The Arctic is one of the most remote and fascinating regions of the world, and an area that has only ever been accessible to the privileged few. Sail into spectacular fjords surrounded by towering mountains and glaciers illuminated by the 24-hour sun; photograph walrus and polar bear; use Zodiac to discover historic sites of polar exploration and call at lands rarely visited before.
The Arctic is not an actual land mass -- its a partially frozen ocean. The area along the ice edge expands and contracts with the changing seasons. Everyone's first impression of the Arctic is that it is a cold, lifeless and empty place...an icy desert. However, it has a wealth of biological detail and is rich in wildlife and flora. The Arctic Circle is located at 66"32' N. Arctic climate, even in the warmest months, does not exceed 50 F. The coldest place in the Arctic is not at the North Pole, but in Siberia.
The people native to the coastal regions of Labrador, Greenland, The Northwest Territories, Alaska and Siberia, have many cultural traits in common. The word "Eskimo" comes from eskipot, an Algonquian word meaning "an eater of raw flesh." Another widely used term is "Inuit" which really refers specifically to the Eskimos of the eastern Canadian Arctic. In the Bering Sea region, Eskimos prefer to be called "Yup'ik," while the North Slope Alaska Eskimos prefer "Inupiat". Each have different languages and dialects. Below is an outline of the cultural history.
Avoid Disturbing Wildlife and Their Habitats
One of the most popular activities for travelers is viewing wildlife. But life in the North is harsh. The brief summer is the only time animals and plants have to reproduce and prepare for the long winter. Consequently, they have few energy reserves to waste on recovery from human impact.
Respect Archaeological and Historical Remains
Many of the areas we visit have been occupied for millennia by people. They have left many signs of their passing and sites of previous occupation are often easily accessible and unprotected.
Respect Local Peoples'
Tourists are guests in other peoples' countries. Treat locals as you wish to be treated in your home. Gifts and barter items can be a wonderful means of appreciation and payment; they can also be patronizing and overbearing if selected or offered poorly. Useful or beautiful items are generally best, especially if they represent the crafts of your region. Ask before you take photographs of people, their dwellings, or an activity. Avoid giving gifts like candy or pencils to individual children. Do not buy ivory, whalebone and sealskin products in foreign countries. Transporting marine mammal parts or products across international boundaries is illegal.