Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Polar Bears

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, 
but by the moments that take our breath away.

On Sunday Kerry and I got up at 4:20am to head to the airport to board a plane for a day trip to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears. FANTASTIC DAY!
A bear on one of the many lakes in the area.  
The dark blue in the background is Hudson Bay.

This time of year polar bears start to gather near Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay waiting for the ice to form.  The ice forms, the polar bears hop aboard and head out in search of some seals to eat. The bears haven't eaten since coming to shore after the ice melted in the late spring. 

We arrived in Churchill and headed straight to the Tundra Buggy to head out in search of some bears.  The Tundra Buggy is rather huge.  The wheels are about 5' tall, which should give you a rough idea as to how big the vehicle actually is. 

The Tundra Buggy

Photos were easy to take since the windows came down (protecting us from the bitterly cold wind off the water). Plus, the big viewing area at the back gave good opportunities for photos and viewing.
Given that the polar bears haven't eaten in a while and that they consider the weather warm (even with a -20C windchill), they are pretty lethargic. However, we did luck out and see some activity.  At our first sighting, there were about half a dozen bears around, with two playing on the ice. 

For the most part though, the bears we saw were quiet - much like this one near our buggy at lunch time.

But she garnered enough energy to eventually move on.

The landscape surprised me. I knew it would be rocky, but I never expected all the small lakes (water doesn't absorb into the ground because of the permafrost), the rough mucky paths, or the sad looking willow shrubs and spruce. Different, but beautiful.

These count as trees on the tundra.

Hudson Bay at low tide.

We arrived home Sunday night tired, but elated with our day.

Go, if you ever get the chance.


  1. That is "freakin" awesome Tracy!!! Fantastic photos!Jenn

  2. OMG Tracy that is too cool. Bet the kids were jealous, I know that I am!