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Posts Tagged ‘Manitoba’

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.

Polar bear fight on Hudson Bay puts kink in plans at Seal River Lodge (in a good way!)

Polar bear pounces on rivals in Hudson Bay.

Polar bear pounces on rivals in Hudson Bay.

by Andy MacPherson, Polar Bear Guide

The winds blowing from the northeast put a small kink in our planned activities for the morning, but three restless polar bears stirring on One Bear Point certainly provided enough distraction to keep everyone’s mind off the weather.

And the change of plans paid off in photo opportunities!

After breakfast I went out to see if our neighbours had begun to move, but I was too late. They had already ventured 100 meters into the water and were fully engaged in a three-way brouhaha! We spread the word to the guests that departure time was moved up and all came surging out of the Lodge to watch the melee from ringside seats. Front row!

The bears were already swinging for the cheap seats and leaping off the turnbuckles as we settled in for the show. Sucker punches were definitely part of the action and an ongoing hushed commentary could be heard from the guests.

Mork, a resident bear, was chewing on Bob’s neck, while Nanu Nanu circled looking for a weakness before submarining and emerging to pounce and dunk whichever rival was within his reach. The show and the combatants never seemed to slow down.  Moving back and forth in front of us in the water, the bears used every tactical advantage the terrain provided, especially boulders. To climb on, hide behind and leap from.

Amazing!

Ouch! Just kidding. Love bite.

Ouch!!! Just kidding. Love bite.

What were we going to do for an encore? How about a Beluga trip?

Low and behold the wind dropped and the sea calmed as we finished our lunch. The decision was made to try a dropping-tide Beluga trip on the spur of the moment, and everyone rushed to catch the high water before it was too late to launch the Zodiacs. The weather and whales cooperated and everyone was excited to have another opportunity to commune with the whales, both from the surface and in the water.

We ended the perfect day with a glass of wine before bed, and the promise of Northern Lights still to come.

Fingers crossed.

A perfect day  for polar bears.

A perfect day for polar bears…

Polar bear outsmarts wolf, or…

Come closer. I won't eat you. I promise.

Come closer. I won’t eat you. I promise.

by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild

Wow, did we have a great breakfast encounter!

Our group of tuckered out carpenters had a little extra sleep, and our 9 a.m. Sunday breakfast was well deserved after many long hours of hard work on the new guest accommodations at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

The sun was shining and there was a light breeze from the east at 9:20 a.m. when Shelby spotted a young polar bear through the scope. The bear was wandering westward down the coast at a fair pace and following the tide line.

At the same time, Mike Sigurdsson noticed a nice black wolf wandering on a sandbar moving eastward towards the Lodge. Someone at the table said, “I wonder what will happen if they meet?”

We found out!

The wolf spotted the bear first and immediately turned and ran 100 metres in the opposite direction. He then stopped for a look. The bear continued to wander west, getting closer by the minute. Then the wolf decided to try a different tactic and bolted straight towards the young stocky white bear.

To everyone’s surprise the polar bear darted and ran straight north into the depths of Hudson Bay. The last we saw of the bear was a swimming white bum heading north.

We decided that one of two things must have happened. First, bears are believed to have a great memory, and this one may have had a previous run-in with a pack of wolves. Second, this bear may have known something we didn’t. The rest of the pack may have been hiding in the willows ready to back up their leader.

Polar bears live in an unforgiving environment and even a small injury could lead to an untimely death, so it’s possible the bear just decided that running (and swimming) away were the safest actions at the time.

He was fat and very healthy after a long winter of eating seals, and a meal at this time of year was not high on the priority list, especially not a wolf…

with an ambush in the waiting.

Whose afraid of the big bad wolf?

No thanks, I’m a little smarter than that.

 

Sunset cruise for Belugas on Hudson Bay

Evening cruise to see Belugas on Hudson Bay

Evening cruise to see Belugas on Hudson Bay

by Andy MacPherson, Polar Bear Guide

The wind had died down. The only traces of today’s earlier gale were the smooth glass swells slipping beneath us as we cruised towards the Seal River.

Just 30 minutes earlier we were sitting down to fresh baked apple pie and homemade vanilla ice cream. Now we were on our way to see what the evening had in store for us.

The mouth of the Seal was calm. The Port of Churchill peaked over the horizon to the Southeast and the sound of the rapids reached out to us, waiting patiently for the whales to show themselves.

We weren’t disappointed.

As soon as the hydrophone was in the water we were regaled by the sounds of an orchestra tuning up to perform a symphony. Just for us!

Squeaks, groans, whistles and click trains… Belugas have been known to produce over 1200 different sounds and can even mimic human speech. Amazing! We were serenaded into the evening as the sun began to set. Whales circled our boats, surfacing as they came closer to investigate their own voices projected back to them from the speakers on the hydrophones.

Unfortunately we had to leave the show early, as we needed to make our way back to Seal River Lodge before the fire in the sky began to dip below the horizon.

A fine ending to a spectacular day.

Sunset at Seal River

Sunset at Seal River