Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Polar Bear Sow & 2 cubs walking across a frozen lake.
“Leave only footprints, take only memories” (…and maybe some pictures)

Brief

Preface:

- At the top of all the pages are tabs that will take you to each individual page. - This first page is the ‘Brief’ page.  The whole trip on one page in short form. - Next comes each day in detail.  Maybe too much detail.  One by one, or, day one through nine.  Just click on a tab at the top each page to read that day’s adventure and see our photos (just click on the Pics buttons). - Then there is a map of the area we explored on the Tundra Rover looking for Polar Bears. - The last page is a few short videos Barbara took. I hope that you enjoy this view of our adventure.  We did see some Polar Bears, which is why we took this trip.  We also saw Snow Buntings, Artic Hares and a Silver Fox, all firsts for both of us. It was quite amazing.  Being that close to such a large predator.  The Rovers stand so tall that we never felt at risk or even nervous.  We were in awe of our surroundings. Justin, one of the guides, pointed out that we could be in a large stadium, with thousands of people, and it would be possible that we could be the only ones in attendance that had been close to a Polar Bear in the wild.  I only hope that Polar Bears, and much more of nature’s creatures and creations, will be around for many more generations to experience.

Day 1

4:00am Another adventure starts. 5:10am I just looked out the window and saw that the car and driver is in the driveway already. 6:30am At the airport pulling up to the curb to unload. 10:10am We just took off. 11:25am We have just landed in Toronto, Canada. 1:15pm (On Central Time now)  We are in the air and heading towards Winnipeg. 3:25pm On the ground.  Touch down in Winnipeg. 4:30pm We are in the Fort Garry Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. 6:15pm We decided to dine at ‘The Old Spaghetti Factory’ in one of the converted warehouses. Day 2 5:45am I’m showered and dressed, waiting for Barbara. 6:00am Breakfast is included with the room so we are down in a restaurant off the hotel lobby to eat. 8:15am Meeting local NatHab guide in lobby for a tour of Winnipeg. 9:00am First stop on the tour is, for us, another look at The Forks (where we had dinner last night). 9:20am We are at a park with the gravesite of Louis Riel and the Saint Boniface Cathedral. 9:50am We are now in the Manitoba Museum. 12:30pm We are at the Manitoba Legislative Building. 1:50pm We just arrived at Fort Whyte Alive Nature Preserve. 3:00pm We just finished a bison safari. 3:05pm Birding tour, led by docent Barbara (not my Barbara). 4:40pm Statue of Winnie-the-Pooh actually. 5:10pm Back at the Fort Garry Hotel. 66:45pm We are the first in the La Verendrye Room for dinner & talk about the adventure. 8:40pm We just got back to our room from the dinner/talk. Day 3 6:15am I am sitting here watching Barbara pack.  6:30am We are heading down to breakfast. 8:40am We are on the bus heading for the airport. 9:10am We are on the chartered plane that will take us to Churchill, Manitoba. 12:05pm We have landed in Churchill. 12:40pm We are on a bus heading from the airport to the Tundra Rover. 1:45pm We are currently sitting at Halfway Point having a box lunch. 4:05pm Our first Polar Bear! 4:25pm I am in room 6 and Barbara is across the hall in room 5 in the Tundra Lodge. 4:45pm Bonnie (tour guide) just informed me that they are looking for my luggage but it is not on the Lodge. 6:00pm We are all gathered in the dining car for dinner. 7:15pm After dinner we all headed back into the lounge car for a talk by Justin. 8:15pm Headed back to the sleeper cars and cleaned up and headed for bed. Day 4 6:00am I woke up early and got dressed. 6:30am Coffee time. 7:00am Breakfast. 8:00am On Tundra Rover on our first tundra safari. 9:10am Polar Bear sleeping on edge of frozen lake. 9:28am Sow and cubs sleeping in the scrub willows, then walking right towards and past us. 10:25am We are sitting watching a sow and two cubs eating kelp that washed up on shore. 11:00am We are heading back to the lodge. 11:55pm Back in the lodge waiting for lunch. My suitcase was waiting for me in my room. 12:55pm Lunch is done.  1:45pm Photos of Lazy Bear Lodge vehicles and two Polar Bears (taken from the Lodge). 2:30pm Bonnie gave a talk about the British Artic explorer Sir John Franklin. 3:40pm It is snowing.  4:40pm The other half of our group is back from the afternoon safari. 5:00pm We saw a Silver Fox (color variant of the Red Fox). 6:00pm Dinner time. 8:20pm After dinner Bonnie gave a presentation about birds, butterflies and other wildlife in the Churchill area.  9:25pm The day is done.  Almost bedtime. Day 5  5:20am I, again, woke up early.  6:10am I watched two Artic Hares munching on some grasses. 6:30am Coffee. 7:00am Breakfast. 8:00am Other group left for safari and I am wandering the Lodge looking for wildlife (outside). 12:15pm Everyone is onboard the Rover except the driver and the guide. 12:30pm The afternoon tundra safari has started. 1:22pm Polar Bear off in the distance and some scenery. 2:20pm Two Polar Bears & an Artic Hare. 4:00pm We are back at the Lodge. 4:30pm Sitting in the lounge chatting and enjoying a glass of wine with the other guests. 6:00pm Another great meal by Shane and Shelley!  Thank you both. 7:20pm Presentation by Justin on Artic Foxes. 8:10pm The day is done. Day 6 6:40am Enjoying our first cup of coffee while waiting for breakfast. 8:00am Maneuvered to pick up our food and drinks for the day’s outing. 8:05am Everyone is on the Rover today. 8:18am Photos of Willow Ptarmigan in the willows. 9:00am A Raven poses on top of a small tree. 10:21am We spot a Polar Bear that is almost hiding in the brush. 10:34am Two Polar Bears. 11:02am Another Polar Bear and a Tundra Buggy fitted out with camera and antennas.  11:20am Lunch.  A lone Polar Bear is resting next to a frozen  lake. 11:55am Lunch is on hold due to the Polar Bear putting on a show for us. 12:30pm Lunch is done. 12:34pm Artic Hare hiding in the willows. 12:45pm We found another Polar Bear. 1:10pm Another Polar Bear. 1:35pm A Polar Bear hiding in the scrub willow. 2:10pm A mother and cub. 3:30pm We are heading back to the Lodge. 3:46pm We are back in the Lodge.  ‘Scar’ is laying under the Lodge. 4:45pm Drinks in the Lounge. 6:00pm Another delicious dinner by Shane and Shelley. 7:20pm The Northern Lights were visible. 7:50pm Our evening presentation. 8:30pm We have to get our tips figured out and in envelopes and then pack to prepare for departure. Day 7 5:40am I am in the lounge waiting for people to wake up. 6:00am Coffee time. 6:15am Luggage has to be outside the rooms. 6:25am All the suitcases have disappeared from the Berthing Car and are packed on the Rover. 6:30am Breakfast. 7:00am On the Rover heading back to Churchill. 8:00am We are back at the Great White Bear Tours Rover base. 8:10am We are off the Rover and on a bus. 8:37am Took photos of Miss Piggy, a WWII military plane. 9:00am We are riding around the Churchill area. 9:40am We drove around the Port of Churchill. 9:50am We stopped at Cape Merry Battery with a view of Prince of Wales Fort. 10:40am We have stopped for a photo op: an inukshuk, a Polar Bear Statue and a Manitoba sign. 10:50am We are in the Eskimo Museum. 11:50am We are in a restaurant in Churchill for lunch. 1:20pm A quick stop at another inukshuk for photos. 1:30pm Quick stop at a sign for the town of Churchill for a group photo. 1:45pm We are at the Polar Bear Holding Facility. 2:10pm We are at the Churchill Airport. 3:00pm We are in the air heading for Winnipeg. 5:35pm We have landed and are now on a bus back to the Fort Garry Hotel. 6:10pm We are in our room (#237) at the Fort Garry Hotel. 7:00pm Final get together. 8:10pm We just returned to our room.  Day 8 6:00am Alarm goes off and time to get going. 7:00am Another nice breakfast at the Fort Garry Hotel. 10:05am We are at the Winnipeg airport and thru security. 12:40pm In the air heading for Toronto Airport. 1:50pm Landed in Toronto. 4:45pm We are now on the plane waiting to push back from the terminal. 5:15pm We taxied to a runway that is not in use at the moment and we are waiting. 7:10pm Our flight has been delayed until at least a 9pm.  ???? Because of how hectic it was for us I did not manage to keep up the recordings. ???? Flight has been cancelled. ???? After clearing customs and re-entering Canada we were told to go to the Canadian Airline help counter. ???? We were given tickets and told to go to the check in counter across the airport. ???? We ran as fast as we could to the check in counter. ???? After all that, now we had to go thru US customs again. ~8:30pm We got to the gate just after boarding had started.  We got on the plane and made it to our seats. ???? Sit on the tarmac for at least an hour. ???? Eventually the plane takes off and we are finally headed for Newark.  Hours late. ~11pm Land in Newark.  Get our suitcases. 11:30pm We are scrambling trying to figure out what to do.  1:45am Got to the Holiday Inn and checked in. 2:30am We mixed a of bag of trail mix with a bag of peanuts and that was our dinner. What a day!!! Day 9 9:00am We are awake, showered and dressed.  9:30am Breakfast in hotel restaurant over $50 with tax for the two of us. 10:15am Hotel clerk called car service and we are heading home. 11:38am We are at Barbara’s house.  We made it!!!  Finally.
Polar Bear Adventure, October 23 - 31, 2016