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Posts Tagged ‘Dave Schellenberg’

Hauling Jeanne’s new gourmet kitchen through polar bear country and across the sea ice to Seal River Lodge

by Mike Reimer

Arctic sunshine on Hudson Bay

Sunshine in polar bear country!

Well folks, once again man pitted his slightly aging wits against the elements of Hudson Bay and survived. Thank goodness we were blessed with exceptionally good weather and sea ice conditions that were perfect for transporting materials to the lodges from Churchill.

Jeanne’s gourmet kitchen equipment and cupboards had been shipped from Winnipeg to Churchill by train a month prior and now all that remained was the “simple” task of getting them over the rugged Hudson Bay ice to the polar bear lodge.

All of our winter hauls involve a high level of adventure including high tide overflow, jumbled pack ice on Hudson Bay, raging blizzards, wind chills down to -50 degrees, marauding polar bears, frozen limbs, broken equipment and workers that actually wanted to eat more than once a day.

I think we could sell this as an “Extreme Adventure” to polar bear land or maybe do one of those reality TV shows! Fortunately other than some long, hard days in the saddle, the “extreme conditions” gave us a break this year and almost everything went off without a hitch.

A welcome fire on the sea ice

A welcome fire on a frigid day!

The Hauling Team consisted of Mike Reimer, Dave Schellenberg, Fraser Issac and Steve Toews, ably supported by Doug Webber as chief cook and bottle washer. Due to the relatively light load (7000 kgs) we elected to transport everything via snowmobile and komatik rather than firing up the old D6 Cat we normally use.

Freighting went well, weather was brilliant and all pieces arrived safe and sound after a two day adventure. Once the hauling was done the real worked commenced, that being the business of collecting our supply of firewood.

Visitors to our polar bear lodges will quickly see that this in itself is quite a feat, as there is hardly a stick in sight! Luckily, travel and exploration inland by snowmobile usually yields some pretty good stands of dead timber for burning, some of it over 300 years old!

Fraser and Steve had a tough time keeping up with the old guys and probably won’t care to see a wood haul for a bit, at least not until next year.

 

Churchill polar bear trip, 5-Star hospitality, result in glowing testimonial from Canadian Tourism Commission for Churchill Wild

Churchill Polar Bear cub outside the Lodge

Churchill Polar Bear cub outside Seal River Lodge

Steve Allan, Chairman of the Board of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), his wife Marjie, and five members of the CTC had a chance to experience the hospitality of  Churchill Wild, Mike and Jeanne Reimer and the Webber Family when the Olympic Torch made its way through Churchill, Manitoba on the weekend of November 6-9, 2009.

Not only were the Commission Members treated to a gourmet meal at the the Webber’s home in Churchill, they also flew to Seal River Heritage Lodge to see the polar bears, one of which happened to greet their party as they departed their plane.

The Webber family and Churchill Wild thoroughly enjoyed having their CTC guests, especially on Olympic Torch Weekend!

And as you can see from the thank-you letter below, the CTC members also had a fabulous time!

Thank You! Please visit again soon!

Canadian-Tourism-Commission-Footer

Dear Jeannie, Mike, Helen and Dave:

On behalf of my wife, Marjie, and the other five members of the Canadian Tourism Commission team, I want to thank all of you for the truly amazing experience we enjoyed in Churchill at Webber’s Bed and Breakfast and at the Seal River Lodge on November 6 through 9, 2009.

Firstly, our stay at Webber’s Bed and Breakfast was wonderful. I am sure we had the most comfortable lodging in all of Churchill and there is no doubt we had the most outstanding meals of anywhere in Churchill. Helen and Dave, the caribou dinner on Saturday night was absolutely spectacular. Marjie has been carefully studying her new cookbooks ever since we arrived home and I am looking forward to sampling more of Helen’s recipes.

Dave, I am so happy you talked us into flying over to Seal River Lodge on Sunday. The flight over was very cool and it is always an experience to be able to fly at 200 feet, to view wildlife, rivers and the environment.

To climb off the airplane and see a curious polar bear coming to investigate about 100 yards away was initially a bit unnerving, but given the knowledge and attention to safety of everyone at Seal River, we all quickly relaxed.

We really appreciated the wonderful lunch and hospitality and were very impressed with the physical facility you have developed at Seal River over the years.

All of us were impressed with the warmth, friendliness and professionalism of all of the staff at the lodge.

Then the fog rolled in.

We’ve all experienced flight delays from fog or other conditions but I can’t imagine a better place to be fogged in than at Seal River.

The welcoming spirit, warmth and hospitality of you and all the staff really came to the fore. You could not have done more for us. When you produced eight toothbrushes and contact lens solution, that was the crowning touch.

To be able to see polar bears eyeball to eyeball at the lodge was an amazing experience I will never forget. You will recall one bear sniffing around the front door on Sunday evening and looking in the window and a second bear making a similar house call on Monday morning.

Seeing those polar bears from that perspective is an experience that very few people can claim to have had.

I was also struck by the beauty of the landscape. The incredible sunrise over Hudson Bay was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever witnessed. The different shades of light on the water, ice and snow were spectacular.

It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to meet each one of you and I hope that our paths will cross again in the future. Congratulations for the great job you are doing for Northern tourism. You offer a very special product that would be difficult to duplicate anywhere in the world.

Best regards to all and please keep in touch.

Yours very truly,

Steve Allan

Chairman of the Board

Canadian Tourism Commission


To learn more about Churchill polar bear viewing trips and our new 2010 polar bear photo safari please visit the main Churchill Wild Web site at http://www.ChurchillWild.com