November 2, 2007:
Yesterday, our friend Thomas arrived from Germany. We picked him up from the airport in our rental truck in the morning and a few hours later, after checking him into Duncan's Den Bed and Breakfast we were driving out looking for polar bears.
It was snowing lightly and it seemed that the bears were tucked up cozy warm somewhere out of wind and out of sight. We only saw one polar bear on Thomas's first day which was way off in the distance - lounging on the icy beach. The bear saw (or heard) us and moved further away, so we decided to leave him in peace and continue our search but saw no others that day.
Today our jet lagged pal Thomas was up bright and early and raring to go. He only had a few days to experience the polar bears, so straight after breakfast we headed out with Rolf at the helm of the truck. We returned to the same location where we'd seen the one bear yesterday hoping that it might have moved closer, but no such luck - in fact it was no where to be seen.
We decided to do our usual circuit since that was where we'd had the most success in finding the polar bears so far. Turning up the side road, we stopped to scan with area through the binoculars and I spotted the rear end of a bear scratching around Dopey's old bush. Excitement broke out in our truck as we organised ourselves for the encounter, then proceeded along the road to the bushes. At first the bear was startled by our arrival and moved away but as soon as we were in position, shut down the engine, and sat, he returned to forage some more. This bear definitely wasn't our Dopey, he was a lot larger and looked quite different. We stayed with him for a while but he spent most of the time with his head in the bushes so wasn't such a great poser as Dopey, then eventually he came out of the bushes but started to walk away.
We tracked him for a while as he headed towards Hudson Bay and another portion of the road. Once we caught up to him he stopped in his tracks and in the end turned around and went in the opposite direction, nearly back to the spot where we'd first met up with him. On our way back around the road Rolf spotted yet another bear .... correction, actually it was a sow with her two cubs. This was the first time in over a week that we'd seen more than one bear in this area. Unfortunately, the trio were very easily spooked and as soon as they saw us they ran ... albeit not completely out of sight but far enough away that we couldn't photograph them effectively. We decided we'd never be able to get close enough to these three so turned our attention back to our original model who was on the move again. This time he was further than we thought and was already crossing the road when we turned up, and as soon as we arrived he ran off into the thickets.
That was pretty much the extent of our polar bear watching today - we checked out a few other locations but there were no other bears to be seen and when we returned to see the Sow with her cubs they were still easily spooked!
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