour groups would have cancelled due to low participation but GCWA did not cancel.  We landed in the essentially the middle of nowhere at our camp in Dry Bay. There we were met by the participants of the last tour who absolutely raved about the fun we were about to have and how special this place is. We met our guides, Thomas and Mariela and our camp dog Lucky.  Once we got settled we met in the kitchen tent where Tom and Mariela briefed us on safety, and what would be happening in the next 5 days."

"The sleeping accommodations were extremely comfortable. We slept on very comfortable cots with down sleeping bags.  I was never cold and I slept soundly at night. Mornings we would get up, have a hot breakfast prepared by Tom or Mariela and scout where the muskox were using binoculars. We packed a lunch of sandwiches before heading out.  We would figure out logistically the best way to approach them via hiking on foot that would not stress them or put us in harms way and off we went. They are incredible beasts to watch; especially the dominant bull showing off to the cows and chasing away the competing males. The colours on the tundra were alive with reds and oranges and having that as a backdrop for muskox images was stunning.  We were even lucky enough to find a very recent wolf kill of a muskox on the tundra."

"After a long day of hiking and photographing muskoxen, foxes, ptarmigan, and landscapes, we’d come back to camp to a lovely hot and comforting meal. We would chat about what we saw and ask Tom and Mariela questions about the tundra flora and fauna, the Inuit culture and the wildlife. They were extremely knowledgeable about all.  I usually never lasted long after this and would go back to my extremely comfortable tent and sleeping bag and call it a day.  On the last day, we packed up camp and took a bush plane out back to Kuujjuaq."
 
"Looking around where we and others had camped for a few weeks, you would never know that someone was there as there was not a single remnant of our camp was left behind. I found that extremely comforting and I was proud to be a part of that kind of operation. The weather was not cooperative enough for the aurora to show herself; no matter I will definitely be back on another tour with GCWA and Tundra Tom. "Thank you Tom, Thomas, Mariela, Allen Gordon and Lucky for an incredible and amazing experience."

- Lisa Coldwell (2017)
Calgary, AB, Canada

 

 

"Hi Tom – As I told you in person, I really enjoyed the trip. The Leaf is an exceptionally beautiful river running through what must be one of the most pristine watersheds in the world. Paddling down the Leaf is like stepping into a time machine and traveling down a river as it would have been 5000 years ago. I’m sure many places we landed our canoes hadn’t been visited by humans in many years and in some cases, maybe ever. As you know, this is untrampled terrain that is marked far more by wolves and bears and caribou than it is by people. Each ridge and valley, each feeder stream, and each bend felt like its own mystery, potentially holding secrets that you just couldn’t wait to be revealed as the canoes floated past. And I had the same sort of feeling while exploring around camps or on hikes we did along the way. You just had this feeling that there would be a musk ox over the next ridge or a wolf further along the beach, or maybe even a woolly mammoth – and sometimes there were (no mammoths that I recall though). I’d love to come back and do it all again because I know the river will different each time you travel it, but if I never get the chance this trip will linger in my memory for the rest of my life.

I also can’t say enough about Tom Groening, our guide. He has an excellent knowledge of the river and paddling big rivers and for guiding this sort of trip, He generously shared some of those experiences with us which greatly enriched the experience. Not to mention he is a fine reader of sordid tales around the campfire and of course a resourceful and accomplished camp cook. Tom was great with our group, working tirelessly, and adeptly managing to keep us all paddling as team and enjoying each other’s company but doing that in a seemingly effortless and unobtrusive way. Getting to know Tom was one of the highlights of the trip for me and I hope we will continue to stay in touch.

It was great getting to know you as well Tom, and maybe more so, you’re dog Girlie. If I could have stolen her away I would have. Girlie is the best dog and you know it. I’ve attached a few pictures that I thought you might find interesting. Feel free to share as you see fit. All the best from Nova Scotia and thanks again for pulling together such a fine trip."

- John Brazner (2017)
Black Rock, Nova Scotia

 

 

"Hey Tom,  It will be hard for us to be concise as so many wonderful reactions pour forth.  When we arrived everything was ready and waiting.  The staff, Murray, Mariela, James, and Poppi, did absolutely everything possible to insure that we each found what we came for, kept us very safe, prepared excellent home cooked meals, including a birthday cake with 3 layers, baked in a fry pan.  Murray was a Jack of all trades and was able to improvise when necessary, e.g., storm preparations.  Mariela's extensive knowledge of the flora added so much: their willingness to adapt to my older, more physically challenged condition helped make my trip the best of my life.
 
  The Inuit culture was greatly exemplified by James May, and Poppi.  We've made 4 trips to the Arctic but only now got a good feeling for the Inuit culture and lifestyle. The arts festival was also a very enriching experience.  Their respect and love for the land and animals was exemplary.  We were to taught to observe without stressing.  They were wonderful ambassadors for Nunavik.  Poppi was not only a great help but without his scouting assistance we would never have found many of the polar bears, seals, and icebergs.  As our nighttime protector we also felt safe.

  Maybe due to the Arctic storm we experienced, the 7 of us bonded very closely.  This was also due in part to the staff's willingness to let us take part in the storm preparations.
 
  And then there was Tundra Tom.  He met us at the airport.  Toured us around the town.  Drove us to the Arts Festival and then, picked us up to take us home. He pre-cooked much of our food and provided for the 2 vegans in the group.  He was a constant ambassador for the land, the Inuit people, and the Arctic in general."  

- Joyce & Paul Petiprin
(2017) Bay City, MI, USA

 

"Hello Tom; I always need a bit of time to process my thoughts at the conclusion of a trip.  I had no idea you’re planning to ask for immediate reviews.  I am a slow thinker and do not work that way.  Your planning and pre-trip organization was well done.  The entire trip went off without a hitch and this speaks to your behind the scenes work."

"Tom and Mariela were excellent guides with good knowledge of the area we traveled as well as the plants, wildlife and history of the region. James added an interesting perspective, and the entire experience has left me wondering about the whole polar bear population question.  I have traveled with Inuit guides before and his ability to communicate was very helpful."

"The food was plentiful and well prepared.  There was lots of variety.  Whenever we returned from a hike or boat trip there were hot drinks and snacks set out for us.  I always felt safe.  The wildlife viewing was really wonderful and everything I expected with the added bonus of the wolves.

"The tour of Kuujjuaq on Saturday morning was a surprise and another excellent example of the experience you provide.  If I thought that crazy dog Lucky Nanuk would fit in my world I would happily have brought him home but I am pretty sure he would eat my cat!!!  "I hope he finds a happy forever home."

"Thank you for everything.  I will keep an eye on the web site and perhaps book another adventure."

Brenda Binnington (2017)
Aurora, ON Canada

 

"Hi Tom, I just wanted to write you and let you know how much the kids and I enjoyed our time in the tundra with Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and magical in all aspects:  culturally interesting, stunning views, amazing interactions with wildlife and just a fun camping trip with great guides who took exceptional care of us.  We had so many great experiences it is hard to decide which ones to highlight..."

"Because we broke up our travel to Kuujjuaq, the kids and I arrived a day early and had an interesting time exploring the town.  We were delighted by the quality of the accommodations as well as the food and drink selection at the local restaurant.  However, I would have to say that the highlight was our tour with Allen. It enabled us to understand more about the town, the logistics of getting supplies to the community and we were provided some explanation of the use of the land and interactions with government around land claims.  This was all very interesting.  The kids especially enjoyed seeing the husky puppies and a return trip for a dogsledding adventure is definitely of interest to us."

"Getting to camp was somewhat of an adventure, but once there, we quickly settled in and had an amazing time.  The food was good and the accommodations comfortable.  The mattress pads on the cots made sleeping easy.  While we were all very concerned about the mosquitos and black flies, we came to understand why the Inuit chose that island for their base camp.  The prevailing breeze kept the bugs under control and we were quite comfortable there."

"The caribou arrived the same day we did, and watching them descend through the mountains and swim across the water was absolutely amazing, an experience we will never forget.  The kids and I love the outdoors and you have to know that hiking in the tundra was the nicest hiking experience of all my life.  The nature of the terrain meant that we could climb and hike almost anywhere and the fact that there were no trees meant that the views were always amazing.  On the first two days we had so many wildlife encounters it became expected.  We found that every hike was unique and the varying terrain and plant life and amazing views were something we could never tire of." 

"Our interactions with the local people set the trip apart.  Learning about their way of life, entering their homes for a meal, speaking with them, travelling around with them, joining them in their camp, that just made the trip so much richer and enjoyable.  It was not just about the wildlife, it was also about immersing ourselves into a different way of life, learning about how others live, and understanding better the Inuit culture and customs.  This added cultural aspect is something that they should be very proud of and should leverage in these tours, if they are willing.  As an example, a meal at a family home one evening in Kuujjuaq  or Kangirsuk is something that  would enhance a traveller’s experience."

"Having travelled on an African Safari in my younger days, back in 1994, I would have to say that this experience matched that in so many ways, and if the area were able to attract a high end hotelier to create eco friendly accommodations that would appeal to higher end travelers, you could really attract a broader cross sections of travelers to the area... Just a thought." 

"Overall, I have to say that every Canadian should take the time to travel to the Arctic.  Most  of us live within a couple hundred kilometers of the US border and do not understand the vastness, beauty and unique cultural heritage that dominates the majority of the land mass that is Canada.  I definitely came to better understand the unique  bond that exists between the Inuit people and their land and believe that all Canadians would benefit from deepening their understanding as well.  Narrowing this divide would go a long way to improving relations between the First Nations people and the rest of Canada."

"We are hoping to come back to see the Northern lights and the Muskoxen!  Stay tuned!"

- Margaret Hudson (2017)
Burnbrae Farms Limited
Mississauga, ON, Canada

 

 

"I had a fabulous time on the ‘Musk-ox, Autumn Colors & Aurora’ trip. The guides, two, were just great – knowledgeable, personable and really catered to our needs (photographic, food, safety and question-wise). Our safety was paramount to them, and they made sure we saw musk-ox everyday while getting as close to the animals as possible to get the best pictures and videos, while still being safe. The food was wonderful and there was plenty of it including fresh fish (char). The accommodations, cots with sleeping pads and sleeping bags were very comfortable, actually better than I was prepared for, and warm. The tents had plenty of room, and it was possible to stand up in the tent. The guides also offered to those who wanted to be awakened in the middle of the night if the aurora was out – which it was on several nights – and was a first for me. A further comment on safety was probably unique on my trip. A polar bear was sighted by some local out in Dry Bay (near the camp), which was very unusual for this location. This meant the guides had to be awake during the night just in case the polar bear came wandering into camp. A third guide was dispatched to the camp the following day (with a dog and an extra shotgun), to take the night watch, freeing our guides to again focus on the original goal of viewing musk-ox during the day for us. The flexibility of Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures to go the extra mile to make their clients feel safe was greatly appreciated, and as a result, I felt very comfortable during the night as well as the day. The tour around Kuujjuaq added a cultural element to the trip, providing insight into the lives of the Inuit, and seeing the huskies and pups of Allen Gordon up close (nothing like 6-week old pups all around) was great fun. I had never been to this area of Canada before, and if the musk-ox weren’t present, being a wildlife photographer, I would have never been in this area.  A remarkable trip, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed."

- Geoff Glassner (2017)
Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

 

 

"Dear Tom, First of all, thanks again for an excellent, well-organized, successful and comfortable few days in tundra country.  Your staff and equipment are first rate, tent accommodations really could not have been better, and food was good, innovative and abundant.  Our main objective of course was to see Polar Bear, and on two occasions we had first rate sightings.  Photos that others took will confirm this.  James' understanding of the bears and their habitat, and ability to operate his boat, got us the great views we wanted.   Many viewings of musk ox were also great, as well as seeing bearded seal and some fleeting views of some other mammals as well as looks at a good variety of birds.

When we talked you emphasized the "tundra experience".  This helped us appreciate better the treeless landscape, and to see the moss, lichen and other growths that survive in the far north.   Part of the experience of course was to live with the force and importance of the tidal flow in Ungava Bay and the inlets where we spent so much time.  We only had one day of strong winds, with a few showers, but this gave us a taste of what life up there might be in seriously bad weather.  The wind and cool but comfortable temperature kept the bugs away ... the head-nets never left the tent.

I was also impressed by how modern and well-kept both Kuujjuaq and Tasiujaq are.  I was expecting places that were a bit run down and shabby around the edges.  But both places impressed with their good roads, sound construction, and general sense of order.  The Auberge Kuujjuaq was a lot better than we had reason to expect: the laid back management really was no problem and the restaurant produced plenty of good food.  Also very important was the helpfulness and friendliness of the Inuit people with whom we had contact.  They showed us a bit of their way of life, and made it very clear they know what they are doing.  

Potential visitors should know that jet service from Montreal to Kuujjuaq is reliable, and using Montreal airport is pretty easy. The terminal in Kuujjuaq, and also the terminal building in Tasiujaq are new and attractive.  It was kind of fun to study the construction, and see how well winter-proofed the buildings are, including how ramps are in place to get the pedestrian above the snow pack.  The local flights between the towns, using Twin Otters were short and easy, and gave us good views of the tundra landscape.

Reading the above, it sounds a bit gushy.  But I compare this brief trip to longer experiences in the Antarctic, a few weeks in the Aleutians, camping in the Andes and Himalayas, and visits to a number of weird places where conditions and hospitality can be plenty dicey.   This trip was excellent, easy and should certainly be of interest to those travelers who want to get to out-of-the way places without having to put up with undue discomfort and risk.  Thanks again for job well done…"

- Ken Cole (2017)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

 

 

"Hi Tom,  Everything was perfect - and so much more than I expected.  I appreciated how organized everything was - including getting picked up at the airport, driven to the hotel, pre-trip briefings, lunch in the tent before our flight out to the Leaf, your concern for safety and the assurance that we had good communication with you while out on the river and that you were following our progress.  I know there is a huge amount of work that goes into preparing for a trip like this - and everything ran seamlessly.  I appreciated the effort and organization that takes.  Your staff was amazing.  Although we mostly interacted with Tom, it was clear that Mariela and Murray were passionate about their job and the area, including people and the wildlife.  They all made us feel at home, excited to be there, and ‘part of the group’ right away.  Tom was fantastic on the trip.  I appreciated his knowledge, his enthusiasm to learn and share new things, his quirky personality; his ability to safely lead us through swift water and other challenges, and his dedication to making the trip a huge success.  I’ve been fortunate to visit some spectacular places - and there is something extra special about the Leaf River."

- Shelley Arnott (2017)
Kingston, ON, Canada

 

 

"Hi Tom, Thank you again for producing our wonderful tundra experience.  The opportunity to see the polar bears, muskoxen, seals, peregrine falcons and one little lemming in their natural habitat was thrilling.  Equally memorable for me was being on the land - the stark beauty of the rocks, the colours and forms of the lichen, the unbelievable softness of the mosses, the myriad of tiny wildflowers and the delicious berries were marvelous to see (and eat!) I wanted my grandson to get a glimpse of a northern area.  In his lifetime there will be many pressures on this environment - climate change, economic interests, and southern 'civilization' moving in.  I know he now thinks it is "an awesome place" and will care about its future.  The staff were all very expert in showing us the wonders and in making us feel safe and comfortable, we knew we were in good hands.  Best wishes to you and all your staff."

- Mary Robb (2017)
Victoria, BC, Canada

 

- Meagan Vosters (2017)
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

 

 

"Hi Tom: You should have received an invitation to share a google photo album where I put pictures from our Leaf River trip. Please feel free to post any of these you like. If you have any trouble accessing them, let me know. 

Thanks for your hospitality and assistance making my time in Kuujjuaq enjoyable. And the trip on the Leaf River was unforgettable. I can’t imagine a better guide than Tom.  And the opportunity to experience a large river in its natural state was incredible. The Leaf River is a gem. 

Perhaps I will be back for another trip in the future, maybe even another run on the Leaf?"

- Scott Bailey (2017)
Plymouth, NH, USA

 

 

"Hi Tom: Below I provide some comments and observations on the recent “Musk-ox, Autumn Colors, and Aurora” expedition organized by Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures.  At 74 years of age, I have undertaken dozens of mountain climbing trips, wildlife viewing adventures, and general wilderness travels throughout the world from Alaska to Patagonia and across the globe to the Karakoram and K2.  Many of these trips have been in western Canada including Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.  But this was my first visit in the far north of eastern Canada.  My goal was to experience close up first hand viewing of musk ox, autumn colors on the tundra of the Canadian shield, hopefully northern lights and to learn more about the native Inuit peoples of Nunavik, their aspirations, and how they are adapting to a changing world.  This wonderful trip met all these expectations and more."

"Even prior to arriving in Kuujjuaq, it was apparent from the informative online Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures web-site and extensive correspondence from its owner Tundra Tom, that the trip was very well organized encouraging me to believe that we had a good chance of realizing many of the personal expectations I had for overall trip success.  Following arrival in Kuujjuaq, our group of four trip participants was taken on a tour of the town by Allen Gordon.  Allen is a member of the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board and was well qualified to provide us with a very informative introduction to the town itself, Nunavik in general, and the Inuit people who inhabit this remote part of Quebec."

"The next morning began with a short bush plane flight to our camp and what was to become our home for five days.  We quickly settled into our tents and following lunch were out on the tundra looking for musk-ox.  Two superb guides Tom Groening and Mariela Urra led the way.  Because of the rather gentle overall topography of the Canadian shield in this area, it was necessary to approach musk ox taking maximum advantage of what cover was available in order not to spook these animals.  Both guides were outstanding in their ability to maximally utilize what cover was available to get our small group downwind and positioned behind small hills or granite outcroppings with favorable light in order to get the best possible viewing and photos of these amazing animals.  The late August/early September timeframe was optimal for viewing and studying social interactions within the musk-ox herds including aggressive charges and head butting by males vying for access to females already in or approaching ovulation.  We went on wildlife searching hikes mornings and afternoons into the early evening every day and never failed to be rewarded by close sightings of musk ox, various interesting birds including ptarmigans, and even a wolf.  On our second day, an unusual report of a polar bear swimming in the area led Tundra Tom to send out a third guide (armed with a rifle) by helicopter along with a dog to stand guard over the tent encampment at night as a safeguard against a possible polar bear intrusion.  We had two nights of excellent Aurora viewing while at Dry Bay as well as opportunities to see and admire the beautiful fall colors of the tundra there and on a drive we took with Tundra Tom following our return to Kuujjuaq."

"In addition to the wonderful itinerary laid out and fully realized for this trip, the expertise and warm camaraderie of Tom Groening and Mariela Urra were simply exemplary.  Their knowledge of the wildlife, plants, geological history, and native inhabitants of Nunavik were key elements in making this trip such a huge success.  The food was excellent and the welcoming conversation over meals or as they were being prepared after hours out on the tundra were highlights that added depth to the marvels of nature we experienced every day and night!"  

"This was my first trip with Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures but it won’t be my last.  I am particularly interested in polar bear and caribou trips in 2018 going farther north in Nunavik and hopefully participating in trips with native Inuit guides having intimate knowledge of the habits and migration routes of these incredible animals.  Just as important for me as actually observing these iconic mega fauna of northern Canada is the knowledge that participating in this type of eco-tourism provides financial incentives for local inhabitants to preserve the intact wilderness ecosystems that are required for these animals to survive.  As I have told my children and grandchildren who hopefully one day will follow me to these few remaining special places on earth, even if I physically was never again able to go on my own to places like Nunavik, just knowing that these places still exist in their original natural state provides me with a tremendous sense of well being.  I would not want to live in a world where such places could no longer be experienced in all their living glory but instead because of habitat destruction were reduced to sterile depiction in some text or history book.  Fortunately this is not the case today in Nunavik and hopefully it never will be."

    • Dave Matthews (2017)
      Encinitas CA, USA

     

    We will keep adding more as they come in - from all over the world!

 

2016

"Nothing is like the North in the fall – brilliant crisp days and deep brisk nights, punctuated by vivid Northern Lights dancing across a breath-taking canopy of stars as loons sang their haunting calls in the distance.  Our guides provided expert tracking allowing us to stalk and photograph abundant Musk Oxen without stressing them.  We caught fish from the pristine lake, and hiked the rolling tundra, identifying small animal habitats, animal tracks, plants, lichens, and birds as we traversed the dense vegetation.  Wild landscapes rolled on forever, captured in stunning photos with striking blue-bird skies and majestic clouds. A stunning lake-side site, knowledgeable and congenial guides, first class equipment, and hearty food, made the remote camp comfortable and homey for a great experience.  I anticipated primitive camping far from “civilization” with sleeping bags on the hard ground.  Instead, we had roomy tents, cozy sleeping bags on cots, and even the surprising luxury of a shower. The Muskox, Autumn Colours & Aurora trip delivered as promised, far exceeding my expectations!  My family and friends are amazed at the fantastic photos that give just a small taste of this incredible experience. Twenty years ago, I met Tundra Tom on my first visit to the Canadian North.  I had a magical time in the brief tundra summer on the Thelon, tracking musk-ox and caribou, viewing Gyrfalcons on the nest, canoeing pristine lakes, and enjoying lazy evening campfires as we watched the Northern Lights traverse the sky among a dazzling array of stars!  Beautiful landscapes, and a great camp made the trip a once in a lifetime experience.  A year later, I joined Tundra Tom again as the autumn showed another aspect of tundra beauty, with carpets of red and gold fall colors rolling across the tundra, caribou migrating, and even a dusting of snow!  I am happy I caught up with him again for my trip this year".

- Michelle Wallace
(2016) Broomfield, CO

 

"Dear Tom, thank you for organizing a wonderful trip. Kathy and I have had many trips in many countries. We had visited the north in the Yellowknife area plus I consulted to the Yukon for 10 years. I had always wanted to see the caribou migration and you made that possible. We had a great supporting crew that were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We arrived to a fully set up camp and between seeing and photographing the northern lights, learning from Marc about his people and their culture and finally having the caribou arrive just a day and half before we had to leave, we had a great trip. I hope you can continue to run similar tours for many years and we are happy to recommend your operation."

- Colin Leech-Porter & Kathy Scalzo
(2016) Vancouver, BC

 

 

"The Autumn Musk Ox and Northern Lights adventure was a magical experience.  I went in hopes of seeing the Northern Lights, and was delighted on my first night to have them come out and dance across the sky.  It was an amazing welcome to the camp where the next 10 days were filled with new discoveries.  I didn't expect the tundra to be such a microcosm of plant life.  It was carpeted with many varieties of wild berries.  We picked blueberries, cranberries, cloudberries and treated ourselves to making blueberry pancakes.  The soft bounce of the tundra put on a new twist to hiking.  One of the many highlights was coming across a fox den with a curious young cross fox who couldn't keep his eyes off the two of us.  After we passed by, I looked back and his head was peaking over the bushes with his gaze still following us.  That was such a sweet encounter with wildlife, not one of fear but curiosity.  We had other thrills; coming across the musk ox, a bear, and bringing in lake trout for dinner.  The food was plentiful, but there was something special about being in the wild and being able to gain sustenance from it. The wildlife, stunning vistas, the dramatic sunsets, the Northern Lights, the pure air and water, and the very competent and friendly staff made it a truly magical adventure.  This is Inuit territory and we were fortunate to touch their world."

- Joanne Chow Winship
(2016) Lafayette CA. USA

 

 

"Hi Tom, back from Paradise where you can drink water from the river, eat berries from bushes and where caribous are only curious about that creature with a big eye - telelens - and are not frightened. They looked at me for some time before walking away."

- Dr. Volker Schenk (2016)
Bergham, Germany

 

 

"Thank you so much for taking care of our family during our stay in Kuujjuaq! We are so glad to know that there's such a place we never imagine that exist on the same earth... full of beauty of nature, creatures and spirit. Mosquito was not a big issue now, I feel. I don't know how we forget tough things very easily...:) Both Ned & I found you have such a sweet and big heart to support their environment and community and we are more than happy to help! We met lots of kids there in Kuujjuaq and they were very friendly. Some kids asked me how I liked Kujjuuaq and I answered them that they were lucky because they have such a beautiful land.  They listened to me very curiously and quietly. I sometimes think of them and try to find out the things we can do from here to support the community. They should have a bright future just like they used to once upon a time... We miss you and please tell our best regards to Mariela and Allen!"

- Ned & Yuki Shimizu (2016)
Houston, TX, USA

 

 

"Hi there Tom - Thank you so much for your wise guidance on our caribou shoot!   The crew was very happy with the professionalism of your team and we achieved our goal:  the footage looks amazing!  I know capturing the caribou is a bit of a crap shoot but your diligence paid off.  Many thanks!!"

- Jennifer Scott / Director
Sesqui (2016) / Toronto, ON

 

 

Polar Bears & Musk-oxen wildlife expedition to Ungava Bay in Nunavik,
August 15-20th, 2016 with Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures

"Thought I would post a quick review of this trip. We flew to Kuujjuaq and after that to Tasiujaq and we come back by boat to Kuujjuaq. We spent 5 nights in the camp. The camp was very comfortable. Each client had his own huge clean tent, and the food exceeded expectations. Every day we were on the boat looking for wildlife and landscape. The landscape was amazing. We saw icebergs, wild tundra, and scenic mountains. About the wildlife: We saw a mother bear and cubs, seals and many musk-oxen. I remember it was almost at the end of the trip and I was sitting next to Captain James of the boat and he told me ” It is your lucky day.” At that moment I understood that he saw the polar bear. It was very exciting to see them in the water. We hiked a few times to see the musk-oxen. It was nice to see them peaceful in the wild. It was a very good experience in the wilderness. Nobody was around us and it was VERY peaceful. The weather was perfect and no bugs. The expedition staff (Murray, James, Mariela) were excellent and very attentive. The atmosphere was warm. There were so many opportunities to chat with them and to ask questions. It was very interesting to learn more about the Inuit people. In summary, I would highly recommend this expedition: It was a fantastic "taste" of Nunavik."

- Mario Girard (2016)
Quincy, MA, USA

 

 

"This summer I returned to Nunavik, where last year I enjoyed two back-to-back “muskox, autumn colors, and aurora” trips with Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures (GCWA). This time I went for the “summer caribou migration” trip doing, as before, two back-to-back trips. As a professional wildlife cinematographer, my goal was to get footage of the migration so being on location for as long as possible is important. But also as a professional wildlife image-maker, my goal is  to be in the wilderness, to experience the sense of place, and to ensure that my footage represents the truly wild.

Twenty years of being in this business has brought major changes, not the least of which is photography being done with captive models, which result in close-up images of “wildlife.” I’ve witnessed how photographers now often expect “wildlife” to be in a place right on schedule, up close, and available “on-demand.” For me, a big part of being a wildlife cinematographer is having the opportunity to be in a wild landscape exploring all of its nuances. While my business focuses on “getting the shot,” my spirit requires the wilderness to recharge & reconnect.  GCWA trips fit the ticket on both counts, which is why I’ve returned, and will continue to do so.

Inuit canoe expeditions upriver or hikes across the spectacular glaciated landscape with our guides brought us into breathtaking scenery. We viewed black bears, muskox, peregrine falcons, and wolves. Tundra flowers and berries, aurora dancing in the night skies, and dining on freshly caught Arctic char immersed us in this timeless panorama. As a cinematographer, and someone who needs wilderness to restore my soul, all of that makes up the story of being on one of these trips. Having a comfortable camp, with good food and camaraderie makes it even more special.

Changing climates affect wildlife everywhere; Nunavik is no exception. Wildlife runs on its own schedule; Nature is in charge! Tundra Tom, with his Inuit colleagues, ensures that guests, based on historical movements of animals, are at the right place, at the right time to experience the wildlife on a given trip. Of course, Nature doesn’t always run as we expect and timing might be a bit off. But, that is wilderness. That is true wildlife. That is what being a wildlife professional is all about: working with the best outfit that knows the area & animals, maximizing your time on location (which is why I always do back-to-back trips), and knowing that, even though I may not get that “money shot,” I’ll have had a fantastic wilderness experience where my spirit reconnects to the natural world.

Thankfully, Tundra Tom and GCWA know the right places, the right timing, and have the right operation to be in the right place not only for that experience, but also to get the money shot! The caribou migration was no exception: we could see the tracks worn into the rocky hillsides and across the tundra where caribou hooves have etched their mark into the landscape from ages of migrating on these very paths. When the caribou arrived, cresting the hills above camp, flowing down the slopes towards their river crossings, we were waiting. For two days, we watched, photographed, filmed – and just enjoyed – the natural wild beauty of this endless cycle as throng after throng of caribou passed by us. I’m already planning my next trips with GCWA!"

- Beth Davidow - Cinematographer
Beth Davidow WorldWild Productions
Prescott, AZ

 

 

"This year 2016 I joined GCWA as a guide and enjoyed the opportunity to share the “North” with clients.  I have seen some amazing wildlife this summer, Tundra Wolves, Caribou, Black and Polar Bear, Seals and Musk Ox! Have also seen the huge tidal flows of Ungava Bay and enjoyed huge displays of Northern Lights. One of the key highlights for me has been showing people that the Tundra isn’t just about wildlife! This part of the world with huge extremes in climate has expansive views, clean water, plants that cope with the challenging environment  and ever changing vistas and moods. It was great to see people slow down, enjoy the little things (blueberry picking as an example), and develop their own bond as they started to understand more of what makes the Arctic special."

- Murray Douglas (2016)
Whangarei, New Zealand

 

 

 

A list of our most notable accomplishments

Our field ethics

where we are and how to get to us

Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures

Click here to download our current trip calendar in PDF

 

Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures, Inc. is proud to be affiliated with:









Come warm yourself by our fire.
Great Canadian Wildlife Adventures

Phone: +608-370-5071
Email: tundra@thelon.com
Request More Information