I’ve been quite fortunate in having some extraordinary adventures some I’ll share over time here. Five years ago I drove to the Gateway to Northern Manitoba Canada the city of Thompson. Here I boarded a train that traveled fourteen hours through the night stopping every so often to discharge or take on passengers. Our ultimate destination was Churchill located against the huge Hudson Bay. This small town of 1,100 souls has an additional 10,000 who come unto land when the great bay has no more ice floes.

These magnificent polar bears roam the vast tundra wilderness in search of food to replenish their food stores. When they arrive on land they should have eaten enough food during the season to sustain themselves until the ice re-forms and then the migration once again moves outward to find seals to eat.

Tundra Buggy Adventures is the firm I engaged to show me the polar bears in their habitat. These buggies are huge lumbering vehicles with massive tires. The rear of these rigs has an open deck the rest is glass enclosed and heated. I must confess I spent the majority of my time on the outside deck. We were told in absolute terms not to ever talk to the animals or feed them anything and when the bears were milling around or just walking by we were to be quite. These massive animals although they look all cuddly are ravenous and would kill you in an instant if the opportunity presented itself. I almost gave myself up as a meal. One night late around eleven PM everyone had retired for the night. I stepped outside and looked into the crystal clear sky. The sky itself was ablaze with the Aurora Borealis. I quickly returned to my room gathered my camera, camcorder, tripod, heavy coat, hat and gloves. I was going to capture this breathtaking spectacle above me. I didn’t want any interference of light from the village, so I confidently walked the deserted streets to the waterfront. In front of me the water deep black in color sucking any light into its briny depths. I ignored the huge sign that stated do not go beyond this sign, Polar Bears present. Boldly I walked forward and then it suddenly hit me I know nothing of these beasts habits. Are they nocturnal? I talked myself out of venturing any further and returned to the hotel.

The following morning I related the story to the biologist assigned to our group. He then retold a story I hadn’t heard before about a man who has a little too much of that good Canadian booze and wandered into a derelict building to scavenge for some food late one night. The next day they followed the blood trail where they found his head. Obviously I was pleased now with my decision not to venture further toward the water.

During the next few days we witnessed bears wandering down the roadways as dog s might do in your neighborhood. There is a jail for the bears, if a bear comes into the city proper they are jailed and fed whatever is available on the outside at the time of the arrest. An interesting side note, should an offending bear while incarcerated the bears go out to sea in search of food, the offending bear after the jail term is tranquilized and airlifted out to the ice floes. Here the bear is released. The animal is watched until it awakens and acts normally before the jailers/scientists leave.

This adventure was terrific and I would urge you to experience the wonders of nature in the wilds of northern Manitoba.

The Bald Guy

If you have an experience please share them with others in the comments section.