BIRDS, BEARS & BELUGAS ADVENTURE
8 DAYS, 7 NIGHTS
Seal River Heritage Lodge
Seal River Heritage Lodge, located 60 beautiful kilometers by air from Churchill, Manitoba, will be your home away from home for this exciting week. Known as the Polar Bear and Beluga Whale Capital of the World, this area is also the best place to see large congregations of beluga whales as thousands of them calve in the protection of the Hudson Bay each summer. Both bears and whales, along with the thousands of birds, will be in your backyard-literally. Seem a lofty claim? See for yourself at a e-gallery as created by one of our guests in 2006: http://maldon.smugmug.com/gallery/2312064. Please note we have added a whole new dining room area since these pictures were taken.
Arrive into Winnipeg where you will enjoy a relaxing stay at our choice hotel –the Inn at the Forks which is located at the historic junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers in the heart of Winnipeg. At 7:00pm a dinner will be held at the hotel where you will meet your group and your adventure specialist. You will need your rest tonight for your early morning departure to Churchill.
Arrive in Churchill by air where one of our expert staff will meet you at the airport and will provide you with instructions of the morning transfers. Your adventure begins with a breathtaking aerial view of the winding Hudson Bay coast enroute to your home for the next 6 days- Seal River Heritage Lodge. Be prepared to see huge pods of whales, countless birds, as well as caribou and of course, the magnificent Ice Bears. The Seal River Estuary is a summer favorite for these goliaths and they are regularly seen swimming or basking near the water’s edge. Upon your arrival, your hosts will provide a tour of the Lodge and get you settled into your room. A thorough orientation on travel in polar bear country will be provided prior to any outings.
After a full-course lunch Churchill Wild-style, you will experience the coast for the first time. The combination of diversity and sheer natural elegance will amaze you. Ensure your camera battery is charged as if you’re like previous Churchill Wild guests, you will be eager to document each and every moment in this extraordinary and rare ecosystem.
Your first day at the Lodge will be rounded out by the first of many full-course meals and a cozy fireplace for evening wind down. Relax, recharge and get a good rest because you have 5 amazing days to go!
In the coming days, your breakfasts will be served at 8:00 a.m. and the tour of the day will typically depart the Lodge at 9:30 a.m. Depending on both weather and group interest, you will enjoy the following activities:
Marine Tours – Tides and weather permitting we will do at least two expeditions by boat to view beluga whales, seals, seabirds, and polar bears. Marine tours are conducted in large, nine-man inflatable boats, fully equipped with two way radios, safety gear, floatation jackets for each passenger, and a hydrophone so that you can listen to the whale songs. Each expedition is a half day in order to coordinate with the high tides. Both refreshments and lunch will be served aboard. Expect to see hundreds of whales per outing! Beluga whales are very curious and social and will investigate our presence with a bold courage expressed by few other creatures. Getting up-close and personal with these awesome creatures has been life-changing for many Churchill Wild guests.
Trekking/Walking Tours – These are a daily part of the program and they range from short jaunts to photograph a passing caribou perhaps, to day trips with a pack lunch. There is no better way to experience the sheer vastness of the Arctic’s flora and fauna. Nesting bird life, fox dens, wild flowers, and caribou are just a few of the sights you may take in. When polar bears are sighted, your guide will advise you about the best way to maintain a safe viewing distance.
Coast by Tundra Tracker – See the Hudson Bay coast on our custom made Tundra Tracker. A day trip in one of these vehicles allows us to cover a lot of shoreline while searching out wildlife. Lunch is a picnic en route. We provide ample time for exploration and photography of the trail.
Whale Swim and exploration by Zodiac – Take to the bay for the ultimate plunge and join the belugas in their watery world. Dry suits will be provided to offset the chill of the Hudson Bay.
Wildlife Photography – Your guides have many years of experience in the field both as photographers themselves and working with professional photographers and can assist in many aspects of wildlife photography both in the composition and the execution of that memorable shot of a lifetime.
Ocean Paddles – We have several sea kayaks and canoes on site for your use at any time. Perfect tranquility with only the sound of your dipping paddle and the “sea canaries” is truly awe-inspiring!
Aurora Watching – Yes, you can enjoy the greatest light show on earth in summer especially in the latter part of our season. The northern skies are a perfect ballroom for the aurora but remember, the aurora are best photographed with a tripod so if you have one, bring it along.
Bird Watching – 150 species of birds visit this area and our expert guides can help you locate and identify a wide variety of these – chances are you will add several “lifers” to your book.
Photo Presentations and Lectures – From lectures on “Travelling in Bear Country” to “Wildlife of the Arctic,” our own northern adventurers will regale you with photos and stories. These conversations provide you the opportunity to learn about the Arctic wildlife, landscape, and people.
Rest and Relaxation – Should you decide that curling up by the fireplace with a good book or enjoying a hot drink and sharing stories with your fellow adventurers is what you need, you can feel free to do that too.
After another hearty Lodge breakfast, we will begin air transfers back to Churchill. Have your cameras ready for the return flight as it affords excellent opportunities for great aerial shots. Today is your last day in the Churchill region.
Upon your return to Churchill, our representative will store your luggage. The balance of the day is then free for browsing the shops and exhibits of Churchill. Local places such as Cape Merry, the Port of Churchill, the Eskimo Museum, the Polar Bear Holding Compound (otherwise known as the Polar Bear Jail), as well as the Parks Canada exhibit are all of great interest. Please refer to your “Top things to do and see” list we provided.
Lunch and dinner are on your own this day. Please refer to the Safari Journal for suggestions.
Your flight south to Winnipeg will take place this evening and we hope to see you back at one of our Eco-Lodges for some more bear viewing very soon! Upon your arrival into Winnipeg, collect your bags, and our awaiting shuttle will drive you to the Inn at the Forks for a restful night.
After a restful sleep you will pack your bags in preparation for your flight home. You will also enjoy a complimentary breakfast at your hotel before your trip back to reality.
If you haven’t had enough bear action for one lifetime, ask about our Great Ice Bear adventure which takes place in October and November annually.