Polar Bear Blog

Intrepid explorer George Kourounis to lead 2016 Arctic Discovery for Churchill Wild

George Kourounis should love walking with polar bears after this!
George Kourounis should love walking with polar bears after this! Photo courtesy of Kevin Keator.

Churchill Wild is thrilled to announce another collaboration with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS). Renowned explorer, storm chaser and RCGS Ambassador George Kourounis will be joining the August 12-20, 2016 departure of our Arctic Discovery adventure.

As strong proponents of exploration and adventure, owners/operators of Churchill Wild and fellow RCGS Ambassadors, Mike and Jeanne Reimer, are excited Kourounis will be joining the group to share in the experience and regale the other guests with stories of his adventures.

"George exemplifies the curiosity and sense of adventure that is within all of us." -- Mike Reimer, Churchill Wild
“George exemplifies the curiosity and sense of adventure that is within all of us.” — Mike Reimer, Churchill Wild

“George exemplifies the curiosity and sense of adventure that is within all of us,” said Mike Reimer, “And he’s an ideal fit to co-host one of our safaris. We strive to educate our guests about the wildlife and ecosystems around our lodges and to encourage them to develop a deep appreciation for the natural history of the wild Hudson Bay coastline. On a global scale, George does the same thing. We couldn’t be more excited about having him join us next summer.”

Kourounis’s travels have taken him to such far-flung places as:

  • The jungles of Rwanda to witness rare mountain gorillas.
  • Into a cage surrounded by Great White sharks off the coast of Mexico.
  • Flying in a helicopter over huge forest fires in Northern Ontario.
  • The remote island nation of Vanuatu in the South Pacific where he got married on the crater’s edge of the exploding Yasur volcano!
  • Dog sledding above the Arctic Circle and kayaking with whales in Antarctica.
  • Space flight training, including a zero gravity flight and being subjected to extreme forces inside 2 centrifuges.
  • The fabled Timbuktu, in the Sahara Desert, documenting sand storms.
  • Reactor #4 at Chernobyl, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history.
  • Into the Naica Crystal Cave in Mexico, home to the largest crystals in the world where the environment is so hostile that the heat and humidity can be deadly.

George described his scariest experience ever on his Web site:

“Getting caught in a tornado was truly frightening. It was after dark and we were on the outskirts of Oklahoma City when the 2X4’s and pieces of aluminum siding started flying towards my vehicle. The only thing I could do was to floor it and take shelter behind a shopping mall. The debris in the air was incredible. It was like driving through a swarm of bees. After it had passed, I was able to make out the cone shape in the darkness illuminated by blue-green explosions where it was destroying power lines.”

Polar bear family on gravel bar at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.
Polar bear family on gravel bar at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Photo courtesy of Robert Postma.

While not full of the inherent dangers that come with rappelling into volcanoes or being in the eye of a tornado, your safari with Churchill Wild is sure to leave you speechless at times as you walk with polar bears in the heart of polar bear country!

So, why does Kourounis put himself in these extreme situations?

“There is very little of this Earth left to explore. The North and South Poles have been reached. Even Mount Everest is the scene of regular traffic jams on the side of the mountain during climbing season. I like to think of myself as an explorer that goes to new places in this world when they are under extraordinary circumstances. When the harshest storms are lashing the area or when the mountain is spewing molten rock. These are the new frontiers of exploration in the 21st century.”

Wolf at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Photo courtesy of Robert Postma.
Wolf at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge. Photo courtesy of Robert Postma.

Like the areas Kourounis explores, the Hudson Bay coastline is also somewhat unchartered territory. During your Arctic Discovery Adventure you will be given the opportunity to walk where few have and learn about the rich history of Nanuk and the surrounding area.  Your safari begins in Churchill with two days of beluga encounters and touring of historical sites. From there, you will be transported to Churchill Wild’s most remote property, Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, for four days of wildlife encounters including ground-level viewing of polar bears.

By sharing his adventures with the world, Kourounis hopes that he can inspire people to break out of their routines and do something that they consider a little bit scary.

“I’m not saying that people should run into hurricanes or take a rubber raft out onto a lake of sulphuric acid like I do, but just to step out of their everyday life and do the things that they’ve always wanted to do but were too afraid to actually try. It is amazing what people are capable of if they just face their fears and go for it. Overcoming personal obstacles like that makes for some of the best memories and proudest moments of our lives. Your comfort zone is a terrible place to be.”

Step out of your comfort zone. Take a walk with polar bears.

On a Churchill Wild Safari.

For more information on George Kourounis, please visit his Web Site.

Where did everybody go? Photo courtesy of Doreen Booth.
Where did everybody go? Photo courtesy of Doreen Booth.

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