On this journey, get amazingly close to a multitude of friendly and vocal beluga whales while exploring the Hudson Bay by flat-bottomed boat or skiff. During the summer, these curious mammals are often found in warm-water areas, making this an ideal place to see them. Also, during summer, polar bears can sometimes be spotted roaming for food along the shoreline, while waiting for the ice to form again. The expert guidance of an Orbridge Expedition Leader and a local naturalist, plus exclusive educational experiences distinguish this program.
View details and reserve online: https://orbridge.com/grp_departures/overview/partner_university_of_texas_texas_exes_polar_bears_belugas_2022
ITINERARY NOTE: You are embarking on an adventure where daily activities will be determined by weather, opportunities to view wildlife, and other various elements that make up the incredibly diverse Arctic summer. Guests will receive a daily itinerary while in Churchill, which will be flexible and updated frequently. The itinerary below is a general listing of activities and excursions that may happen during any part of the program.
Day 1: Arrive Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada / Assiniboine Park Zoo – Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Welcome to Canada! Join fellow travelers for a warm welcome, then step out for a special evening reception in the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s underwater viewing tunnels. Observe polar bears and seals as they swim in the crystal clear pools above you. A three-course meal with wine is served under the dancing Northern Lights in the Aurora Borealis Theatre. Following dinner, enjoy a presentation on the magnificent polar bears.
Overnight: Fort Garry Hotel & Spa (R,D)
Day 2: Winnipeg / Flight to Churchill / Cultural and Heritage Tour – Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Arrive in beautiful Churchill after a morning flight and transfer to the Lazy Bear Lodge. Enjoy a Cultural and Heritage Tour where you’ll have guided site visits of the town’s waterfront area, Miss Piggy Plane Crash, Polar Bear “Jail,” and Cape Merry.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3: Churchill / Boat Tour / Prince of Wales Fort / Dog Mushing – Thursday, July 28, 2022
Board Zodiac boats with your Orbridge Expedition Leader for a 3-hour tour of the Churchill River/Hudson Bay area to learn more about the 60,000 beluga whales that inhabit the area. Visit the Prince of Wales Fort, built to protect the business interests of the Hudson’s Bay Company. After lunch, you may choose to explore the area on foot, including several galleries and shops carrying local indigenous art from the Canadian Arctic, or you may select to participate in one of the following two optional excursions available for purchase:
A) 3-Hour Kayaking Tour ($160 per person): Includes a single or double kayak, paddles, wet suit, life jacket, transfers, and an experienced guide. This is an intermediate-level kayaking excursion and includes limited instruction. It is not recommended for beginners.
B) 3-Hour Arctic AquaGliding Tour ($200 per person): Take advantage of an exciting and unique way to see beluga whales, getting up close and personal without being submerged underwater. Climb atop an AquaGlider—a floating mat secured to a watercraft—for a tour around the bay. (A dry suit and all necessary equipment will be provided.)
Optional excursions must be booked in advance through Orbridge’s Guest Services team. Availability is limited. Excursions and pricing are subject to change and non-refundable within 90 days of departure.
This evening, meet an energetic team of sled dogs and their experienced handler. Learn about these industrious animals and the important role they play in the heritage of this remote region. Then, get ready for your own exciting dog mushing experience.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B)
Day 4: Churchill / Hudson Bay Coastal Tour – Friday, July 29, 2022
Today we explore the Hudson Bay area during a full-day water excursion aboard a custom designed wildlife viewing vessel—led by your naturalist leader and boat captain. The shoreline of this entire area is a rich ecosystem of life, home to a diverse group of animals. Polar bears, belugas, caribou, and more than 270 species of birds have been recorded. Harbor, bearded, and ringed seals also thrive here and are the polar bears’ primary food source when the bay is frozen. Stop at Seal River, a favorite polar bear gathering spot.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B,L)
Day 5: Churchill / Arctic Crawler Experience / Itsanitaq Museum – Saturday, July 30, 2022
Grab your camera, board your expedition vehicle, and head to stark yet beautiful landscapes, stopping to enjoy the scenery and search for wildlife. Your expert naturalist will provide details on the wildlife, vegetation, and ecosystem of the Arctic tundra. After lunch, visit the well-known local Itsanitaq Museum to learn more about the indigenous population and its rich history and culture. While downtown, take some free time to explore on your own.
Overnight: Lazy Bear Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 6: Churchill / Flight to Winnipeg – Sunday, July 31, 2022
After breakfast, visit the Churchill Northern Studies Centre before transferring to the airport for a charter flight to Winnipeg for a farewell reception with your fellow travelers.
Overnight: Hilton Winnipeg Airport Suites (B,L-aloft,R)
Day 7: Depart Winnipeg – Monday, August 1, 2022
Enjoy breakfast, then bid a fond farewell to Canada and head to the airport for flights home. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception
(Itinerary subject to change.)
Activity Level: Moderate
Guests should be sure-footed on stairs, ramps, and small vessels, and able to walk on uneven ground without assistance. Skiffs provide the mode for much of the exploration on this program and guests should be sure-footed to enter/exit the vessel.