2012 Polar Bear Trip – Day 3

Posted on by Steve

Now it gets serious.

The day started with a quick breakfast and the bundled-up group of us heading out to the shuttle bus, gear in hand. Stepping out of the hotel into the arctic air certainly grabs your attention. When asking about the temps, numbers like -30C, -35C are tossed around (-21F to -30F). That’s when Grant has his first Polar Bear encounter. The timing was awkward too, as he was just moments ago making fun of this guy’s mother…

After a short drive, we arrive at the Polar Rovers. These monstrous vehicles will serve as our chariot across the open tundra and are amazingly impressive. Situated on a set of six, five and a half foot tires sits a giant bus-like vehicle. It’s wider then your typical school bus and features a “porch” off the back for photography and observation. Each of the monstrous tires are drive wheels, making it a 6 wheel drive off road machine!

Here’s an interior shot (the video will show you the outside)

We take our seats and the game begins!

As we make our way across the tundra, Colby (our guide), explains that the ice has started to form in earnest and when that happens the bears (who haven’t eaten since late June) are more than a little eager to race back to the frozen ocean and find themselves a seal dinner.

Needless to say, the bay icing up is a source of worry.

Still, we continue on, carefully scanning the tundra for any signs of bear. We decide to head towards the “Tundra Lodge”, a portable, temporary “hotel” created by hooking up several giant trailers together (that also sit on top of five and a half foot wheels).

As we approach, we see our first bear!

He’s a big guy, lumbering along towards the lodge (they get curious about it). All eyes are fixed on our new found friend and I’m amazed at just how large these bears really are. I quickly snap off a few shots as the bear makes his way towards the lodge. Make sure you check out the video below – Grant managed some cool clips.

We move the rover to the lodge and watch with excitement as the bear examines the area. You can almost hear him asking, “Hey, what is this thing?” as he pokes around the exterior.

The air is full of the sounds of frantic shutter clicks each time he’s in an open area, and I’m certainly popping off my fair share of frames.

It’s not long before another bear joins him, but this guy keeps to the thick willows and we never really do get a good shot at him.

We decide to linger for awhile and see what happens. Lunch is served and as we have our sandwiches and soup, we chat excitedly about the morning’s adventure. What a way to start your day! It’s safe to say both Grant and I had stupid grins plastered across our faces.

The bear decides he’s had it with all the attention and makes his departure.  Since the other guy seems pretty settled in for the day, we fire up the Polar Rover and look to greener (err, whiter?) pastures.

Our efforts aren’t overly successful, however we do stumble across another bear bedded down in an area of willows. He’s kind of ~ sort of ~ interested, so his head lazily pops up from time to time – each head bob is greeted by a flurry of shutter clicks of course! (See video)

As the sun starts looking more seriously towards the horizon, we head in, thrilled to have seen our first Polar Bears!

(Although, the photos I captured that day aren’t really as good as the next few days, so they didn’t get posted – hey I’m picky – but there is a cool photo below)

As evening approached, the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) were coming out in full force! (We’d later learn from the locals that is was one of the best displays in recent memory.) So, instead of the planned talk after dinner it was off to the inukshuk for some photography! What’s an inukshuk? This:

Overall, a pretty fantastic day in the arctic! Check out the video – way better than the one on the last post 😀

(Keep in mind that it was shot almost exclusively from the Polar Rover and that thing bounces constantly – even when it’s stopped people moving around cause a lot of movement. Still fun to watch – and hey, not bad for an 11 year old!)


PS – As always you comments and feedback are appreciated :)

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9 Responses to 2012 Polar Bear Trip – Day 3

  1. Raymond Evans says:

    You guys and gals are having way to much fun………

  2. jack higgins says:

    Wow!!! Really nicely done……loved the close up of the bear……never realized just how big they are……nice shots

  3. mattie says:

    Love the top one… If I were you, I wouldnt put a mat on it, Id use a green as close to a dark emerald as you can get… 1″ oval metal frame. Sometimes, those white mats take away from the beauty of the pic. but I love that shot. Never knew those bears were so high shoulder height… can only imagine what they are standing on hind legs.. What keeps the pads of the bears feet from freezing?

  4. Gloria says:

    I think I have waited for this trip as much as you. Good shots so far and am anxious for more. Grant is doing a nice job with the videos, improving all the time.

  5. Grace says:

    Trust you appreciate how awesome God is. HE is the only one that could create a view like the Northern Lights. Thanks so much for including that picture. Enjoyed the bears. They`re as white as the snow. Glad you were chosen for the trip.

  6. Betty says:

    Absolutely amazing adventure that both you and Grant can share together! A life time opportunity to view the wonders that God has created. Great video

  7. LAGraham says:

    Totally enjoy and appreciate your photos. videos and blog. Can’t decide which I enjoy and appreciate more – that or the fantastic rapport you and Grant obviously share. It’s always a joy to visit your blog.

  8. Beverly says:

    Thank you for sharing your Polar Bear trip with us. I so love all your pictures of these magnificent animals but the one of the shaking off the snow is superior of all your superior ones. Awesome job.

  9. grant says:

    thanks for mentioning me in the comments its so cool to me to see my name

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