Churchill or Svalbard?
As the summer months of the northern hemisphere come to an end, polar bears in the North American arctic area are waiting for the waters of Hudson Bay to refreeze so that they can get back onto the ice and start their hunt for ringed seals; stocking up on the much needed food energy they need to survive the harsh winters. The Hudson Bay will normally freeze over towards the end of November and so for roughly six weeks before this happens large numbers of bears are waiting in this area, almost guaranteeing sightings!
Here you will find single males, who will spa with each other maybe out of boredom rather than fighting for territory and mothers with cubs, waiting for their first decent meal since giving birth. Polar bears are quite curious animals and will often approach the vehicles to examine what we are and if there is a chance of food. This provides excellent sightings and quite often you will come face to face with these majestic creatures. Once the bay has frozen over the bears head north and often not seen until the next summer.
Polar Bears live in Svalbard all year round with the estimated population of bears slightly higher than the population of people. Again during the winter months the polar bears are out on the sea ice hunting for seals, but once this ice has melted some of the bears will remain on land, missing the departure of the ice. At this time it is possible to attempt to cruise around the island of Svalbard and this is when our ships will set off with expeditions running throughout June and July. The bears that are stuck on land can often be seen roaming the shores looking for any food they can find, which is normally the carcasses of whales.
Although sightings are quite probable, the vastness of the area and because some of the bear population has followed the ice northwards bears are never a guarantee. Although most people’s aim when travelling to Svalbard is to see polar bears, if sightings are few, people rarely come back disappointed. With towering mountain peaks and glaciers, a rich array of wildlife and stunning scenery, an expedition around the islands of Svalbard always excites.
Back to Arctic Canada FAQs
Speak to one of our consultants now:
Call from UK +44(0)1273 691 642
Toll Free from US 1866 357 6569
Call from Australia 1800 66 8890
Tell us about your holiday requirements to receive an itinerary tailored to your needs and interests: