Today, our bus driver Paul took us on a tour of Churchill. He showed us the Port of Churchill, and told us that most of the grain grown in Manitoba is shipped all over the world from this port. Then we went to Fort Ann, a fort built by the British to keep the French out. While visiting the fort, we just happened to see a beluga whale in the Hudson Bay. What a thrill!
Next stop was the Polar Bear Jail. When a polar bear gets too close to town, the bear is sedated and put in the jail for 30 days, with just water, and is secluded from people. The bear is then released about 40 miles north of town. Paul described the method of capturing the bears using a safe trap. This way, the bears are not hurt in any way. I (Debbie) stood outside the concrete jail wall and could hear the polar bear pounding on the wall and I got very, very emotional. I knew this method was for the good of the bear, because the older method was to shoot the bear, but just hearing the stressed bear overwhelmed me. Later that day, they took the bear by helicopter and released him 40 miles north of town. That made me feel happy.
We ended the day, of course, with a wonderful dinner and were going to get to bed early in anticipation of our second day on the tundra and the possibility of seeing more polar bears.
Just before we got into bed there was a knock on the door. It was our wagonmaster, Tom, telling is the Northern Lights were out. We got our boots and coats on and flew out the door to see this magnificent phenomonom. Debbie was in heaven as she has always wanted to see the Northern Lights. We stayed outside for over an hour in the 29 degree temperature but it was worth it. My pictures don't do it justice.