by Allison Reimer
Instead of “bring your kid to work day” we had one of our guides bring his parents in for a week of arctic life experience.
It didn’t matter what Andy (the guide) had told his parents (Al and Sherron) about his work experiences at Churchill Wild. It couldn’t possibly have readied them for what they were about to encounter. Hearing stories and looking at trip photos is nothing like experiencing the wonders of the arctic in real life.
Conversing with Andy’s mom Sherron in the lounge at Seal River Heritage Lodge, just to get her take on the overall Churchill Wild experience, she didn’t have too much to say, but when we parted company an hour later I got the feeling that what we are doing here is a truly wondrous thing.
“Paradise in the Wild,” Sherron dubbed us, adding that she was thrilled to see “a true family-operated business that shares the wonders of the Hudson Bay.”
I think what really made Al and Sherron’s stay so terrific though, were the people. Yes, they had an amazing time swimming with beluga whales and viewing polar bears, including one that even tried testing the strength of our fence despite getting yelled at, but there was never a thought towards being unsafe. No, what really made the trip special was the fact that all the guests became like one big family during their visit.
The way the guests bonded became the cherry on top of their arctic adventure sundae. With such a a wide variety of age and ethnicity, you might have expected something less, but everyone had come for one or two reasons – to see polar bears and swim with beluga whales, or to have a new travel experience unique in its own.
“I immediately felt welcome when I arrived and the time went far too quickly,” said Sherron. “The world doesn’t intrude here. No cars, no trains, and the only planes we saw were the ones that delivered us and the ones that took us home.”
From what Sherron said, and from what I gathered from everyone else in the group, it was a trip full of memories; of hearts speeding up with excitement; and of comfortable relaxation between the day to day adventures.
The group saw hundreds of whales when they went out on to the water, and the curious creatures just kept coming towards them for the full 45 minutes that Sherron and the other guests were swimming with them.
And nobody seemed to mind that almost every dinner time was interrupted by a polar bear showing up to check out the smells, which also resulted in dessert being constantly postponed. And our new open kitchen at Seal River Heritage Lodge was a huge hit!
It was a fun week that the group promised never to forget. We certainly won’t forget them… and their warm and wonderful personalities!