by Nolan Booth, Director of Lodge Operations, Churchill Wild
What an incredible day! Our two local polar bear guides chose to head west this morning to look for Ursus Maritimus, the great ice bear, and it turned into events beyond anyone’s expectations.
Andy, Albert and the two Rhinos take 15 guests on this adventure every day and it always seems to hold something different. It was slightly overcast this morning and from the windows at Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge we could see a couple of bears sleeping on sandbars on the edge of Hudson Bay.
The trek west and across the river was exciting; as there were two polar bears we already knew of that we were going to attempt to approach, and spirits were high!
After a brief visit with one of these giants, the group headed west towards the Cross about 5 km away. They had a brief encounter with a beautiful black wolf near this old landmark, but the wolf did not display much interest in sticking around, so farther west they went.
Another couple of km and the stalk was on, with two sets of mothers and coys (cubs of the year), but this ended before anyone could leave the vehicles. This is a common occurrence this year and we suspect it may have something to do with the incredibly large number of big male and female polar bears that have graced us with their presence for the entire season.
At the peak we were seeing up to 14 different bears a day, and even now we’re seeing six to eight bears on our daily rides and walks.
A few hours into the morning and the wolves, moms and cubs seemed to want to be left alone, so the guides decided to start back towards the Lodge for something hot. Jump forward an hour, the group arrived at the river crossing within minutes of Nanuk and out stepped the black wolf.
The wolf approached to within metres of one of the lazy bears we talked about earlier. This is a level of tolerance we have not yet seen. An older male polar bear not only co-existing with a wolf, but also standing on the same little piece of island real estate, both enjoying the view of the copper penny roof on our brand new accommodations at the Lodge!
This story could continue on, but the Coles Notes version is that the evening did not end until near midnight, and the day included two polar bear moms and cubs, one black bear mom and cub, wolves on the coast and a dinner wolf at the fence, along with three bears on the runway.
The aurora lit up the sky around 10:30 p.m. and the entire pack of wolves behind the lodge began howling. With just two more days this year at this special and magical place, it made our time under the stars that much more special.
With sunrise came more polar bears lying on the beach, and off our guests went with eyes wide open and hearts full joy, anticipating their next adventurous encounter…
With the great white bears of Nanuk.