by Maggie Cole
This is my first trip to Seal River, and the experience has far surpassed my expectations. I didn’t realize how many polar bears would be around. Even flying to the lodge from Churchill we saw about 10 bears.
It’s been very interesting watching the interactions between the different sets of bears, males with other males, females with other females, mothers and their cubs. How they circle around and sniff each other before getting close and playing. And learning about how the guides determine gender and age.
Not only are there polar bears and beluga whales, but there are shorebirds and sik siks (ground squirrels) everywhere. It’s hilarious watching them wrestle and play with each other as they skirt around rocks and bushes.
The accommodations are amazing. It’s incredible that you can stay in a lodge like this in the middle of nowhere — rustic, warm and cozy.
The guests with us for the first Birds, Bears & Belugas safari of the year are an amazing group of people from Germany. It’s been great chatting with them, sharing stories, and getting to know each other.
The guides are very professional, strategic and informative and Terry (Churchill Wild Guide Terry Elliott) has even given me tips on how to use my camera, which has really helped, as I’m a newbie when it comes to this kind of photography.
I thought our first day at the lodge couldn’t be topped but I was wrong! Today, we went out on the Zodiacs and watched the beluga whales swim in the mouth of the Seal River.
They came right up to our boats and we were lucky enough to see some calves. We put hydrophones in the water and listened to them chatter and communicate with one another. Unexpectedly, we also saw two sets of polar bears out swimming and they even sparred!
We returned back to the lodge with multiple bears hanging around. A mom and cub swam off as one of the males approached them. We had a really close encounter with two young females that walked right around the lodge and the guides found it fascinating that they were playing together, as females usually don’t do that. They are currently napping together as I write this.
The day ended with cocktail hour and appetizers, a delicious meal, and a presentation from Terry, who has been with Churchill Wild for about 15 years! Tomorrow we are off on a full day excursion.
Can it get any better?