"Likeness of a person" in Inuit
Churchill is a small, bleak town
Gypsy's is one of the top restaurants, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Warning signs surround the town.
Polar bears sometimes lie down among the rocks, so one can literally walk to within a few feet of a bear and not know it's there until it is too late.
Our group got around town in these green school buses.
Taken from a helicopter.
The Tundra Buggy Lodge
One can stay in a motel in town or the Tundra Buggy Lodge, a mobile home kind of facility where the bears come to you.
We arrived in an approaching storm, with high winds and sleet that would turn into a blizzard overnight. The bears had been inactive, waiting for the onset of cold weather, so our timing was perfect.
His white camouflage wouldn't help until the the overnight blizzard. We spotted him from 100 yards away (and missed the polar bear warning signs in scrambling to get the picture).
Tundra Buggy as seen from the air
It's like a double-wide bus on a large truck chassis to keep the windows high enough that the bears can't reach them.
Don't try this at home.
The bus driver and bear guide understands their behavior. Still it's risky to lure them this close.
Inside the buggies is the only warm place in Churchill.
Tundra Buggy with a trailer.
People bring their A-game when they travel so far to photograph polar bears.
My good friend Doug Mader
He lives in the Florida Keys and is not used to cold weather. Churchill was far colder than we experienced in Antarctica.
First Polar Bear
The blizzard that struck overnight excited the heavily insulated and overheated bears and got them up and moving.
It's windy on the tundra
Thin bear is eager for the ice to form so he can hunt seals.
Digging Frozen Fish
This hungry bear resorts to chewing frozen stickleback fish out of the ice while an arctic fox hopes for scraps.
Fax Waiting for Leftovers
Standing Tall for a Better View of an Approaching Bear
The smaller bear in the foreground beat a hasty retreat while submissively yawning to avoid provoking the approaching larger bear.
Submissive body language in a smaller bear.
Polar bear fur is yellowish, not snow white. Their skin is black and so is their tongue.
Checking out the Tundra Buggy
Scratching for frozen fish in the ice.
Polar bear yellowish fur actually stands out from the snow, making them easy to spot.
Common in town, taking the scavenging niche of the absent raccoon. Different from the arctic fox.
The guide told us these were right next to us and it still took me a couple minutes to spot them.
When bears get too close to town they are captured in traps like this one, with Cathy Connelly and Howie Mitzner.
Polar Bear Jail
Moving problem bears out of town
When the jail is full, the bears are sedated, suspended in nets below a helicopter, and flown a long distance north of town to discourage them from coming back.
Two bears being flown out of town.
The Chase Helicopter
Several in our group followed in a second helicopter so they could witness the release. That's Doug Mader in the shotgun seat.
The vast tundra and Hudson Bay
As seen from a helicopter
Hudson Bay shore