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Polar bear testing the waters at Fireweed Island.

Polar bear testing the waters at Fireweed Island.

Guest Post by June Fu 

On July 24, we took a helicopter ride from Seal River Lodge to Fireweed Island. On the way we saw a polar bear standing on a huge rock in the sea. It was beautifully white set against the backdrop of blue sea water. It was a huge bear but it was very agile. It jumped into the sea from the rock and waded in the water.

Polar bear heads into the sea at Fireweed Island.

And into the sea we go!

While we were approaching the island, a polar bear Mom and cub swam into view. The water was too deep for wading and Mom was swimming quickly as the cub held on to her tightly. They appeared to be merrily enjoying their sea bath!

Polar bear Mom and cub swimming near Fireweed Island.

Hold on tight!

A few days later we flew to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge, where our guide Albert soon drove us out on to the tundra to find some polar bears. It wasn’t long before we saw a polar bear family, a mom with two cubs! They emerged from the green bushes suddenly and at close range. They were curious about our presence but did not appear to feel threatened at all by us.

Polar bear Mom and cubs emerge from bushes at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Just stay behind me.

With her two cubs behind her, Mom looked at us and stayed calm. One cub walked up to Mom and leaned into her and then they disappeared into the bush as suddenly as they had shown up. Albert drove us in their direction and 10 minutes later the family again showed up in the grasslands.

Polar bear family at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

We’re with her.

The cubs were well disciplined. They followed Mom closely. When stopped, the cubs stood either together behind Mom or at both sides of her. We continued to follow and they soon became accustomed to our presence.

The wind stopped and the sun came out from behind the thick clouds in the afternoon. The polar bear family had walked a long ways. They waded across five creeks and never stopped for a rest.

Polar bears crossing creek at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Wait for us Mom!

We followed them for four hours, watching them march through water, bushes and mud. The cubs were very young and beautiful, but you could tell they were among the toughest creatures on earth.

Polar bear cubs with Mom eye photographers at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Those people are still there Mom.

We returned to Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge as the sun set, while the polar family continued walking through the wilds to their destination. They knew where they were headed, and why they were going.

Polar bear cubs follow Mom across creek at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Wait for us Mom!

On such a grand adventure!

Polar bear cubs splashing in creek at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge.

Splish! Splash! We were takin’ a bath!

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