India Heads North

Traveling to Canada’s north in winter is basically like opening your freezer door and climbing inside. Have you ever had a burning desire to sit down beside your frozen chicken thighs and ice cubes? “Of course not”, you say. Well, you’re right — it’s pretty much insane. Most sensible Canadians wouldn’t even consider a trip to the frozen tundra. At this time of year, they’re all booking vacations to relax among the beaches and palm trees of Mexico, California, Florida and the Caribbean. I’ve been sent an email listing the names and home cities of my fellow travelers on this photography trip — I see only Americans and one person from Northern Ireland. I am the lone Canadian. Hmmm…

So what’s the payoff for trudging through snow dressed like the Michelin Man? It’s the unusual chance to see the “king of the Arctic” — the polar bear — in its home environment. The only polar bear I’ve seen in recent memory is the one that lives at the Singapore Zoo. He lives in a large beautiful enclosure and looks quite content, for a bear in captivity. But still, there is something not quite right about a polar bear living in Singapore. What if the air-conditioning breaks down?

Polar bears are solitary animals, yet at this time of year they gather together near Churchill, Manitoba, waiting for the ice to freeze over on Hudson Bay. Once that happens, they will quickly disappear onto the ice floes for their winter seal-hunting season, making the window of opportunity to photograph the apex predator of the north a comparatively short one.

I will be staying in a mobile “tundra lodge”, which looks more like a train than a lodge. The tundra lodge has been placed well beyond the outskirts of town, in an area of high polar bear density. Based there, we’ll hopefully see and be able to photograph the bears 24/7. I’ll share the photos with you…


4 Comments on “India Heads North

  1. It’s on my bucket list. I know you will take some stupendous pictures. Have a great trip!

    • Thank you, Phyllis! Churchill is an interesting little town filled with colorful characters — I’m sure you’d like it. And this is a good year for bears so I’m hoping for some great shots!!

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