The Harp Seal Watch
The World's Most Heartwarming Adventure
We are no longer offering this program. Please see the Overview Page for explanation.
Location of AdventureMagdalen Islands, Quebec, Canada
Group Size LimitApproximately 15 Travelers
A very important feature of our guided adventure to see harp seal herds in their natural habitat is the limited group size as nature expeditions are best experienced with smaller sized groups of travelers.
Our Specialized 4x4 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers
Our Private Leaders
IncludedR/T flights between Quebec City and the Magdalen Islands, accommodations, meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day, bottled water, services of NHA Expedition Leaders, local guides and lodge staff, some gratuities, airport transfers on Day 1 and final day, one helicopter trip to the seals, slide shows, lectures and presentations by authorities on seals and wildlife, guided outdoor activities (snowshoeing, nature hikes), dogsledding excursion (if available), trips to local artisans’ shops and studios in the Magdalen Islands, use of expedition suits and warm boots for ice trips and all equipment for outdoor activities, permits and entrance fees, all taxes.
Not IncludedTravel to and from start and end point of trip (Quebec City), alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
Physical RequirementsEasy / Flexible
Trips to the ice require very little physical exertion although the weather can be cold and the ice can be slippery, rough and uneven. Other activities such as hiking and snowshoeing are optional but included for those who desire.
Important Information About This TripEach season - indeed, every day - our visits to the ice are different. Our journey to the seal herds may take anywhere from five minutes to one hour, providing wonderful views of the frozen Gulf of St. Lawrence from the air. We normally land amongst hundreds of seals, or, if ice conditions are poor, there may just be several individuals. When we approach the seals some may scurry away and others may bark at us like little puppy dogs. But others, still, may allow us to approach them carefully. Research has shown that this does not harm the animals and it is surely one of life’s greatest thrills! One helicopter flight is included in this program. Additional flights may be purchased directly on site. From the hotel, there are usually three scheduled flights to the ice per day; each is given a three-hour window. On inclement days, or if ice conditions require, groups may stay out on the ice for less time. Of course, all schedules depend on weather and equipment conditions as well as our (and other) travelers’ abilities and desires; if it is too cold, we may return early. Any additional flights booked on site will be scheduled in the order they were booked. Please note: Any time our helicopters depart from the landing pad en route to the seal herds, it may be counted as a “flight” whether we are able to locate the seals or not (in 25 years, we have a 90%-plus success rate, so this is rarely a factor). Should poor weather or ice conditions preclude our travelers from taking their scheduled helicopter flights, refunds will be made for the cost of any additional helicopter trips that have been purchased on site (this applies to all flights AFTER the first one). Safety for our travelers, and for the seals, is our main concern. To this end, we provide an extensive safety presentation and our pilots, guides and helicopters will remain with you during your entire stay on the ice. While quick evacuation from the ice is rare, our many years of running seal-watching trips and flying helicopters in the northern environs (we’ve been working on Seal Watch since the 80’s) has shown us that it can happen. We simply will not compromise safety! Due to unpredictable weather conditions, the remote location of this adventure, and the limited services available during this time of year, additional activities such as snowshoeing cannot be guaranteed.
When preparing for our Seal Watch season, we monitor the ice conditions in the Gulf throughout the winter. As we get closer to the departure date, we will make a determination on whether or not we feel the ice will be suitable to run for that season. Since ice can form in just a matter of days, we may not make that decision until just a few days prior to your trip. Please keep in mind that this “true adventure” requires travelers’ flexibility and understanding as we face a number of natural variables and unique challenges in our efforts to provide a safe, successful seal watching experience.