At the end of June Mike and Jeanne hired their trusty charter captain, Doug, to fly them into Churchill Wild’s Seal River Heritage Lodge on Hudson Bay coast. They were greeted by a rugged coastal landscape in the last grip of old man winter with ice on the lakes and the Bay and a few remaining snowbanks rapidly disappearing along the ridges. All was in order since leaving at the end of our marvellous inaugural Floe Edge expedition in April. The birds were back, countless waterfowl churned up the tidal zone, and the ever-present plovers had staked out rather precarious nesting sites on the airstrip.
Very high offshore winds throughout the next couple of days did a first-rate job of blasting the sea ice well to the east resulting in us looking for the arrival of Nanuk, the great white bears, along with one of their favourite foods, beluga whales! Sure enough, the breakup of the ice floes did not disappoint as the whales came splashing in the next day and the first polar bear swam in the day after! In the last four days, we have spotted eight different polar bears, including a sow with cubs, all in great shape, which looks like they found plenty of seals to munch over winter. A bear has already taken up his position on “jumping rock” and thus begins the great annual whale hunt.
The weather has warmed considerably (+15°C) which should soon bring out the bugs, much to the delight of the hatchlings and their feeding parents, though we humans might not be quite as excited about that. So far there has been no signature wild flailing of the arms as we exit the buildings to enjoy warm evenings on the decks! The staff arrive on the weekend and we will be out for some wonderful whale encounters both on and in the brisk waters of the Hudson Bay.
Pat yourself on the back if you can spot what’s wrong in this picture.