The son of a famed mountaineer who claimed the first ascents throughout the Arctic, Richard Weber, is one of the most travelled polar explorers on the planet. He was the first man to trek to the North Pole six times, including unsupported treks that have never been equalled. His wife Josee has also led numerous expeditions, and their sons Tessum and Nansen continue the family legacy with their own polar achievements, including Tessum’s speed record to the North Pole and Nansen’s renowned wildlife photography. In 2000, the Weber family purchased a defunct whale-watching operation on Nunavut’s Somerset Island, recognizing its unique location to encounter the belugas, as well as muskox, polar bears, wolves, narwhal, Arctic fox, hare, and other wildlife on a treeless island about the size of Belgium. In addition to the belugas, guests fly in to hike, fish, ATV, snorkel, kayak, paddle board, picnic, mountain bike, and discover ancient human settlements in this vast northern wilderness. Arctic Watch offers the comfort of hot showers, flush toilets, thick duvets, gourmet food, knowledgeable guides, and unlimited Arctic adventure.
“BBC’s Frozen Planet really put us on the map,” Tessum Weber tells me from his family’s permanent home in Vernon, B.C. “It put the Arctic’s open spaces front and centre. Suddenly people were curious about the top of the world.” Initially, clients arrived for the annual beluga migration featured in the show, but that quickly evolved to encompass more wildlife encounters, cultural history, and unique, custom-built experiences. The Webers have guided guests to evidence of 4,000-year-old human settlements and ancient whale bones poking out of the permafrost. One guest snorkelled with a narwhal, a group biked along channels in the ice floe, and another visited a 43-million-year-old mummified forest. Who doesn’t crave small group adventure, safety and comfort in the last great wilderness on Earth?