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Polar Bears of Churchill. For millennium, the Arctic's most magnificent animals have gathered along the western shores of Hudson Bay each October and November to wait for the ice to freeze to begin their annual seal hunt.
They follow an ancient migratory route from their dens to areas where the ice freezes first. The settlement of Churchill lies along this migratory path and has become the undisputed "Polar Bear capital of the world". Here, an astounding concentration of polar bears can be viewed at close range in their natural environment. The bears are observed from the safety and comfort of specially designed Tundra Buggies that travel through this sub-Arctic wonderland. When bears are spotted sleeping, traveling, testing the ice or sparring, passengers may open windows or stand on an outside deck to obtain great views and photographs. Often curious bears approach the buggies for thrilling encounters. (Thanks to Larry Sassman for the great shots of this playful bear!)Tours of Exploration, who specialize in Natural History Tours, have been sending travelers to Churchill for more than 15 years. Company president Catherine Evans says "Tours of Exploration, who specialize in Natural History Tours, have been sending travellers to Churchill for the past 15 years. Company president Catherine Evans says "this is one of our most popular programs. In 2009 I look forward to returning with our October group. During my last visit we came across more than 30 bears, witnessing females with cubs, young males sparring and also saw Arctic and Red fox, ptarmigans, a mink and an incredible Aurora Borealis." Tours of Exploration group tours include dog sledding, slide shows and interpretive field excursions with local naturalists. The October journey also includes a one hour helicopter flight to observe the bears and other wildlife by air.
Weekly departures mid-October to mid-November$ 3,675 CAD (with VIA Rail one way)
Single Supplement: $525 CAD 5% tax is additionalDEPOSITS/PAYMENTS: A deposit of $ 800 is required to reserve space. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.DEPARTURE CITY: Winnipeg, MBJuly & August departures are also offered -- experience whales, birds, caribou and other wildlife found in the fauna rich Churchill region.
Day 1 ARRIVE WINNIPEG Arrive Winnipeg. Accommodation provided Country Inn airport hotel.
Day 2 WINNIPEG/CHURCHILL (B,L,D)early morning flight to Churchill. Arrive at approximately 9:30 am in Churchill where you will be met. Luggage will be transferred to the Tundra Inn and our group will begin our orientation of Churchill and its natural and cultural features including a visit to the Eskimo Museum housing the finest collection of Inuit carvings and artifacts. After lunch, we will be taken to a forested area outside of town where, as well as the dog sled ride you will be introduced to a northern way of life where dog teams have historically played a prominent role. With any luck you may also experience sightings of some of the local wildlife such as Arctic fox, Arctic hare, Ptarmigans, Snowy Owls. Dinner.
Day 3 POLAR BEAR VIEWING (B,L)Breakfast and morning departure to the tundra where we board specially designed six wheel drive tundra vehicles ideal for regional travel. Often curious polar bears approach the vehicles providing wonderful close range encounters and excellent photographic opportunities. We will also look for Arctic foxes, caribou, lemmings, ptarmigans and white-phase Gyrfalcons.
Churchill is one of the best places to observe the Aurora Borealis. Should this occur during our stay we will drive out of town to experience the Arctic sky and this incredible phenomena. Evening lecture on the -Seasons of Churchill with photographer Mike Macri.
Day 4 ROADS & TRAILS/DOG SLEDDING (B,L)After breakfast, we will head out for a day of roads and trails. The activities and areas will depend on weather and wildlife. We may venture to a section of Boreal forest to see the transition of the Boreal forest to the tundra through the taiga. Other areas of interest include the Hudson's Bay shoreline, the area beaches with their Pre-Cambrian rocks and fossils and Goose Bay. We will observe birds and wildlife enroute.
Day 5 BUILD YOUR OWN EXPLORATION/DEPART BY VIA RAIL (B,L,D)Options are available to enjoy a second day on the Tundra vehicles, take a helicopter flight over Wapusk National Park or a full day guided road and hiking adventure.
Day 6 VIA RAIL/ARRIVE THE PASA full day to observe the changes in scenery enroute. Look out for beaver dams/beavers, Northern Hawk owls, magpies, changes in habitat. In the late evening we will arrive in La Pas. Scheduled arrival time is 11:30 pm. Hotel room provided at Wescana Inn. Day 7 THE PAS/WINNIPEG (B)Morning flight 6:45 am/8:05 am The Pas / Winnipeg. * Transfer to the airport for the morning flight to Winnipeg. Connecting flights home or extra nights in Winnipeg can be booked on an individual basis.
YOUR TOUR INCLUDES:
YOUR TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE:
"One thing that we continue to bring up as we tell family and friends about our trip is the total respect the people of Churchill have for the wildlife and the environment. They know it is important to protect what they have and it is very obvious as they deal with the tourists. We feel we had a once in a lifetime experience on this trip and to have it run so smoothly made it even more special. What an experience!!"Pat and Lorne Fingarson, 2008"I'm sending you copies of two of my favourite polar bear shots from last October. My most favourite is the mother and cubs at rest. The other shot was a family that my English cousin, first spotted. They ended up coming right up top our buggy, to the point where I switched to a regular lense, and still had to try and back away to get them all in!" M. Pearson | Ottawa"I just wanted to let you know what a fantastic time I had on the Churchill tour last week. It was everything I had hoped for it to be and more!...I am totally spoilt for any and all future tours!" K. Allen | Virginia"Thinking of you from Churchill, Manitoba. Lots of bears and other tundra wildlife. having an amazing time. Everyone has had a terrific week." J. Pachnosky | Postcard from Churchill"Well that was certainly a trip I'd like to repeat sometime! Thank you very much for fine-tuning all the arrangements & for booking the naturalists. I enjoyed every minute, even in the helicopter!" S. Robinson | Alberta
Toll Free: (800) 690-7887(604) 886-7300 Fax: (604) 886-7301
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