The day dawned crisp, clear and cold, and the landscape around Churchill was breathtaking in its rugged beauty, the sea deep blue, with dark rocks standing out amongst the pristine snow, illuminated by the warm low angled sun. We saw a candlestick sunset, reportedly a common occurrence in Churchill but a real spectacle, where the sun creates a vertical line up into the sky. Earlier we were treated to more polar bear viewings, and close display of a red fox. Some may think that by now the sheer wonder of encountering bears may have faded somewhat. This could not be further from the truth: I was heartbroken as I realised watching the sunset that I would not see any more until next year's trip.
After fortuitously making the train Chuck started to talk. He retold stories from his life long work with bears. This included the time when he was bitten on the arm after a tranquillised bear he was working on woke up, and the details of when his colleague Frank fell through the roof of an occupied polar bear den. He also had some great stories of earlier Churchill trips, when attitudes were even laxer than they are now and there had been talk of lighting a camp fire in the dining car during a wide late night party on the train. Chuck held the attention of all those round him for over two hours, and his sense of humour is as great as the breadth of his experiences. He is also passionate about education: for example telling us that the adaptation where polar bears necks are wider than their head becomes more pronounced west and east from the population in the Bering Sea.
|Beach on Hudson Bay|
|Helicopter in the early morning at the Center|
|Front Entrance of the Northern Studies Center|
|Silver- the bear dog and a real friend on the trip|
Polar Bear Jail (with Chuck)
Beth at Gypsies
Polar Bear Traps
|Candlestick Sunset just before the bus broke down|