One would think that by going to the Untamed Arctic in Churchill Manitoba, Canada, which is on the west shore of the Hudson Bay it would be relatively simple, but here’s a recap of my journey & visit:
First, I left from Dallas to Minneapolis by jet to Winnepeg, Canada where we spent the night and caught up with our group of 15 people. We stayed at the 4 Points Sheraton, highly anticipating our trip to the Untamed Arctic. That evening we had a great meal, learned our polar bear etiquette and went to sleep…until 3:00 am. We had breakfast at 4:00 and then proceeded to have our bags weighed. They could not weigh more than 5o lbs. Not an ounce more, in order to fit on each of the planes that we would be traveling. I had to leave a small suitcase at the hotel because I was overweight. As we were staying there on our way back I could pick it up then.
Now the fun begins. We were to fly Calm Air to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada..The plane held about 42 people. Dressed in all my arctic gear I waddled my way to a seat where I was fortunate to sit by a BBC photographer, Ian, a leading wildlife guide who gave me many tips on the 2 hour journey. He also held most of my stuff..what a gentleman. If you’re not used to this kind of gear it’s quite cumbersome. Ian actually took this photo of the tundra with my camera from the window of our Calm Air.
After we arrived in Churchill Manitoba Canada the snow began to fall heavily and before we knew it we were in a whiteout. How are we going to get to the Seal River Lodge? Scary!! Churchill Manitoba, Canada was small and the roads slick, not easy to walk. We saw the polar bear jail and had lunch at Gypsies..a suburb diner. We were taken to a restaurant where we waited out the storm for about 5 hours…Then one of the guides suddenly walked in and said, “It’s a go!” We were loaded on Beaver Bush planes which held about 7 people each…
Now more fun begins. We were flying along at a nice clip when 15 mins. into the 30 minute flight we started to spiral down. We had had prop failure and had to land in the middle of the tundra..now we’re in polar bear territory. Luckily, we had landed by Seal River Lodges, Diamond Lake lodge..We were met by guides with rifles who escorted us on the Arctic tundra to this beautiful lodge in the middle of nowhere. A fire was roaring and they gave us hot chocolate and cookies.
The next surprise of the day was a polar bear that decided to visit Diamond Lake Lodge. Cameras began to click and this wet our appetite for our stay at Seal River Lodge.
Due to the fact that the bush plane was down, we now waited patiently for a chopper. We loaded up AGAIN and landed at Seal River Lodge around 5:30 in the afternoon at cocktail hour. A glass of wine was a erlcome sight. We were safe and met by a fabulous family. They showed us to our cozy rooms where we unpacked. We were seated with our guides to learn about the next day. Dinner was first class.
Needless to say we slept well that night!! Tomorrow…our first day with the polar bears!
Churchill Manitoba Canada – http://travelmanitoba.com
Calm Air – http://m.onetravel.com/calm-air
Seal River Lodge – http://nationalgeographiclodges.com
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