For Polar Bears, frozen water means access to their favorite food source - the ringed seal. Like giddy hunters at a holiday camp, the otherwise solitary Lord of the North becomes a somewhat social creature. They spend some relaxation time prior to the hunt, cuffing, wrestling and plain hanging out with their cousins and colleagues who have often travelled great distances for the annual event. This unique situation provides relatively easy viewing and photographic access to the most predatory mammal of the Arctic.
We visit Cape Churchill in a polar tundra buggy specially designed to travel in this environment. In all likelihood, we’ll be observing bears in close proximity as they approach our vehicles to find out what we’re all about. Excellent photos can be taken right through the vehicles’ open windows. At this time of the year in Churchill, bear sightings are virtually guaranteed. Participants with even the most rudimentary equipment come away with great photos.
DAY ONE (D)- Upon arriving in Churchill, our group will be met by our guide and transported to our hotel. An orientation meeting will be held after dinner.
DAY TWO (B,L,D) - Polar Bears! Today's program skirts the shores of Hudson Bay by private Safari Vehicle, capturing the first sightings of this mighty “Sovereign of the North”.
DAY THREE (B,L,D)- A second full day out on the tundra at Cape Churchill examining the behavior of the Great White Bears, and the relationships they form with each other and other wildlife species. We travel by traditional Tundra Buggy.
DAY FOUR (B,L,D)- Transfer to the Heli-pad in town for our flight to the White Whale Lodge where we will stay for the next two nights, away from town and alone with Nanuq.
DAY FIVE (B,L,D) - After breakfast we will go for a walk on the tundra (bears permitting), and hold an informal photography workshop. The remainder of the day is spent observing bears from the watch tower or the enclosed “porch”. Slide presentation in the evening.
DAY SIX (B)- Morning transfer back to Churchill via helicopter. We will have some time for one last look around town before heading to the airport for our flights south.
WEATHER AND ITINERARY CHANGES
Temperature lows in Churchill at this time of the year can range from 5C to -10C with 50 to 60 km winds, blizzards are not uncommon. Although our tundra buggy is heated, the windows will often be down for viewing and photography. Prepare for the worst weather and hope for the best. Our itinerary serves as a general guide for our Churchill visit, we may choose to alter our day to day plan should weather conditions dictate.
GUIDES & SAFETY
Your safety while participating on the trip is our prime concern. Our guides are well trained in wilderness travel, first aid techniques and have experience in the local environment in which we travel. Ultimately your guide makes decisions with your comfort and safety in mind and yet tries to maximize the experience of the adventure for each individual. We must stress that listening carefully to all instructions and directions given by the guides is your ultimate responsibility and in the best interest of yourself and the group.
Although there is not a fitness requirement on this trip, we will be doing some hiking while exploring the area. The higher your personal level of fitness the more likely you are to enjoy this aspect.
Accommodatoin while in Churchill is motel style. The White Whale Lodge is “cosy” and features bunk style sleeping arrangements with four bunks to a room.
TOUR COST INCLUDES
•Fully escorted tour
•All meals as indicated
•Accommodation in Churchill
•Private Safari Vechile Tour (1 full day)
•Tundra Buggy tour (1 full day)
•Visit to the Eskimo Museum and Parks Canada Interpretation Centre
•Slide presentations/Informal Photography Workshops
•Transfers in Churchill
TOUR COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
•Return flights to Churchill from your point of origin
•Meals not indicated
•Items of a personal nature
•Additional meals & accommodation as a result of weather conditions or other itinerary changes
*Trip registration is limitied to a maximum of 12 - 14 participants
Photo Credits: Mike Beedell, Dwight Allen