Polar Bears Day Two

October 28, 2012 at 10:50 PM

Polar Bear Photo Tour - Day Two - Churchill by Helicopter

   Our flight up to Churchill and first day have been amazing.  We flew out of Winnipeg at 6:00 a.m. this morning with two great surprises ... The first one was that only our group plus one other passenger was on our flight (it was a 40 passenger plane) and second a beautiful blue sky day opened up which meant some great images and our helicopter tour was able to fly.

   Arrival into Churchill we met Steve Club our Churchill guide, and was the same person I had the pleasure of working with last year.  We took the group over to the Polar Bear Holding Facility or better known as Polar Bear Jail!!! There is currently 7 bears being held including one that was making enough noise we could hear him from outside.  From there we spent some time visiting some of the other areas in town, the shore line, a region were arctic dogs for sledding are held.  These dogs by the way are the descendants of the original blood line of sled dogs from eskimo days. 

    After lunch we headed to the helo port for an areal tour of the region.  We were very lucky and say quite a few bears.  Our count was 14 from the flight across the tundra.  

   This evening after an arctic char dinner we visited photographer Mike Macri’s new photo gallery and presentation centre here in Churchill.  He presented a digital slide show of his images showcasing different seasons in Churchill.  Amazing images and beautiful new facility Mike.  Thanks for your hospitality.

    Everyone is tired after a full day and heading off to recharge batteries and get to bed early as we have a 7:00 a.m. start tomorrow morning as we head out and spend the entire day on the tundra in the tundra vehicles.

   Good night from James and the Photo Tour Trekkers in Churchill and enjoy a some shots from today.


Morning Sunrise


We had the flight to ourselves, Dave with the white hat napping, and Lorna.


Wendy taking a shot of Polar Bear Jail, this was once a US military base.


Polar bear trap, these are located all over Churchill.


Randy waiting for this shot to come over the horizon.  Bears can be anywhere!!!


This is a cargo plane wreakage that fell short of the runway many years ago.  It is called Miss Piggy becuase it used to haul pig livestock as part of it's cargo.


One of the sled dogs posing for us.


Another one of the sled doys, they were happy to see us.


The sign says it all ...


Hudson Bay shorline


Churchill from the shoreline.


Inukshuk at the shoreline.


Safety briefing before our helicopter flight.


Heading out over the tundra in search of bears.


The wreakage of the Ethica.


Our first sighting out on the ice.  Notice the impression in the snow (bottom right) were a bear has been laying.


This bear was testing the ice.


It almost looks like he is in hunting mode!!


Churchill as we approached the helo port.  Notice the many train cars of grain.  Churchill is also a shipping port for grain.  


One of the helicopters we went up in today.


That's it for this evening from Churchill, time to curl up and get some sleep.


Please add a comment

Posted by Gail Steer on
Great pics! especially the sled dogs, of course! What else would I say, right?
Love the closing pic!
Hope you have a great day, Monday!
Posted by Patti on
A great start to your adventure. That last shot makes the beasties look so sweet and innocent. Love the sunrise shot from the plane.
Go easy on the salmon aftershave, Jamie.
Posted by Deb on
Awesome shots. Is it as cold as it looks? Good start to a great trip.
Posted by Gail Nichol on
Great photos of the area and bears. So James do you get the salmon this year or have you picked one of your guests !!!! LOL. Looking forward to some more great pics. Have fun
Posted by Nancy Rushton on
Looks like a wonderful trip! I am enjoying your blog posts very much.
Please say Hello go Lorna for me!
Posted by Jerry Cornell on
Looking like the start of a great trip to me, excellent photographs and looking to see more.. Mmmm, perhaps it's the "Salmon Aftershave" that made that bear pose like it did in the last image.
Cheers and have fun.
Posted by bre on
More info please ... why are they holding some bears?

Love the HDR of the Inukshuk. Enjoy the solitude.
Posted by James Cowie on
Hi Bre ... Polar Bears that get to close to town or start coming into town that they can't chase back onto the tundra are captured and held in the facility until the ice on Hudson Bay freezes over then they are released. This is safer for the bears as they don't get in trouble and safer for the towns folk as a brave bear will do harm. If they are really a nuisance they will tranquilize them and fly the bears out by helicopter about 40 kms up the coast.
Posted by Elizabeth Cowie on
Great pictures, per usual..enjoying. How old are the sled dogs?
Luv, Mom
Posted by James on
The sled dogs range from 5 to 8 years old.
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