Polar Bears Photo Tour- Helicopters & Dog Sleds - Day Four

November 16, 2011

Polar Bear Photo Tour Churchill - Helicopters and Dog Sleds - Day Four

If anyone had told me a few years ago that I would find a wind chill of -30 C a fun place to take photographs I would have told them they are crazy.  I would have been wrong, Churchill is an amazing place, filled with great people that all have an interesting story about our Northland.

This morning we departed in departed in 4 helicopters to experience Churchill form a different perspective.  We flew along the coast to Cape Churchill and observed and photographed the polar bears on the newly forming ice.  There was no ice in the bay when we arrived on Monday and now it is filling in quite quickly.  The almost -30C windchill makes freezing happen very quickly.

It was interesting to see the polar bears testing the ice and slowing working their way out to hunt for seals.  We even saw a polar bear patiently waiting by an ice hole for a seal to pop up his head.  One of the helicopter groups actually saw 5 polar bears all together just at the coast.  

The polar bears are also still close to us in town and this morning our helicopter pilot Nathan was telling us that he had a polar bear on the front porch this morning before he left his home.  He had to fire a shotgun in the air to scare it away so he could get to his vehicle.

After our helicopter ride, which too a little over an hour we visited Cape Mary National Park to see another part of the coast line at the Hudson River’s edge.  It was so cold it was a sharp cold and even in full winter gear could only stay there for 5 or 10 minutes.  This is also an area of high bear activity so Steve our guide stood guard with a shotgun while we too our photographs.

We returned to town for lunch, then went a few miles out of Churchill to visit David Daily and his champion dog sled team.  After David explain to us the art of dog sledding and how much training and work goes into preparing a caring for a dog team, we all went for a dogsled ride.  It was very cold but worth the experience.

That’s today’s update from Churchill on a very windy and cold evening.  Tomorrow we are up and out early again to spend the day on the Tundra once again in the Tundra Vehicles.  This promises to be another great experience.  Until tomorrow shivering as we say it good night.

Enjoy some images from todays photo trek ...

Below are a couple of the helicopters preparing for our morning flight.  There was beautiful blue skies this morning.


Part of the group taking off.


Inside our helicopter.


Sam checking out the view below.


Churchill river as we took off.


Here’s a bird’s eye view of the town of Churchill.


As we headed up the coast we flew over the MV Ithica.  Note there was not ice around her in yesterdays images.


Another view as our pilot did a 360 around her.


For a ship that ran a ground in 1961 she is still in pretty good shape, the cold harsh conditions help preserve the ship.


We then flew over the area where we were on the Tundra Vehicles the day before.  


Look at the ice and how quickly it is forming.  If you look at the first day’s images when we were down by the shore for the group photo you will see no ice.


Ice Patterns.


A couple of Tundra Vehicles down below.


Here is the first polar bear we came upon out on the ice this morning.


They are testing the ice and hunting seals.


Polar bears despite their weight can walk on fairly thin ice, due to their ability to distribute their weight as they walk.


Another shot of the ice starting to form.


We flew over a site from a fresh seal kill.


Now here is a polar bear patiently waiting for a seal to pop up.  We flew in for a closer look.


Notice the position the bear is in, just waiting for a seal to show himself.


Another view of the tundra.


A moose and two calves walking through the bush.


Two bull moose.


One of the other groups fly past us.


A bush covered in ice crystals from the spray.


Steve, standing guard as this area is a high traffic area for polar bears.


Nicci taking a few shots at Cape Mary. 


A frost covered spotting scope at Cape Mary.


A shot of the coast line.


Notice the steam rising off Hudson Bay, the water is -1C the air with windchill is -25C.


A frost covered tree, very pretty in the mid morning sunlight.


The water hitting the shoreline.


That’s cold ...


Another black and white shot.


Sue and Brian shooting a few coastline shots.


Some barrels over by the harbour ... This one’s for you Patti!!!


A boat up on blocks.


Same boat a different angle and adding back colour technique.


David Daley speaking to us about dogsledding.


Whiskey Jack’s they will fly down and eat the seeds right from your hand.


Another Whiskey Jack.


Carmen getting ready for her dogsled ride.  Good idea Carmen it’s very cold with the wind blowing on your face.


David Daley with one of his sled dogs, as he explains how he trains his team.


Sue and Bill ready for their ride.


David Daley taking Sue and Bill out for their ride.


Here is Brian and Harold coming round the trail. Image by Sue Smith


Carmen and Sue with the dog team and David. Image by Sue Smith


Christine and Leslie as they give dogsledding a try.  The wind is cold girls!! Image by Sue Smith


Collin and Peter rounding the bend.  I bet you are glad you ate all those cinnamon buns this morning Collin, they will give you energy in the cold. Image by Sue Smith


Ela and James getting back from their ride. Image by Sue Smith


Here’s what you see as the sitting passenger on the dogsled. Image by Ela Kurowska


And like last night it’s only fitting to show you another happy ending.  Good night from Churchill.  Image by Ela Kurowska.



Tags : PolarBearsDayFour

Please add a comment

Posted by gail Steer on
Great pics of the dog sledding, Sue! 
Looks like everyone had fun!
Posted by Gail Nichol on
OK Brian, hope you got some photos of the moose???? You are having way too much fun, I am jealous !! The photos are great.
Posted by Harold Kinart on
Looks like everyone is having a great time. Don't bring the cold home with you!
Posted by Nancy Anne on
Those puppies deserve extra kibble tonight after hauling all of you around. Looks like fun - wish I were there (without the wind-chill).
Posted by Jerry on
It's 4:10 pm on Thursday and I look outside and there are these huge snowflakes dropping. Out temp is zero c with very little windchill factor - but do I ever wish I was there with you guys. Your images of the bears are wonderful and looking forward to more.. Have fun folks and keep on enjoying your trip.
Posted by Claire Kett on
Awesome photos yet again. In spite of the bitter cold looks like everyone is having a great time. Love your daily pics, keep them coming. Stay warm, have fun.
Posted by Lorna on
What an adventure! Can't wait to see more bear pictures. I'm glad to see that Bill doesn't have to worry about getting a sun burn on this trip!
Posted by Betty Ann on
What's this? You went dog sledding and just sat there with no work to do? Running the sled would have kept you warm. If Sue took all these great shots did you get a good ride as well or were you the worker ;-) I think Churchill is my kind of place. Love everything I have seen so far.
Posted by Maria on
Elu, sliczny widok na sliczne pupcie! Carmen, me gusta tu mascara!