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Curious polar bear club approaches at Nanuk. Crai Bower photo. Instagram @CanadaFiles Web:

Curious polar bear club approaches us at Nanuk. Crai Bower photo. Instagram @CanadaFiles Web:

by Vanessa Desorcy

I’d been to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge and Seal River Heritage Lodge before, but hadn’t yet experienced one of those polar bear encounters that makes you think “this can’t actually be real, it has to be a dream.” That all changed a few weeks ago when I was at Nanuk hosting a group of travel writers.

We traveled up the coast on a misty day to the Mooswa shipwreck and found a mom and cub hanging out near the ship. They were pretty lazy, so after some time spent watching them cuddle, we headed back to the six-wheelers for hot chocolate and snacks. Bingo! That got their attention!

They decided that the smell of our tundra cuisine was much more interesting than their nap and started heading our way. Mama came first and baby boy followed, growing ever more curious as they got closer. One hundred metres, 75 metres, and at 50 metres, mama stopped, but the little one kept coming until our guide Andy let him know he was close enough.

I had to give my head a shake and blink a few times to make sure I was not hallucinating. This WAS real! I was standing mere metres away from a beautiful mama polar bear and her baby!

The brazen little guy didn’t come any closer but he didn’t back off either. So, for about 15 minutes, we had the cutest standoff ever and that encounter will forever be imprinted in my memory.

When Andy finally called it a day and told us it was time to head back before we ran out of light, I floated back into the six-wheeler feeling all goosebumpy and fighting back tears.

Pure magic.

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