by Andy MacPherson, Head Wilderness Guide, Churchill Wild
We took a quick boat trip to Hubbard Point, where we spent some time observing a big bear polar bear that walked slowly towards us before pausing to cool off in a tidal pool. We then returned to the lodge for a quick lunch before heading south on the six-wheelers looking for a small bear who had passed by during our meal.
We spotted not only the small bear, but also a mother and two COYS (cubs of the year) nursing close to the low tide line. We were hiking out when the lodge radioed and said that a large male bear had been spotted moving through the flats in our direction. We changed course hoping to see him but he had other plans, speeding up to meet us face to face as we both crested a tall tidal shoal!
We’re not sure who was more surprised, but after a quick and loud hello the bear decided to go around us, heading south towards the river mouth. So we turned once again towards the family sleeping in the cool breeze by the water’s edge. We watched them from a respectful distance as they slept peacefully. Mom then woke up, stood up, and stretched while glancing over her shoulder to see us. She wasn’t the least bit concerned with us as she sat back down, and then lay down, with her cubs snuggling up to her.
We watched Mom and her cubs for another 15 minutes before retreating, and Mom calmly watched us leave. We would have been tempting fate racing the tide if we’d remained any longer. Our evening was finished off reliving the first week of Birds, Bears and Belugas with a beautiful compilation of guest photos, and an amazing cello performance by Rob Knaggs of Brisbane, Australia. Rob’s music somehow persuaded a large male polar bear to pass by as the sun set on the horizon. Well, maybe it wasn’t Rob’s lyrical notes, but we’ll let him think it was. After all…
It was a great way to end the final day of our first polar bear tour of the season!