An Expert Photographer-Naturalist Leads This Immersive Journey into the Realm of the Polar Bear
Check out details on the ebbs and flows of the Churchill polar bear viewing season.
Day 1: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Arrive in Winnipeg, a former fur-trading post and boomtown for the Canadian Pacific Railway, which today is Manitoba's provincial capital on the eastern edge of the prairie. A transfer is included to the historic Fort Garry Hotel, a prestigious Winnipeg landmark that dates to the opening of the Canadian West. Meet your Expedition Leader and fellow travelers at an orientation dinner this evening.
Day 2: Winnipeg / Churchill
Fly to Churchill this morning. This hospitable outpost town, originally a Hudson's Bay Company fur-trading post, is our base for adventure. This evening we have a lecture on Arctic photography and our northern environs by our Expedition Leader, who is both an accomplished photographer and seasoned naturalist.
Days 3–5: Polar Bear Photography
Rise early to board our custom-designed Polar Rovers, which allow us to get within prime photography range of the polar bears on the open tundra. Although each vehicle accommodates up to 35 passengers, we take a maximum of 16, ensuring that everyone has a window seat, space for camera gear and plenty of room to shoot. For three full days, we spend our daylight hours on the tundra, photographing polar bears as they roam the edge of Hudson Bay waiting for the ice to freeze and the winter seal-hunting season to begin. From the warmth of our Rover, we may see mothers with cubs and young adult males play-fighting. A large adult male may turn his attention toward us, sometimes approaching within feet or even lifting his massive paws onto the side of our vehicle to peer inside.
Out on the white expanse of the tundra we may spot other northern wildlife, too, including Arctic fox, Arctic hare, snowy owl, ptarmigan and gyrfalcon. Meanwhile, in addition to sharing photography advice, our Expedition Leader provides a captivating interpretation of the animal behavior and natural phenomena we are observing. By late afternoon, if the weather is relatively clear, we often enjoy stunning sunsets that linger a long time at this latitude, offering magnificent photo opportunities. As dusk descends upon the wild northern landscape, we return to town for dinner and presentations on photography, wildlife or local cultures. And if we're fortunate enough to see the dancing colors of the aurora borealis on a cloudless night, we’ll head for a place away from the lights of town to capture this magical event on camera.
Day 6: Churchill—Dog Sledding / Winnipeg
Our return flight is scheduled to depart in the mid- to late afternoon to offer as much time as possible today to explore Churchill. A highlight this morning is an authentic dog sled excursion. Just outside town, we meet a local musher and his team, spending time with the frisky dogs before being pulled behind them on an exhilarating ride through the boreal forest. And, if time permits, those who wish may opt to visit nearby Cape Merry, a promising spot for photographing Arctic fox, hare and birdlife. Or, stay in town for some last-minute shopping to pick up local handicrafts and souvenirs. Another optional adventure is a helicopter flight over the tundra, which may offer aerial views of polar bears. We enjoy a farewell lunch in Churchill before we depart, and an evening reception with our fellow travelers in Winnipeg.
Day 7: Winnipeg / Depart
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for flights home.
Physical Rating: Easy