2012 Polar Bear Trip Day 5

Posted on by Steve

Wind & Snow.

That’s all we saw when we glanced out of our hotel room this morning. It’s blowing like crazy today, dropping the windchill to -40! Youch! It’s cold for sure, but hey those Polar Bears aren’t going to photograph themselves, so off we go!

I gotta say, the normally uneventful shuttle bus ride to the Polar Rover was much more interesting this morning. At times visibility was better measured in inches than feet. How the driver kept the shuttle bus on the road is a testament to the winter driving ability of the Churchill folks.

Upon our safe arrival, we make the quick transition from the shuttle to the Polar Rover – it was only 20 yards, but the wind and snow were so intense you had to go on feel as much as sight. My pants were coated in snow a matter of seconds – wow! – (Check out the video to really get a feel for how crazy the weather was)

The bad thing with wind at this level of ferocity is that the bears don’t like it anymore than we do and tend to bed down and allow themselves to become “drifted over” for protection.

Yeah, makes it hard to get a shot!

As the wind howled outside the rover, we drove across the tundra in total awe – it was really something to see. Waves of snow would pass over the ice and blow off the tops of drifts. The forecast promised it would die down by late morning / early afternoon –  and they nailed it.

However, we hadn’t seen a bear yet. Had they all gone to the ice? It was a distinct possibility. Once the ice is supports their weight, they can literally be gone overnight – and in fact the VAST majority had already left. The few we’d seen over the last few days were merely stragglers.

As we patrolled the coast, hopeful for just one more bear, we spotted some of the other Polar Rovers and Tundra Buggys off in the distance. As we pulled up, we couldn’t tell what they were looking at – until a big ‘ole bear popped his head up!

Our driver positioned us as best he could – pretty much every rover and buggy on the tundra had congregated for this one lone bear. However, his positioning couldn’t have been better.

It wasn’t long before the bear stood up and walked off – and what had been a poor spot five minutes ago became the best place on the tundra! As he passed behind the vehicles, backlit by the sun, I snapped off some of (what I think are) the best photos of the trip.


As he wandered off then out towards the ice, we made our way back to Polar Rover HQ – ahh, but the fun wasn’t over just yet.

On a straight stretch of trail Ward (our driver) stopped the Polar Rover and word was passed back that he needed Grant up front. You can imagine my 11 year old son’s surprise when Ward let him sit in the drivers seat!

“You wanna drive?” Ward asked Grant.


So after a quick lesson Grant was driving the Polar Rover down the trail with everyone in the vehicle cheering him on! See the video for the full adventure.

Soon, Ward was back in control and we were back at our shuttle bus.

That evening was a fantastic dinner and prevention from our guide Colby. Our last day on the tundra was over, but we still had some time tomorrow morning. Stay tuned – still some cool stuff left!

You GOTTA see this video – it’s the best of the trip!




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17 Responses to 2012 Polar Bear Trip Day 5

  1. BevRR says:

    wonderful pictures

  2. G Peterson says:

    You obviously enjoy what you do; great job!

  3. mary l says:

    What a great trip this has been for both you & Grant.
    He is becoming a pro with his video work.
    Thanks so much for sharing this.
    mary l.

  4. Ann Woodall says:

    Thanks for transporting me to a place I cannot see otherwise. Beautiful!

  5. Jerolee Searles says:

    I have really enjoyed this expedition. There are always days when not much happens, but you alwaus make them interesting. Love all of the Polar Bear shots.Grant did well driving.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Jerolee S.

  6. S Drake says:

    Wow, These photos and video are amazing. Thank you for sharing views most of us will never see otherwise. Muchly appreciated.

  7. Patricia says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!!! You have such wonderful adventures and beautiful pictures!!!! I thoroughly enjoy them!!

    Patricia R

  8. Pattyann Oscoda, MI says:

    You are doing what so many of us wish we could do. There is very few things on my bucket list, but Alaska is number one. You & Grant make a good team & he is one lucky 11year old. He’s with his Dad & having all these adventures.

  9. Jane says:

    It’s going to be hard for Grant to wait til he is of age to start driving a vehicle. How are you going to handle that, dad? Grant’s videoing is getting better. I am sure you had to cut a bit out seeing how rough the ride is in the rover and trying to hold a camera still at the same time. Impressive, Grant. I sure wouldn’t be able to let my husband and son go on this type of trip without me. I would be at the head of the line. Love your trips.

  10. Linda says:

    Your photography skills are impressive. I like how you’ve worked with the photos and captured the essence of polar bears. Keep the cool pics coming.

  11. Cody says:

    Such beautiful images and what an awesome trip to take.

  12. Antoinette says:

    Just to let you know that I am Deaf and could not understand what Grant said in his hotel room. But I like the captioned later in the film and see the reaction on Grant in the Polar rover. I love what Grant are doing in the Polar rover and it is very beautiful to see the Polar bears in their habitat. I have never been up far North like the Arctic Circle. Good video. Thank you for showing it to me. **thumb up**

  13. A. says:

    Love the fotos!!! Awesome animals.
    Have a wonderful holiday.

  14. Mary Ann Swartz says:

    Just looking at the video made me wish for Spring. Looks like you and Grant had an wonderful trip. What an experience for a 11year old. Loved the pics from this day of the bears.

  15. weebit says:

    Very nice pics. Do you ever get scared that they could run after you?

  16. Jenny says:

    Very Nice video,everything is in it, makes me jalousie.Wel I am still. Young. You never knowhow. Rose ,Steve and the kinds have à Nice Christus And à happy new year. Jenny(NL).

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