Last week my husband Tim took me on a trip of a lifetime for my birthday! I have always wanted to go to Churchill, Manitoba to see the Beluga Whales and with us living so close, yet so far from this amazing place we finally just said ‘Let’s Go!” If you have never heard of Churchill then please continue reading this journal about this amazing trip, you won’t regret it. Tourist travel from all over the world to experience the beauty of this land and to see the animals that inhabit this area. So first…where is Churchill? Well it is located in Northern Manitoba on the shore of Hudson’s Bay at the mouth of the Churchill River. As the crow flies is it 600km from us but there are no roads to Churchill. The only way to get there is by train or by plane. We chose plane so had to drive 750km south to Winnipeg to fly 1000km north to Churchill.
Churchill has three main tourist season depending on what you want to experience. If you want to see the Polar Bears visit in Oct to Nov, if you want to see Belugas late June to late August is the best viewing and if you want to see the Northern Lights Nov to March are your best chances to see them. Here is a great link to answer other questions about Churchill.
We stayed at the Lazy Bear Lodge and did the Beluga Whale Dream Tour.
For our first day we went on a three hour Heritage Tour of Churchill. Our guide was very knowledgeable and I enjoyed her passion for the local plant life, we learnt a lot! Our first stop was Cape Merry which is right at the mouth of the Churchill River at Hudson’s Bay. You can see Fort Prince of Whales across the river and we stood at the Cape Merry Cannon Battery to enjoy the view.
I was pleasantly surprised to see a set of Parks Canada red Adirondack chairs at this location. You can learn about those here.
Since Tim and I are both geologists we loved the rocky landscape which has been shaped by the glaciers.
Our guide had a keen eye and noticed something across the river by the Fort. We got out our binoculars and sure enough it was a polar bear. The fact you can see it from that far away tells you just how large these animals. We were not expecting to see the polar bears so I was just excited to see that! Well I had no idea what was in store for us the next day and I will just say I got two trips in one! If you follow me on IG then you will know already what I saw but I’ll save that for my next post!
Also from this location you could see hundreds of belugas swimming and feeding at the mouth of the river. All those little white dots are the whales. Again I was thrilled to see that but the next day we were getting up close and personal!
The tundra was in full bloom while we are there. The Northern Hedysarum had just passed it peak but still beautiful, I can’t remember the white flowers name but it was just finishing as well.
Our next stop was to see Miss Piggy, a name the locals have given this crashed cargo plane. Here is a link to the story.
Our guide, who carries a shot gun and air horn, told us to wait by the van until she had made sure there were no polar bears hiding near by. She walked up onto the wing and started jumping up and down which made quite the noise! Once it was all clear our group of 9 people walked up onto the wing and entered the plane through the window. We checked out the inside and then leaped out the door on the other side and jumped from the outcrop to the wing.
One of the engines as sitting in the rocks beside the plane and our guide was curious how this particular engine worked. Tim knew it was a rotary engine and gave her a lesson on how it worked.
Then our last stop was the Polar Bear Jail. No inhabitants here yet but I’m sure it will be filling up soon after what we experienced the next day. But I’ll save that for my next post. I took about 600 photos so have some more editing to do and will need to break this adventure up into a few posts.
After our afternoon tour we headed back to the lodge for a supper of Arctic Char, so yummy! Here is a picture of the lodge restaurant, very cozy and warm. The temperature the first day was 13’c and sunny so a very pleasant day.
I’ll be posting more soon!