My Favorite Polar Bear Moment in Churchill, Manitoba

1000 pound polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba

Imagine seeing this coming at you out of the blowing snow. This was my first polar bear encounter in Churchill, Manitoba with Churchill Nature Tours

I arrived in Churchill, Manitoba three days ago and I’ve already gone on a helicopter flight with 24 polar bear sightings, a polar rover expedition with more than 30 bear sightings and a dog sledding adventure. Churchill is the place for wild nature lovers.

My favorite moment during the trip was my first bear sighting during the polar rover excursion. We were driving in the rover and it started to snow covering the ground with a beautiful white fluff that was picturesque.
A polar bear in the snow in Churchill, ManitobaAs I was watching the large white flakes flutter through the sky, I noticed a massive, male polar bears slowly moving through the dark bushes. He was majestic. I felt like I was watching a Coke commercial.

A polar bear walking down the street in Churchill, Manitoba

He made his way down the street and he looked serious. His gigantic paws looked even larger with all of the fur that surrounded them. They made huge impressions in the snow and on me.

A polar bear blending in the snow in Churchill, Manitoba

He got closer and closer but the falling snow and the stark white background helped him blend in to his surroundings. Sometimes when I blinked, I had to wait for my eyes to adjust to see him again and that moment was my favorite moment of the trip so far. The realization of how great a predictor he is was overwhelming.  This almost 1000 pound beast can run at speeds of up to 25 mph yet they can easily blend in or hide in their surroundings. Polar bears are aggressive, curious and actively hunt humans.

Last week, I went cage diving with great white sharks. I wasn’t even out of the cage and I was nervous. To a shark, from below, a surfer or a swimmer might get attacked because he or she looks like a really big fish. Polar bears don’t make that mistake, but they’ll eat you anyway. This one was within ten feet from me yet I was safe in the polar rover. How many people get to see a polar bear in its natural habitat without fearing for their life? This was a buckeltist moment to remember.

46 thoughts on “My Favorite Polar Bear Moment in Churchill, Manitoba

  1. Pingback: My Favorite Polar Bear Moment in Churchill, Manitoba | quirkywritingcorner

  2. Leslie, you are braver than I will ever be. I’ll go up to a growling dog, but a polar bear? Even from a balcony so high it would look like a speck I would not feel safe. These photos are so outstanding though, I almost feel like I could reach out and touch that big guy’s nose. Not even going to touch the screen though.


    • The tundra vehicles are very safe but the bears do wander into the city. We had to use extreme caution. We drove everywhere and never got out of the vehicle unless directed to do so. The company I was traveling with, Churchill Nature Tours, have never had an attack and we felt very safe, but cautious, in the community.


  3. Wow, what a fabulous opportunity! And a very memorable encounter in Churchill. We’d love to replicate your experience. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I remember what it was like seeing a lion in the wild during our African Safari, I’m sure this was a similar thrill and experience! There is nothing like seeing animals like this in the wild!


  5. Am very (did I already say very?) jealous, have been selling this trip to our customers for years now and can’t wait to experience it myself one day!


  6. Leslie, All of us are so fortunate to have you do all the exciting things you do, take great pics and take us with you on each excursion. I’ve been to places I only imagined as a follower of your trips. Polar Bears are a unique group of animals – look so loveable – but I’ll take the pictures. Will be curious to see what your Bucket List for 2016 will be. I can’t wait to go with you.


  7. Very cool…had a similar experience near Denali in Alaska. Our group had stopped for hot chocolate and to take pictures of the mountain when two grizzlies came on the run, attracted by the either the chocolate or the human smell. The guide yelled get on the mini-bus and the 12 of us scrambled back to our seats. The bears consumed the snacks and licked up the cups of cocoa we had abandoned and then stood on their hind legs, peering through the fortunately closed glass windows at lunch (us). They batted the bus a couple of time rocking it back and forth, then got bored and wandered off. A definite close encounter of a bear kind, but with a happy ending.


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