Sea – ice is still in the frigid waters close to Churchill’s coast and these hearty travelers have been exploring via zodiac and Sea North Tours. I always looked forward to the early and exciting Churchill Arctic summer season with ice floes remaining in the Churchill River out into the Hudson Bay. These awesome features provide an extra thrill factor with Arctic terns and various other sea birds perching on the jagged ice chunks atop the floes. Even an occasional seal will nap on the ice surface. The surrealistic mix of sun, sea and ice combines to form a sub – Arctic natural environment at its best!
Beautiful blue pools within a massive ice floe near Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
Blue azure pool on an ice floe near Churchill. Alex De Vries – Magnifico photo.
The most elusive Arctic bird for bird watchers in Churchill has returned to the region. Well, at least that’s what Parc’s Canada is claiming on their website and twitter accounts. Of course the bird really hasn’t resurfaced until you see it if you’re the one in quest of the life – lister. There have been some reports of sightings and word is getting around that in fact the “Ross” is here and waiting to be checked off your life list. Come try and see this elusive gull this treasure packed Churchill Arctic summer!
Ross’ gull along the rocky Churchill shore. Brian Small photo.
With the temperatures rising across Canada, this video footage of a swimming polar bear inspires us all want to hit the water and take a dip in the cool ocean. The Hudson Bay and mouth of the Churchill River are a little too “cool” for extended swimming -around 42 F- unless you have some thick white fur on your body. Encountering a frisky polar bear in the water is always an incredible thrill…much better if you’re in a boat.
I recall one time guiding for a Natural Habitat Adventures Churchill Arctic Summer trip when we came upon a polar bear swimming in the Churchill River. I was driving the zodiac with seven travelers eagerly urging me to ease closer to the bear. As we slowly motored toward the animal he suddenly disappeared under the slightly choppy surface. This action revved my engine into high gear and I promptly did the same to the outboard and jammed it into reverse. I quickly turned the craft and swung it out about 50 feet to what I felt was a safe distance. All I could picture in my mind was the rubber boat becoming a polar bear pinata and all of us in the water bobbing like polar bear candy. Not a pretty visual by any means.
Summertime in Churchill is a magical time when you never know what the new day will bring. There’s always a treasure and something new to be discovered in every endeavor!