Polar Bear Blog

Beluga whales join cellist Rob Knaggs for concerto on Hudson Bay

Cellist Rob Knaggs performs with the beluga whales of Hudson Bay near Seal River.
Cellist Rob Knaggs performs with the beluga whales of Hudson Bay near Seal River.

by Bella Waterton, Churchill Wild Wilderness Guide

One of our favourite guest experiences at Seal River Heritage Lodge every summer is spending time with the beluga whales in Hudson Bay, but our first week of Birds, Bears and Belugas this year included something extra special to celebrate the beginning of Churchill Wild’s 25th Anniversary season.

Cellist Rob Knaggs joined us in the Zodiaks to play music with the whales!

It was a 20-minute ride by Zodiac to reach the area where the “Canaries of the Sea” congregate and it didn’t take long for the belugas to exhibit their usual curious nature and start approaching us once we got there. We rafted our three Zodiacs together and we were soon surrounded by whales.

Rob played an electric cello, so it wouldn’t get warped or damaged in the marine environment, and the effect was incredible. Using a hydrophone, Rob was able to incorporate the sounds of the whales into his music, and their high-pitched vocalizations integrated beautifully into the pieces he was performing.

It was a wondrous feeling to be floating in Hudson Bay hundreds of miles from civilization, listening to a concerto performed by man and nature, with our audience as participants.

A truly special experience to be a part of!

Beluga whales are always curious, but this time they were participants in a beautiful concerto of man and nature.
The beluga whales were participants in a beautiful concerto performed by man and nature.

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