Churchill, Canada is aptly named the
Polar Bear Capital of the World. It is amazing to watch
these big white animals up close; and have
them stand up to breathe on your hands through a metal grate - see links to videos at the bottom.
For getting around on the snow, the giant Polar Rover is a sweeeet ride
and I was fortunate to be able to stay in the very cool Great White North Polar Bear Tundra Lodge that was constantly surrounded by Polar Bears.
I took LOTS of photos and a summary is below with
even more pictures (and hi-def videos) at the bottom of the webpage of my Churchill Polar Bear trip in Nov/2009.
Alek (wearing shiny Michael Jackson gloves ;-) hanging out with some Polar Bears
Plenty of viewing opportunities to see the Polar Bears up close
Polar Rover "stuck in traffic" on the Tundra! ;-)
Polar Bear saying "hello" to the Polar Rover driver! Mouseover image to see another camera angle
Google Map of trip to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see the Polar Bears
Shortly before departure from Denver International Airport on November 8th, 2009
A beautiful day in Winnipeg, Canada
Upon arrival at Winnipeg Airport, I found the Nathab Booth right at the top of the escalator - can't miss it
You know you are in Canada when you see a Tim Hortons doughnut shop at every corner! ;-)
Polar Bear Guide Eric helps Jan, Betsy, and Will pick out some toasty/comfortable boots
The first and last nights were at the Fort Garry Hotel - a block away from Union Train Station
Polar Bear Guide Rinie goes over the schedule at the Welcome Dinner
A yummy breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel the next morning before heading North to see lots of Polar Bears!
After breakfast, we are whisked away on our charter flight to Churchill Canada
We flew over some beautiful landscape on our 2+ hour flight up North
Disembarking in Churchill, Canada - the Polar Bear Capital of the World
First Polar Bear sighting - a helicopter making a run from Polar Bear Jail
We took a school bus out to Polar Bear Jail where the "naughty" ones are kept
We saw a few "tagged" Polar Bears during our visit - an "escapee" from the Polar Bear Jail! ;-)
A picture from the last day of the trip of a "naughty" Polar Bear being chased away from town
Betsy and Will standing by a Polar Bear trap
We then transferred from the School Bus into a Polar Rover to head out to the Tundra NOTE: This was the last time my feet would touch ground until our return 4 days later!
Polar Rover motors around the Churchill Tundra at Sunset - pretty awesome vehicles
Great viewing from the Polar Rover ... this is our super driver Devin
Polar Rover has good grub too as Devin, Rinie, and Leah serve up a tasty lunch
Lots of room in the Polar Rover - mouseover image to see everyone on the left side
So it's very easy to shoot pictures from the windows of the Polar Rover
Polar Bear Guide Rinie was fantastic - very knowledgeable and an outstanding photographer He's actually a Nikon shooter - mouseover image to see him with his gear at sunset
Clive & Bonnie and Bonnie taking pictures of a glorious sunset
Polar Bears are still active at night
Tundra Lodge (where I stayed for four nights) on the Tundra outside of Churchill Mouseover image to see without Polar Rover brake lights
The Tundra Lodge in the morning near Hudson Bay - mouseover image for twilight view from other side
Sleeper car rooms were like closets ... but quite cozy and plenty adequate
There were several common bathrooms - worked out fine - mouseover image for another view
Tundra Lodge Food and Wine was fantastic - mouseover image to see closeup of the bottles
Toasting another fantastic day on the Tundra after seeing lots of Polar Bears
Chefs Beverly and Jocelyn made Baked Alaska the last night - WOW!!!
Paul shows what a Polar Bear would do with that tasty Baked Alaska! ;-)
Periodically, you would hear/feel a "bump" while eating as someone else was hungry!
Janet brings up the sunrise - mouseover image for closeup
The Polar Rover would then head out from the Tundra Lodge
Polar Bears fighting 20 minutes after sunrise - mouseover image to see 'em go at it
Another pair of Polar Bears sparring 35 minutes after sunrise - mouseover to see 'em in action!
But they are just playing (reminds me of my two boys) as they are "best buddies" afterwards
A Mother with her Cub watches the fighting ... and then moves away
Another Polar Bear Mom with Cub - mouseover image as she looks for threats
This Polar Bear Cub stays close to its Mom - mouseover image to see 'em tuck in closer
A Mother Polar Bear walks across the Tundra with her two Cubs
Perhaps not so cute if he's looking at you as dinner!
There was plenty of Polar Bear Photo Ops around the Tundra Lodge
Even the re-supply vehicle stops to take pictures of Polar Bears
Regular Bears poop in the woods - Polar Bears poop in the snow! ;-)
Polar Bear walking in the late afternoon light - especially long shadows at the high latitude
As seen above, I got some semi-decent pictures of Polar Bears sparring and then walking while backlit by the Sun But wasn't lucky enough to replicate the quintessential picture of them sparring while backlit by the Sun - darn! ;-)
Everybody opted to put these on their room door
Aurora Borealis North of Churchill, Canada - mouseover image to see another view
Another incredible sunset while Devin was driving us around in the Polar Rover
Devin stepped out to lock the hubs, so I sat down in the driver's seat! ;-)
Jill (and everyone else) took countless pictures of the colorful sky
View of the Polar Rover from the Tundra Lodge - lights of Churchill on the horizon