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Posts Tagged ‘adventure vacation’

New Zealand couple wins trip to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge

by +George Williams

Photos courtesy of Bob and Lynne Croy

Churchill Wild is proud to announce that the winners of the Great Ice Bear Adventure 20th Anniversary Contest and a trip for two to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge are Bob and Lynne Croy of Wakefield, New Zealand.

Congratulations Bob and Lynne! We look forward to seeing you again soon!

Great Ice Bear Anniversary Contest winners Bob and Lynne Croy at Dymond Lake Lodge.

Great Ice Bear Anniversary Contest winners Bob and Lynne Croy at Dymond Lake Lodge.

Extensive travelers since retiring eight years ago after 31 years of operating a service station, the couple had already been on safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar and South Africa before traveling to Canada for the Great Ice Bear Adventure last November with Churchill Wild.

“We had dreamed about the Great Ice Bear Adventure for so long,” said Lynne. “And it turned out to be an amazing trip.”

“We had actually sent an inquiry to Mike Reimer at Churchill Wild many years ago and we were going to go but we had some issues at the station and couldn’t make it work,” said Bob. “We kept that letter all this time and showed it to Nolan (Director of Lodge Operations at Churchill Wild) when we arrived at Dymond Lake.”

The couple turned their Great Ice Bear Adventure into a month-long Canadian vacation, beginning with a flight from New Zealand to Vancouver. They then went to Victoria for a few days before flying to Winnipeg and on to Churchill, where they boarded their flight to Dymond Lake Lodge on a cold Canadian November day.

The polar bears soon warmed them up.

First polar bear on Great Ice Bear Adventure, Dymond Lake Lodge, Manitoba, Canada.

First polar bear at Dymond Lake!

“It’s generally 25 degrees or better where we are,” said Lynne. “My husband always wears shorts, and I had never worn ski pants, but we were well prepared, even when it got to 37 below. We had our Merino Wool layers, ski pants and jackets and we were out to see a polar bear on our very first day at the Lodge.”

“It was very special to get so close to such a large animal in the wild,” continued Lynne. “We were surprised at how big they were! We spent a lot of time photographing that first polar bear. It was a wonderful experience.”

“There were quite a few white foxes about too,” said Bob. “One day, while out walking, we came upon a sleeping bear, and two Arctic foxes ran out and startled him. The bear jumped up quickly and that was quite a sight from up close! But we always felt safe when out walking. The guides were extremely professional.”

Arctic foxes getting ready to wake up a sleeping giant polar bear at Dymond Lake.

Arctic foxes getting ready to wake up a sleeping giant.

The couple and their fellow travelers on the Great Ice Bear Adventure also enjoyed a beautiful evening of aurora borealis displays while at the Lodge.

“We had a lovely mix of people with us,” said Lynne. “A fabulous group, we’re still exchanging photos and videos from the trip. And the food was amazing. We bought their Blueberries and Polar Bears Cookbook and fully intend to use it.”

And their trip wasn’t over when they flew back to Churchill from the Lodge. The Croys also spent two days on the Tundra Buggies and then added in a dogsledding adventure. “Doreen (Adventure Specialist at Churchill Wild) arranged that for us,” said Lynn. “She was very helpful and it was a lot of fun!”

Polar bears at Dymond Lake Lodge.

You know I can still see you, right?

Continuing on with adventurous nature of their trip, the Croys took the train from Churchill to Winnipeg instead of flying, and were blanketed by a fresh snowfall that made for “picture perfect scenery the whole way.” They then took the scenic train ride from Winnipeg to Jasper to Vancouver before heading home.

The Croys can now add polar bears, Arctic and red foxes to the host of wildlife they’ve been up close and personal with, a list which also includes lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, rhinos, wildebeest, zebra and more. Next on their agenda is a trip back to Tanzania this spring to see the young animals in the wild.

The Croys are planning their trip to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge for 2015, and there’s a very good chance they’ll be able to add polar bear mothers and cubs, black bears, wolves, a myriad of birds and possibly even moose and caribou to their growing list of wildlife sightings. This time they say they’d like to see the fall colours of Nova Scotia before they head up to the Lodge at Nanuk, which will have even more upgrades by the time they get there.

Polar bear leisure activities.

Polar bear leisure activities.

“We really wanted to see the mothers and cubs,” said Lynne. “But we never thought we’d get back there. When we got home my husband turned on the computer and said you’d better come and look at this. It was an email saying we won the trip to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. We were thrilled!”

“Let’s just say it got a little noisy in the house,” said Bob.

Curious black bear at Nanuck Polar Bear Lodge.

This curious black bear popped up in front of Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge last fall while we were returning from a day trip and was snapped by numerous guests. If you would like more information and photos on the Mothers & Cubs trip the Croys won, click the bear :) This photo courtesy of Robert Postma.

Black and White Adventure Offers Canadian Wildlife In Living Colour

Black and White Adventure - Black bears, Polar Bears, Killer Whales and Beluga Whales

Black and White Adventure

Presented by Canada’s Churchill Wild and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

For the very  first time, wildlife adventurers and photographers will have the opportunity to get up close and personal to Canadian black bears and polar bears, humpback whales and beluga whales, during a spectacular summer trip in 2011.

The Black & White Adventure has been created by two of Canada’s top wilderness resort operators, Churchill Wild and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort.  Both specialize in wildly incredible nature holidays with top notch amenities, and discovered that once guests experienced one species of bear and whales, they crave the opportunity to view, photograph and learn more about other species. The only package in the world to offer this intense wilderness combination, this adventure takes guests from the UNESCO protected biosphere reserve and rainforests of Clayoquot Sound to the rich and vibrant northern wilderness of Churchill Manitoba’s Hudson Bay Coast, with opportunities to stay in Vancouver and Whistler, BC,  in one mind blowing trip.

This photographer’s dream experience is being offered during 13 different dates, July and August 2011, ranging from 10 – 14 nights.  Rates for the package start at CDN$12,795 per person, based on double occupancy. Included are overnight accommodations, meals, guided activities and local transportation including seaplane transfers to/from Vancouver and Clayoquot Wilderness Resort and aerial and ground transfers at Churchill Wild, and ground transfers to Vancouver and Whistler.   Not included are flights to Winnipeg or Vancouver and between Vancouver and Winnipeg.

At Manitoba’s Churchill Wild, (www.churchillwild.com) guests have on the ground and in the bay access to polar bears and beluga whales as well as spectacular northern flora and fauna, and birding during the summer months.  Churchill Wild is the only company on earth that offers fly in eco-lodges in remote Arctic locations that have been strategically built to follow the path of the polar bear during its seasonal migrations. Sensitive to the fragile environment that surrounds the eco-lodges, guests enjoy Arctic luxury accommodations and gourmet meals, with a light environmental touch which is one of the reasons most of the wilderness excursions are done on foot or by boat.

“For 15 years, we’ve specialized in light-footprint, personalized eco-tours into Canada’s North,” said Mike Reimer, co-creator of Churchill Wild. “There’s something pretty awesome about coming face-to-face with a polar bear or nose to nose to a beluga whale for the first time and making that genuine connection with nature. We’re proud to partner with Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, a well-respected and like-minded company to offer such a wide ranging experience that celebrates whales and bears.”

The Canadian eco-safari experiences of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort (www.wildretreat.com)  first began 13 years ago, just off the coast of Vancouver Island near Tofino, BC.  The resort has popularized the term “glamping”  for glamourous camping, with its award winning blend of upscale tent accommodations, with fireplaces and ensuite washrooms, antique furniture matched with Persian carpets, Healing Grounds spa, exceptional dining and adventure opportunities tucked deep within what National Geographic has termed an “upside down rainforest”.

“We have built our business on providing guests with the type of experiences they can not get any where else in the world,” says John Caton, managing director of Clayoquot Wilderness Resort. “When people see their first black bear they are hooked and want to know more, including how they relate to the Polar Bear of our northern areas.  Knowing the quality of experiences offered at Churchill Wild, it was a natural fit to see how we could offer this expanded experience to guests.”

People are encouraged to call either Churchill Wild (1-866-846-9453) or Clayoquot Wilderness Resort ( 1-888-333-5405) and speak to one of the resorts’ travel experts to learn more about the Black & White Adventure package, and arrange for the type of personalized experience that is the specialty of each company.  Additional information may be found at www.wildretreat.com or www.churchillwild.com.