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Canadian Arctic: Wildlife of Hudson Bay: Belugas, Birds and Polar Bears

At the present time EcoQuest Travel does not have a trip to the Canadian Arctic scheduled. The following itinerary is an example of trips we have conducted in the past and is similar to trips we intend to offer in the future. Please keep in mind that the Canadian Arctic is a vast wilderness and EcoQuest Travel offers several different itineraries to this remote part of the world – the trip listed below is just one example. If you are interested in the Canadian Arctic, or the Arctic in general, as a destination please contact us for further information.

Wildlife of Hudson Bay: Belugas, Birds and Polar Bears

Journey into the Canadian Arctic

11-DAY ITINERARY


Saturday, July 1: Denver to Winnipeg, Manitoba

We will arrive at Denver International Airport no later than two hours prior to our scheduled departure time for our flight to Winnipeg, Manitoba. We will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the Fort Whyte Center. The Fort Whyte Center is a premier outdoor education and recreation facility located on over 400 acres of woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and lakes. We will have a barbecue supper, an evening canoe/kayak paddle and a campfire. We will overnight at the Fort Whyte Center. (D)

Sunday, July 2: Fort Whyte Center and Winnipeg

After breakfast we will have an interactive program on Canada’s prairie past. We will journey back in time to a pioneer sod house, a Native American teepee encampment and a buffalo drive lane and pound. We will also have a chance to throw an atlatl. We will have lunch on the lakeside patio at the Fort Whyte Center. After lunch we will leave Fort Whyte for a tour of downtown Winnipeg including a visit to the Manitoba Museum. This evening we will explore a bit of French Canadian culture by dining on French cuisine at a local restaurant. Tonight we will overnight at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel. (B,L,D)

Monday, July 3: Winnipeg to Churchill

After breakfast at our hotel we will depart for the airport and our 8:45 a.m. flight to Churchill. We will arrive at 11:25 and begin with a tour of Churchill including a visit to the world-renowned Eskimo Museum. Churchill is located on the southern shore of Hudson Bay and definitely has the feel of a northern frontier town. For dinner we will dine at a restaurant in Churchill and after dinner we will have a presentation by Parks Canada. The equivalent of our US National Park Service, Parks Canada will show us a series of films on the history, culture and wildlife of the Canadian Arctic. Tonight we will overnight at the Tundra Inn. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, July 4: Wapusk National Park

Today we will head out in a tundra buggy to explore the wonders of the tundra in Wapusk National Park. A representative from Parks Canada will be with us to explain the management and environmental impact of tourist related activities in Wapusk NP. This will be our first real glimpse of the Arctic and we could see Arctic fox, tundra wild flowers and many species of nesting birds. After a barbecue picnic lunch in the Park we will return to Churchill for dinner and overnight at the Tundra Inn. (B,L,D)

Wednesday, July 5: Churchill – Hudson Bay Home to the White Whales

In the Arctic summer Hudson Bay is home to huge numbers of beluga whales and we will take advantage of this fact by taking a boat out to see them. We could be surrounded by hundreds of these beautiful whales as they enter the shallows of Hudson Bay to feed. In the afternoon we will have a tour with Conservation Manitoba and after dinner at a local restaurant we will have the privilege of having a Native American artist join us for an evening of traditional story telling. We will overnight again at the Tundra Inn. (B,L,D)

Thursday, July 6: Churchill and our Charter Flight to Seal River

After breakfast we will board our charter flight to Seal River on the western shore of Hudson Bay. Our charter flight will offer a fantastic aerial adventure as we follow the coast of Hudson Bay. From the air we should see spectacular sightings of huge pods of beluga whales, seals, caribou, flocks of birds and polar bears. We will arrive at the Seal River Heritage Lodge in time for lunch and to meet our hosts, Mike and Jeanne Reimer. The Lodge will be our home for the next several days and is situated at the Seal River Estuary – a favorite summer haunt for the great white bears, where they can be seen swimming or basking along the waters edge. Seal River Lodge has incredible accommodations with beautifully decorated viewing lounges and well-appointed rooms. The Lodge is equipped with hot and cold running water and has electricity. Meals are gourmet and sumptuous! (B,L,D)

Thursday, July 6 – Sunday, July 9: Seal River Heritage Lodge and the Home of the Ice Bear

Over the next several days we will have a wide variety of wilderness adventures in tune with the rhythm of the land and sea and designed to maximize our opportunity to view Arctic wildlife. Wildlife moves according to nature’s schedule of tides, winds, temperature, food supply etc. and we will adjust our own schedules to coincide. Some of the adventures we will partake of are outlined below. (B,L,D)

Marine Tours:Tides and weather permitting we will have at least three boat expeditions to view beluga whales, seals, seabirds and polar bears. Marine tours are conducted in large nine man inflatable boats that will allow a safe, but close, approach to wildlife. We should see hundreds of whales per outing!! Belugas are very curious and social and will often investigate visitors by swimming right up to the boats allowing for great views and perhaps even a friendly pat on the head. It is rare to get this close to whales and certainly will be an experience of a lifetime. We also should see plenty of polar bears as they hunt for prey.

Trekking/Walking Tours: We will have the chance to get out onto the tundra to experience this vast landscape up close and personal. These treks may be as simple as a quick jaunt to photograph a passing caribou or a day trip with a packed lunch. In either case excursions on foot are the perfect way to get close to nesting birds, Arctic fox dens, wild flowers and caribou.

Whale Swim: We will have the incredibly rare opportunity to swim with the belugas! For those that wish to do so we will take the ultimate plunge and join the belugas in their watery world of Hudson Bay. We will wear either wet or dry suits to protect us from the frigid water.

Bird Watching: With over 150 species of birds nesting and residing on the tundra and along the coastline the Arctic offers the chance to see many birds not easily seen elsewhere. The Arctic tundra is one of the most important breeding areas for birds in North America and huge numbers of geese, ducks, loons, shorebirds, raptors and songbirds descend on tundra each spring and summer. All these eggs and nestlings also provide ample food for Arctic foxes and we should see the nest raiders at work.

Others:Among the other opportunities we will have while at Seal River: a chance to explore the Hudson Bay coast by buggy; a wildlife photography workshop designed to help you maximize your trip photos; sea kayaking or canoeing – just the sound of the water dripping off your paddle mixing with the sounds of the belugas (often called Sea Canaries because of their song-like vocalizations) will be awe inspiring; if we’re lucky we could see the aurora borealis dancing across the Arctic night – even if the aurora eludes us the sky will be spectacular as the stars sweep from horizon to horizon and shine brightly in the absence of lights.

Monday, July 10: Seal River back to Churchill and on to Winnipeg

This morning, after breakfast we will have one last chance to walk on the tundra before boarding our charter flight back to Churchill. Have your cameras ready as the flight back to Churchill should again provide great opportunities for excellent aerial shots. We will have lunch in Churchill and have the afternoon free for last minute souvenir shopping. After dinner we will board our flight from Churchill to Winnipeg arriving in Winnipeg by 9:30 p.m. We will overnight at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel. (B,L,D)

Tuesday, July 11: Winnipeg to Denver

We will transfer to the airport for our flight back to Denver and home.

* Please note that EcoQuest Travel, Inc. will make every effort to adhere to this itinerary, but dates, times, activities and prices are subject to change depending on scheduling and availability.