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.
As 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.
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.
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.