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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear trips’

Polar Bear Capital: Report from Seal River – Birds, Bears & Belugas

by Allison Reimer

Peek-a-boo polar bear

Peek-a-Boo Polar Bear

It’s been a slower week at the Seal River Heritage Lodge because of the cool and cloudy weather but who can control that?

Thankfully the outdoor conditions haven’t deterred our adventurous polar bears, who have been plentiful for the opening week of Birds, Bears & Belugas.

We had a beautiful, big white bear wander by two days ago and last night we had a visit from a smaller bear. He sniffed around the lodge for quite some time and stood up to peer into the windows every once and a while.

Everyone was very excited – rushing from window to window as quietly as possible so as not to scare him off. Eventually he meandered off to get some rest and once the excitement died down we all followed suit.

Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera
Polar Bear Dune Buggy Camera

Our videographer, Stuart, configured two cameras on top of what resembles a mini dune buggy in attempts to get Polar Bear footage at a closer (but safer for him) distance.

The guests are off on a new adventure today – a trip out to explore the tundra flats. We also have a group of travel agents from around the world visiting us for lunch today, courtesy of Travel Manitoba.

Thank You!

New Arctic Safari adventure features Walks with Polar Bears, Caribou Migration Fly-Overs and more…

Arctic Safari

Churchill Wild is proud to announce their most ambitious adventure to date: the Arctic Safari!

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.

The Arctic Safari will explore vast areas of Canada’s last remaining wilderness, from the Arctic “Serengeti” the great tundra plains known as The Barren Lands, through “The Land of Little Sticks” and finally down to the rugged Hudson Bay coastline, home of the Great White Bears.

Walking with polar bears

In the land of the polar bears

The adventure begins in the frontier town of Churchill, Manitoba, Can ada – the Polar Bear Capital of the World – where guests will spend their first night and have time to take in the town sites, shops, historical points of interest, and hopefully snap a few shots.

The next morning guests will board the great Canadian bush plane, the deHaviland Beaver, and wing their way north-west to the finest Arctic Eco-Lodge on the planet, the remote Seal River Heritage Lodge – Churchill Wild’s polar bear viewing Lodge on the Hudson Bay coast.

Upon arrival, guests will meet their hosts, check into their private rooms, prep their camera gear and receive an orientation from the guides before heading out on to the tundra for one of Churchill Wild’s signature polar bear walks!

Caribou on tundra

Caribou surveys his arctic domain

Up close, personal and safe.

During their stay at the remote polar bear lodge, guests will participate in a full-day fly-out to witness the fall caribou migrations on the northern border between Nunavut and Manitoba, from the air and on the ground. The Qamanirjuaq caribou herd (ka-min-YOO-ree-ak) is estimated to be between 300,000 to 400,000 strong, and Churchill Wild has located the perfect spot on the migration route to witness this stunning spectacle.

At Schmock Lake, where the Caribou experience originates, there is excellent hiking terrain consisting of high ground, climbing hills and rock ridges. The ground is untouched and there are only caribou trails.

Arctic Wolf

Big wolf relaxing

“What makes this opportunity possible for Churchill Wild guests is the ‘on the ground’ nature of our adventures”, said Reimer. “We walk with polar bears. Our eye-level experiences with these magnificent creatures have become a Churchill Wild trademark.”

Seal River Heritage Lodge is already home to Churchill Wild’s popular Birds, Bears & Belugas and Polar Bear Photo Safari adventures. The Lodge features a 1400 square foot dining room overlooking Hudson Bay, private bedrooms with ensuite washrooms, Internet connectivity and all the comforts of home.

Churchill Wild offers the only fly-in eco-lodge based polar bear experiences in the world.

polar bear on arctic tundra

Polar bear at sunrise on the tundra

Their season runs from mid-July to mid November with limited space available for adventure packages. In addition to Seal River Heritage Lodge, Churchill Wild also operates Dymond Lake Eco-Lodge on the west coast of Hudson Bay, and Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, which is located approximately 30 kilometers east of York Factory on the southern tip of Wapusk National Park.

For more information on the new Arctic Safari and other adventures please visit ChurchillWild.com, call 1 (204) 377-5090 or e-mail info@churchillwild.com.

Walking with polar bears… in the summer? Perhaps our guests say it best! What’s on your bucket list?

Polar bear in fireweed sticking tongue out

Why is this polar bear sticking his tongue out? Photo Credit: Michael Poliza

Our Birds, Bears & Belugas summer polar bear trip has become a hot ticket item among bucket-listers, especially at the trade shows we’ve been attending. That’s understandable. After all, where else in the world can you actually walk on the tundra with polar bears?

Our remote location north of Churchill, Manitoba on the coast of Hudson Bay is part of a vast coastal polar bear waiting room,  where the bears dream away the summer while they wait for the sea ice (their personal hunting ground) to return. Bears saunter by our Seal River Lodge on a daily basis, providing fabulous polar bear viewing, photography and video opportunities. They often come right up to the lodge windows and the front door! The scent of the gourmet meals at Seal River Lodge is probably part of the reason they visit so consistently, but we don’t feed them.

And if the polar bears are not in our back yard, peering in the lodge windows or lazing around the front door, we’re out on the tundra looking for them. And we do find them!

Beluga Whales on Hudson Bay - Michael Poliza Photo

Beluga Whales on Hudson Bay - Photo Credit: Michael Poliza

We’ve got beluga whales here too, and as weather permits we’re out on Hudson Bay in the Zodiaks jumping into the water and snorkeling with these ghostly white creatures. The polar bears, like the people, are interested in the belugas too (though for slightly different reasons) and we’ve actually seen them hunting beluga whales from the coastal rocks.

This isn’t polar bear watching from a buggy, this is on the ground viewing up close and personal. With gourmet meals in a remote fly-in polar bear lodge that would be considered luxurious by arctic standards. You have to be a bit of an adventurer to enjoy it, but that’s precisely why Birds, Bears & Belugas is making it on to so many bucket lists.

Perhaps our guests tell it best…

Recent Testimonials

Polar bear observing hikers

Who is that in the background? Photo Credit: Dennis Fast

We had outstanding up-close-and-personal access to polar bears and belugas that we would never have dreamed possible. We felt we were visitors in the bears’ home (rather than being at a zoo where humans are in control), yet we always felt safe. — Kerrie

There is NOTHING like walking amongst the top predator of North America that makes you acutely alive! The appreciation for every nuance of a glance or shuffle increased my awareness 100-fold. And to swim with belugas too??? Incredible, and unbelievable! Magic is an overused word, but it was indeed magic. I am so thankful I got to experience it all! — Leslie

Hosts Mike & Jeanne Reimer and their top-notch crew hosted us like family, feasted us like royalty and sent us home shaking our heads and still wondering, “was that for real?”  There is simply no wildlife viewing experience that tops this in North American, and probably in the world.  Just how close do you get?  While filming a bear that came up to greet me through their lodge’s observation fence, I smelt his hot breath.  And while hiking the tundra, our guides often determined that it was safe for us to get within a 100 feet of them. — Paul Schurke, Great Northern Adventure Blog

More from TripAdvisor.com

Polar bear saunters by hikers at Seal River Lodge

Polar bear saunters by hikers at Seal River Lodge. Photo Credit: Dennis Fast

My family and I have recently returned from Canada and we had an amazing six days at The Seal River Heritage Lodge. It is a remote lodge which you reach by float plane from Churchill. We saw lots of polar bears and had an amazing experience swimming with beluga whales in the Hudson Bay – a once in a lifetime experience. The lodge was very comfortable and had great views out onto the Hudson Bay and the food was superb. The guides were amazingly knowledgeable about the local wildlife and were so welcoming with our 2 children aged 11 and 12. Our daughter made a plaster cast of wolf prints, which she was able to bring home. Great experience would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.  If you go, say hello to the belugas and polar bears for me. — Mrs. M. Smith

The reason I chose Churchill Wild over all other Churchill tours was the fact you go out hiking in bear country… Unbelievable! — Irish Captain

I am a wildlife photographer and have traveled to all seven continents pursuing great photographs of earth’s most amazing creatures. Polar bears were right at the top of my “amazing creature” list, of course, so finding the right venue to photograph them was of major importance. It’s important to note that I am somewhat tough to please regarding photographic opportunities. So, where do I go and how do I get close to the bears with unobstructed views in a safe environment? Polar bears do have a reputation, you know. OK, there are the tundra buggies out of Churchill. Do I want to spend all day in a crowded vehicle and then photograph bears from 12 ft. above them? Then, what about Norway? Do I want to attempt to view the bears from a long distance aboard a ship around Spitzbergen with the possibility of not even seeing a bear? For me, the clear answer to these questions was a resounding “no”. — Larry G. Kinney

A big thank you to Dennis Fast and Michael Poliza for many of the photos in the above gallery!

For help in taking Birds, Bears & Belugas summer polar bear watching off your bucket list, call Churchill Wild Toll Free at  1.866.UGO.WILD (846-9453) or 1.204.377.5090. You can also e-mail us at info@churchillwild.com.