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Posts Tagged ‘polar bear watching’

Award-winning journalist plunges into Hudson Bay with beluga whales, hikes the tundra with polar bears, eats like a king

Swimming with beluga whales in Hudson Bay

Face down in Hudson Bay singing to beluga whales

Some of Manitoba’s wildlife comes with claws attached – but there are gentler creatures here too, as Mike Unwin discovers on an encounter with beluga whales. — The Independent on Sunday

Mike Unwin, a UK-based, award-winning freelance writer and editor specializing in travel and wildlife, was a guest of Churchill Wild and Travel Manitoba this past summer on our Birds, Bears and Belugas Adventure.

Unwin experienced the thrill of plunging into Hudson Bay with beluga whales, walked the ancient tundra with polar bears and ate like a king. Below are a few excerpts from the recent story he wrote for the The Independent on Sunday.

On snorkeling with beluga whales in Hudson Bay:

The idea is to get closer to belugas, the small white whales that gather here in their thousands every summer. I have already seen them from the air: scattered like rice over the wrinkled tablecloth of the bay, you could hardly miss them. But now, face down in the dark, choppy waters, meeting one is a more daunting prospect.

On hiking the tundra with polar bears:

The retreating tide has exposed a moonscape of glacial boulders across the mudflats, and it is behind one of these that we meet our first bear – having a kip. The long neck swings up, roman nose testing the breeze, before the head settles on massive forepaws, black eyes fixed on our approach.

On hanging out at Seal River Heritage Lodge:

…the lodge makes a delightful zoo. Inside, safe from inquisitive bears, wild weather and ravenous mosquitoes, we enjoy fabulous food – caribou wellington, blueberry muffins, snow goose casserole with wild rice – all prepared from treasured family recipes using tundra ingredients. And after stuffing our faces…

Read Mike Unwin’s full story: Canada: Manitoba’s bear necessities, which appeared in The Independent on Sunday Travel Americas section.

On the ground Churchill polar bear viewing, far from the madding crowd, in the bear’s natural environment? Beluga whale watching while face down swimming in Hudson Bay? What’s on your bucket list?

Goose Tidbits – Jeanne’s Arctic Appetizers – Week 9

This was the first appetizer Jeanne’s Mom Helen learned to make at Dymond Lake, over 20 years ago.  The recipe was given to her by a guest. She found that guests were the best source of excellent wild game recipes.

Jeanne's Arctic Appetizers - Churchill Wild

Delicious!

Jeanne still makes goose tidbits for many guests and has passed the recipe further to her daughters (who can often be found in the kitchen at any Churchill Wild lodge!

Everyone raves about them and it is such a simple recipe. This is best done with YVGB (Jeanne’s Dad Doug’s abbreviation for young, virgin, goose boobies).

  • several goose breasts
  • butter — the real thing!
  • Dymond Lake Seasoning or seasoned pepper
  • white vermouth

1. Lay the goose breast flat on the cutting board and, with a sharp knife, slice along the top to make very thin slices.

2. Melt 2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat until it is sizzling.

3. Lay the goose slices in the frying pan and sprinkle liberally with Dymond Lake Seasoning or seasoned pepper. They should brown quite quickly. If they do not, turn up the heat a bit. When they are nicely browned on one side turn them over, sprinkle liberally again with Dymond Lake Seasoning or seasoned pepper. Brown for about a minute.

4. Splash in about 1¼ cup (60 mL) of white vermouth. Let the breasts simmer in the vermouth for about a minute.

5. Remove from pan and serve immediately, with toothpicks.

6. Repeat the process until you have enough appetizers.

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 Please let us know if you try them. We would love to know what you think.Thanks!

Jeanne Reimer

This is the ninth in our series of Arctic Appetizers. We’ll post a new one every week or so. Make sure to check back regularly. Why? Because we serve these at our lodges and they are really, really good!

 

Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer

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).

Fruit Sauce – Jeanne’s Arctic Appetizers – Week 8

Try this as a dip or a sauce for any of the Arctic Appetizer recipes. This recipe makes for a great flavour boost for almost anything!

  • 3 tbsp. cider vinegar  (45 ml)
  • 1 cup  apricot or peach jam (250 ml)
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika (1 ml) 

Combine all ingredients and pour into a small glass dish.

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 Please let us know if you try them. We would love to know what you think.Thanks!

Jeanne Reimer

This is the eighth in our series of Arctic Appetizers. We’ll post a new one every week or so. Make sure to check back regularly. Why? Because we serve these at our lodges and they are really, really good!
Jeanne Reimer

Jeanne Reimer