by Bella Waterton, Churchill Wild Wilderness Guide
Another amazing week has come to an end at Seal River Heritage Lodge, and guests on this Polar Bear Photo Safari were treated to some amazing encounters and views of polar bears!
Our week started with a great view of a Mom and COY (Cub of the Year, meaning the cub will be one year old in December of this year). We had a lovely viewing of the duo while they fed on grasses and seaweed, taking some time to nuzzle and snuggle.
We left them just as we found them, feeding and snuggling, resting up for their march northwards in search of ice, but the illustrator in our group, Azumi Takamatsu, captured the moment perfectly.
The next morning we woke up to a storm, with high winds from the east along with sideways flying snow. At first glance, there wasn’t any movement in the area surrounding the lodge, but as we prepared to head outside, we noticed a large male on the forming ice.
The big male was swimming through the brash ice, as it wasn’t strong enough to hold his weight. Watching him swim, and leap from ice pan to ice pan was an incredible sight to see, confirming the great strength and coordination these creatures have. When he reached shore he headed straight for the point of land in front of the lodge, where he began eating what looked to be a seal kill.
Another male appeared, who looked to be quite old, with plenty of scarring. It was interesting to watch the interaction between the two bears, with the younger one allowing the older bear to have his fill of the remainder of the carcass.
To top off these incredible sights, we were lucky to see a Mom with two cubs on our last day. We spotted them off in the distance, on the ice, and watched them as they slowly made their way in towards the lodge. We viewed them from inside the compound, as mothers with young cubs can be quite nervous.
We watched as they approached through the ice, the cubs having a much easier time than the mother, as they were much lighter. All three came right up to the fence to check us out, which made for a fabulous way to end the week!