After last year’s cold temperatures in the heart of northern lights season permeated the Aurora Pod, Great White Bear Tours and Natural Habitat Adventures collaborated to install a new heater to supplement the ambient pellet stove. The new diesel heater is the same one found on all of Great White Bear’s polar rovers and should allow for a quite comfortable experience even in the deepest cold of winter. Can’t wait to see how it performs while the fantastic aurora borealis glimmers above by the Hudson Bay coast!
A seal kill out near Gordon Point attracted nearly 30 polar bears looking for a preseason meal. The congregation of polar bears in this one area has made the viewing incredible for travelers on polar rovers.With snow covering the tundra now the rest of the season will have that wintry look and polar bears will be moving about the land more frequently with decreasing temperatures. While the bay always threatens to freeze up early due to cold, we always seem to make it through to the third week of November. Northern lights have also been an added bonus this year with more action than normal in October. Hopefully the trend will continue. Tomorrow will bring another experience from the north in Churchill!
Polar Rovers are a safe way to get up close with the polar bears of Churchill. Bears are attracted by various scents from the machines as well as travelers. In a land where food is the driving force or polar bears at this time of year, polar bears are keenly attuned in to any smells out of the ordinary. Enjoy these close encounters!
You’ve heard the expression “Island time”. In fact you’ve probably uttered it once or twice yourself after experiencing the casual, slowed down lifestyle of people in places that seem to have figured out how to enjoy life…well at least vacation life…usually by the warm, blue water somewhere.
Well “tundra time” is a similar lifestyle but perhaps comes from the opposite end of the weather comfort spectrum. Churchill and the rest of the northern Arctic region of Canada moves at a pace most southerners would call…um…slow. And that’ s being generous. Maybe because the north exists in a cryogenic state of frozen time for a good part of the year there’s really no energy to go fast at any point. Tundra time.
When visiting Churchill, everything moves slower. Restaurant service is slower..hence meals take longer. Vehicles move slower…especially Polar Rovers looking for slow, ambling polar bears. Maybe that’s the key…polar bears set the pace for everything around the area. They are in no hurry to go anywhere…except out on the ice. However, they can’t make the ice form so they instinctively know to take it easy….cause it’s “tundra time” mon!
The train….ha..well anyone that has traveled with Via rail along the Hudson Bay Railway knows the literal definition of “tundra time”. The train tracks often turn a 36 hour trip into a 42 hour trip or more. Why? Because the tracks wind across the tundra that contains permafrost….icy ground. When that icy permafrost heats up and melts a bit, especially in summer, the tracks move slightly and a speeding train has to slow down so to not exert too much force on the steel rails and then end up on ..er..the tundra…stopped in the middle of nowhere. Tundra time.
Most of all the people in Churchill move slower. Churchillian’s by and large are not going far. Well, they can’t drive far as there are no roads out of town unless you want to go to the Churchill Northern Studies Center or a bit further out to Twin Lakes. People in Churchill actually have time to talk with one another, not email or telephone. They actually meet at Gypsy’s or the Seaport Hotel and sit and talk for sometimes hours and enjoy multiple cups of coffee. There’s a “local table” at Gypsy’s up front that is just for that…talking….slowly … and in person. Tundra time.
Nearly everything in the north operates on tundra time. We should all experience it once in awhile.
A majority of the travelers that come to Churchill view the incredible land and wildlife at tundra level on Polar Rovers or by foot. Polar bear season of course provides viewing from a raised vehicle through the Churchill wildlife management Area. In summer, hiking through the tundra and along the rocky coast provides a unique opportunity to get close to the land and see the micro ecosystems that are the roots of the Arctic and all that makes it such an incredible region.
The view and expanse of the land from a helicopter gives one a completely different perspective. The boreal forest stands alone from the wide open tundra and the Hudson Bay goes on forever to the north. I never tire of seeing the landmarks as well as the land from the air. Enjoy these photographs of the Churchill region!