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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear trips’

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.

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

Polar Bears at Churchill Wild’s Dymond Lake Eco-Lodge

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Polar Bear Adventure in Churchill Canada – Part 2

GeorgieJet, from the popular travel website “JohnnyJet.com“, came up to the Seal River Heritage Lodge this summer to experience Churchill Wild’s “Birds, Bears & Belugas“, a one-of-a-kind Arctic summer adventure.

beluga swim

Swimming with Beluga Whales @ Seal River Heritage Lodge

Her first account of the adventure can be found here. Now on to part two!

BBB, as we like to call it, has the best of the best in an Arctic summer experience for wildlife lovers, it is a step beyond the traditional Churchill polar bear tour - beluga whale swims, incredible scenery, incredible Arctic cuisine, approximately 250 species of birds and Churchill Wild’s trademark polar bear hikes. It’s all on the ground, up close and personal with the world’s largest carnivore and environmental poster child.

Here’s part of what she had to say about the food at Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge:

Most of the recipes come from the array of cookbooks written by Jeanne’s mother, but the creative chefs come up with their own as well. Breakfast included homemade granola, a hot cereal call Red River, yogurts, and fresh fruit. There were also homemade muffins, breads, egg dishes – like frittatas or egg blossoms, and bacon. The coffee is strong and delicious. The chefs (usually related to the Webbers/Reimers in some way, or friends of the family) cook in the open and the dining room completely surrounded by windows. The panoramic views really make you feel you are on top of the world and make wildlife spotting easy and there is a telescope and a deck accessible here.

Here’s part of what she had to say about swimming in the Hudson Bay with beluga whales:

Kayaking was a cool experience, because there were no bugs and the Belugas came quite close to us. At one moment, I felt like I was accompanied by many of them. Listening to their constant and highly physical breathing above the water was calming, like a meditation.

:::

…the dry suit was cumbersome to put on and take off because I was sharing it, so I was a bit grumpy… until it was my turn to get into the water! The water was not at all cold (dry suit) and I opted not to wear the wetsuit hood. I had a snorkel and mask and was being “trolled” by my feet, face down on a 15 foot tether. An awkward position, but perfect for attracting the whales.

I did not get close enough to see the Belugas, as others did, but I heard them! It was absolutely magical! Their sounds are really incredible and I felt like I was on another planet surrounded by hundreds of welcoming, sentient beings talking to me in another language. I did not understand what they were saying, but I could FEEL their curiosity and their acceptance and love! I think the human group was disappointed that I did not see the Belugas underwater or get a picture of them, but I was completely satisfied. I would do it again in a minute, if I had the chance. It was undeniably another life changing moment within my 6 days at Seal River Lodge! As a travel writer, I have had hundreds of amazing experiences, but this is rated amongst my top five!

Make sure you go past the JohnnyJet website and read the whole thing. Georgette – thanks for coming up and sharing your experience!

Incredible Northern Lights at Seal River Heritage Lodge for Churchill Wild’s Arctic Safari

World renowned professional photographer Charles Glatzer is at Seal River Heritage Lodge right now sampling Churchill Wild’s first ever Arctic Safari. Charles circulated this picture to some friends, as well as Churchill Wild staff & guests:

Charles Glatzer's Northern Lights at Seal River Heritage Lodge (click to enlarge)

You can see more of Charles’ incredible work on his website and blog.

The Arctic Safari is Churchill Wild’s most ambitious adventure. When it was announced last May it immediately sold out!

Fashioned after a traditional African safari, Churchill Wild owner Mike Reimer saw an opportunity to offer Churchill Wild’s own version of “The Big Five” in the arctic. Set against the visually stunning fall colors of early September, the Arctic Safari promises to be an all encompassing encounter with endless photo opportunities and arctic wildlife experiences.

A small window in early September provides the perfect apex to see the widest variety of wildlife and brilliant displays of Aurora Borealis. The Arctic Safari takes you over 20,000 square kilometers of the wildest regions in the Arctic; providing the potential of seeing wolves, caribou, moose, three species of bears (polar, black and grizzly), beluga whales, arctic and colored fox, wolverine, beaver, pine marten and arctic birds.

To find out more about the Arctic Safari or other polar bear watching tours offered by Churchill Wild check out the website. Every adventure offered by Churchill Wild includes the one-of-a-kind access of walking with polar bears, on the ground, up close & personal (and safe).