Polar Bear Blog – Southern Man

Well, the south winds arrived. I am not sure if it is enough, but they are here. Today, there was ice out to the horizon east of Churchill yet near town, the pancake ice had broken up and floated out to sea. There are still about twenty bears being seen in buggyland but some are close and some are far out on the ice. Its all up in the air now, folks. We’ll see tomorrow…

Today, though was pretty awesome. It was the film crew’s last day and I guess mine too (I’ll probably hang out at the cabin with my dogs rather than chase bears…). We went in search of polar bears and found a few. There was a young mother and two two year old cubs walking down the road. They meandered for a while, checking out a house, knocking over a few roadside markers and eventually walking right up to our van. Emboldened by the cold (and our silence), the female stood up against the van, paws on the driver’s door and her nose against the window, looking down at me. I must say it was pretty wild, the closest I’ve been to a bear, one pump and she could have knocked the driver’s window out. Close enough to see her nostrils flaring and blood shot eyes thinking about what to do.

I kicked the starter over and she stepped back, only for the male cub to walk up and try his luck. He stood up, stepped back as his mom investigated the back wheels. Confident and fat, she moved back up to the driver’s window, stood up and looked again. Once more, I turned the starter but this time, she only stepped down, not back. We looked at each other for a bit and then paused, I waited for her stutter step (a sign that she’s about to jump back up and pump the window with her paws). She stuttered her step and I started the van, enough for her to huff and chuff at her cubs and shuffle away. That’s a pretty good day.

After that, it took about half an hour for the adrenaline to work through my system and the film crew’s, (after all that’s pretty good footage…), we filmed another bear, the coast and an ‘aerial’ view of Churchill from the port. Pretty good for a film shoot that started two days behind schedule…

But, now I’m done, back to Inuvik on Sunday, maybe I’ll go see Brian’s bears tomorrow but nothing to stressful, I’m homebound – Camp Nanuq that is… – now we just have to wait and see if the bears are homebound as well…

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