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Polar bears prowling, wolves howling, for new Lodge at Nanuk

Wolf howling at New Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Andy MacPherson photo.

Wolf howling at new Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Andy MacPherson photo.

by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild

What an incredible day! Our two local polar bear guides chose to head west this morning to look for Ursus Maritimus, the great ice bear, and it turned into events beyond anyone’s expectations.

Andy, Albert and the two Rhinos take 15 guests on this adventure every day and it always seems to hold something different. It was slightly overcast this morning and from the windows at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge we could see a couple of bears sleeping on sandbars on the edge of Hudson Bay.

The trek west and across the river was exciting; as there were two polar bears we already knew of that we were going to attempt to approach, and spirits were high!

After a brief visit with one of these giants, the group headed west towards the Cross about 5 km away. They had a brief encounter with a beautiful black wolf near this old landmark, but the wolf did not display much interest in sticking around, so farther west they went.

Another couple of km and the stalk was on, with two sets of mothers and coys (cubs of the year), but this ended before anyone could leave the vehicles. This is a common occurrence this year and we suspect it may have something to do with the incredibly large number of big male and female polar bears that have graced us with their presence for the entire season.

At the peak we were seeing up to 14 different bears a day, and even now we’re seeing six to eight bears on our daily rides and walks.

A few hours into the morning and the wolves, moms and cubs seemed to want to be left alone, so the guides decided to start back towards the Lodge for something hot. Jump forward an hour, the group arrived at the river crossing within minutes of Nanuk and out stepped the black wolf.

Wolf meets polar bear at Nanuk. Andy MacPherson photo.

Wolf meets polar bear at Nanuk. Andy MacPherson photo.

The wolf approached to within metres of one of the lazy bears we talked about earlier. This is a level of tolerance we have not yet seen. An older male polar bear not only co-existing with a wolf, but also standing on the same little piece of island real estate, both enjoying the view of the copper penny roof on our brand new accommodations at the Lodge!

This story could continue on, but the Coles Notes version is that the evening did not end until near midnight, and the day included two polar bear moms and cubs, one black bear mom and cub, wolves on the coast and a dinner wolf at the fence, along with three bears on the runway.

The aurora lit up the sky around 10:30 p.m. and the entire pack of wolves behind the lodge began howling. With just two more days this year at this special and magical place, it made our time under the stars that much more special.

With sunrise came more polar bears lying on the beach, and off our guests went with eyes wide open and hearts full joy, anticipating their next adventurous encounter…

With the great white bears of Nanuk.

Forgot to mention our dinner guest at Nanuk last night!

Forgot to mention our dinner guest at Nanuk last night! Chris West photo.

Best Arctic Safari ever!

Master of his domain.

Master of his domain.

Photos and story by Terry Elliot, Churchill Wild Polar Bear Guide

Today was the final day of our Arctic Safari and I believe that this was the most successful one we’ve had! Everything just fell into place this year, from the weather to the wildlife and the guests.

Pretty in... you pick the colour!

Pretty in… you pick the colour!

I don’t know if I can list all of the wildlife we saw but here we go: wolves, Arctic and red fox, Arctic hares, Gyr and Peregrine falcons, tundra swans, short-eared owl, ptarmigan, least weasel, beluga whales, bald eagles, flocks of sandhill cranes, snow geese, Canada geese, uncountable shore birds and ducks, hundreds of caribou and of course, polar bears!

Caribou cuddles forthcoming.

Caribou cuddles forthcoming.

The fall colours at our caribou camp were at their peak and we’re now seeing the same vibrant palette at Seal River. The Arctic Safari really is my favourite trip and I can hardly wait for next year.

Vibrant fall colours on the tundra.

Vibrant fall colours on the tundra.

We had such great people to share it with… and sparring bears to end it all!

Shy bunny :)

Shy bunny :)

 

Special Exclusive Polar Bear Photo Expedition 2014 — Maximum 6 spots available October 25 to November 2

Be the first to experience one of the greatest wildlife photo opportunities on the planet. Polar bears, polar bears, polar bears!

We live near Nanuk Polar bear Lodge.

We live near Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Endless ground-level photo opportunities within easy walking distance of our new Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge near Cape Tatnum on Hudson Bay.

So far numbers of bears on site in September are incredible, giving every indication that we could well be into our most successful season to date, and confirming that the Lodge is indeed situated in the heart of the best polar bear viewing on earth.

This expedition is geared towards the adventurous intrepid photographer willing to spend hours in the field up close and personal with our Great Ice Bears. Non-stop serious bear encounters will definitely result in a need for supplementary hard drive storage space!

It can’t hurt that wolf sightings and northern lights are a very real possibility as well, perfect for filling out this ultimate polar bear safari.

All inclusive from Winnipeg, Manitoba with five full days of the Arctic’s most exclusive polar bear viewing opportunities, excellent food, and the Hudson Bay’s finest remote accommodations.

At $11,395 CAD, don’t delay booking on this very limited release opportunity. The previous excursion sold out in a week!

Come experience the Cape Tatnum polar bears like no one else can.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call Toll Free:  1 (866) 846-9453 (UGO-WILD) or 1 (204) 878-5090 or email us at info@churchillwild.com.

Go ahead. Take my picture.

Go ahead. Take my picture.

Award-winning National Geographic photographer Jad Davenport to lead first Polar Bear Photo Safari

Polar bears sparring near Seal River Heritage Lodge.

Polar bears sparring near Seal River Heritage Lodge. Bill Lyne photo.

Jad Davenport

Jad Davenport

Churchill Wild is proud to announce that Jad Davenport, an award-winning author, photographer and filmmaker represented by National Geographic Creative, will lead our first Polar Bear Photo Safari of the season at Seal River Heritage Lodge from October 21-27.

Jad specializes in wilderness photography and is one of the pioneers in the field of digital photography. He shot the first digital cover and inside story for National Geographic Adventure magazine in 2004 and his stories, photos, video shorts and blog posts have appeared in leading publications that include Smithsonian, Popular Photography, Sierra, Audubon, Outside, Men’s Journal, Sunset, ISLANDSCoastal Living and The New York Times among others.

A multiple winner of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award and Canada’s Northern Lights Award for travel writing and photography, Jad is a former documentary photographer and filmmaker who covered a dozen wars from Bosnia to Iraq. He is a member of The Explorers Club, and has worked in over 150 countries and on all continents.

Jad has photographed extensively in polar regions, with assignments that have included Greenland, Svalbard, Nunavut, Alaska, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Antarctica, the Falklands and South Georgia. This makes him a perfect fit for the Polar Bear Photo Safari, which takes place in the HEART of polar bear country during prime polar bear season from October 21 to November 20, when the polar bears congregate in large numbers along the coast of Hudson Bay waiting for the Bay to freeze so they can begin their annual seal hunt.

The Polar Bear Photo Safari provides discerning photographers with ground level photo opportunities for Arctic wildlife including polar bears, caribou and Arctic fox, on a backdrop of stunning sea and landscapes. The pristine and remote wilderness location of Seal River Heritage Lodge on the Hudson Bay shoreline is ideal for photographing polar bears on ice and snow. Additionally, there are an exceptional number of clear nights for northern lights photography.

Photographs that truly reflect the beauty of the wildlife and their surroundings…

are taken here.

Polar bear paws while Arctic foxes scamper.

Polar bear paws while Arctic foxes scamper. Lydia Attinger photo.

 

For more information about Jad Davenport please visit: www.JadDavenport.com

Arctic Safari begins at Seal River

Blueberry Bears! Mandy Wallmann photo.

Blueberry Bears! Mandy Wallmann photo.

by Mandy Wallmann

The Arctic Safari has begun at Seal River!!

Autumn is definitely in the air. Clouds of Snow Geese seem to magically disappear and reappear suddenly, flashing white in the sun with each turn on the north winds. And with each new frost, the tundra is slowly changing into its stunning variety of fall colours.

Rebecca and Kayla and Cranberries!

Rebecca, Kayla and Cranberries! Marie Woolsey photo.

The polar bears have been plentiful and curious about the happenings at the Lodge. Mork has returned after having clearly spent the last few weeks rolling in blueberry patches. Finally today, another bear — a new bear — joined him, and they lazed away their day tumbling across the tundra together.

We’ve also been seeing more and more foxes around the Lodge. In the last two days we’ve seen one Arctic fox and two Reds!

Our first group of Arctic Safari guests have settled into Churchill Wild’s Caribou camp at Schmok Lake for a couple of nights and the weather was just perfect for them today!

The staff have taken the opportunity to work on projects around the camp, like cranberry picking. If you haven’t already heard, 2014 has been a banner year for berry yields. Today five of us picked 82 cups of cranberries in one hour! That’s a lot of Helen and Marie’s famous Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce, folks.

And that’s a good thing!

Wild Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce. Yes, it's Yummy!

Wild Cranberry Cake with Butter Sauce. Yes, it’s Yummy!