Travel to Arctic Manitoba – Episode 411

categories: canada travel

Hear about travel to Arctic Manitoba as the Amateur Traveler talks to Marybeth Bond from about her recent trip to Churchill Manitoba to see polar bears.

Sometimes when people think polar bears they think Alaska but Marybeth talks to us about the Canadian Polar area. “It’s a true wilderness area. It is miles and miles from human habitation. When you get that far up there is nothing. The silence is amazing. It’s nothing but you all the way to the North Pole. It’s so open, so raw, so wild.” They watched polar bears swimming in the water up to their zodiac and back to shore, but the tourists get locked in at night behind thick doors and barred windows least the polar bears become too interested. Marybeth says they got so close that “I could feel the polar bear’s breath, but all the time there were our guides with guns and pepper spray behind us because it is still a very wild environment.”

Marybeth has been to all 7 continents and over 100 countries and seeks out adventure travel. This was the only lodge that allowed walking tours of the polar bear habitat. “I felt a sense of adventure when I looked down from the plane as we crossed the treelike into the North American Arctic. Ahead only lay the wild open landscapes inhabited by polar bears.”

They also saw beluga whales, the “white whale with the smile”. Marybeth really wanted to go out in the Summer when she could go out in a zodiac, wear a dry suit, and swim with the whales in this area where the whales come to feed and calve. “Our guide lowered a hydrophone into the water and we heard the sound of the whales. They are nicknamed the canary whales. We heard clicks and birdlike trills and harmonics. I got instructions from the guide, got in a dry suit, climbed over the side, put my face in the water with a snorkel, and now I am being dragged slowly by the zodiac. They said ‘sing, hum, that will attract the whales’. I started to sing and all of a sudden from the gray and the cloudy water there were ghost-like shadows that floated below me. Then there were 4, 6 whales that swam into my field of vision and one of the curious fellows came right up to my face and he twirled his body below me.”

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Gutsy Traveler
Polar Regions
Churchill, Manitoba
Churchill Wild
Travel Manitoba
Beluga Whales
Seal River Heritage Lodge
A Woman’s World


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

One Response to “Travel to Arctic Manitoba – Episode 411”

Tim Tilden


I’ve listened to many of your shows but never caught the level of enthusiasm displayed by Marybeth. Singing to Beluga Whales sounds (pun intended) like a singular experience. I don’t recall one of your travelers mention the silence of a place. That intrigues me.


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