Polar Bears at Arctic Watch
Polar bears are stunning creatures. Topping the scales at 1,500 pounds, they can be found across the high arctic and on Somerset Island. During the summer, polar bears scavenge the tundra in search of their next meals. Mother bears generally have 1 - 2 cubs, with 3 being the exception. At Arctic Watch, the best time of year to see polar bears is from mid-summer onwards (late July), once the ice has melted and the polar bears are forced to head for shore. The polar bears typically wander the shoreline of the Northwest Passage, scavenging for food. The summertime is considered a starvation period for polar bears - after feasting on spring (April through June) seal pups, bears are reduced to kelp, grass, scraps from the ocean tides and what they find inland on the tundra.
A gorgeous bear walks along the hilltop under the midnight sun! Taken at approximately 1AM!
The best place to see polar bears at Arctic Watch is along the Northwest Passage (a short ATV ride from the lodge). That being said, they can be found anywhere! We have spotted polar bears as far as 25km inland, fast asleep in the tundra, or simply wandering the hillsides. Arctic Watch is positioned on the edge of the Cunningham River delta on Somerset Island: this delta is used by polar bears to transect the island (A summer migration route of sorts).
A young Arctic Watch adventurer watches a polar bear 100 yards away, while on a hike on the Northwest Passage!
Polar bear viewing at Arctic Watch is the true polar bear experience. You aren't on a big truck with 10 other people, you aren't on a boat; you are simply sitting on a hillside, watching a bear wander past you. This isn't a zoo; watching / photographing / observing polar bears at Arctic Watch is as close to nature as you are going to get! I've had the chance to encounter numerous polar bears in the past 17 years in the Arctic, however the best polar bear experience always remains to be had at Arctic Watch. To watch a polar bear in "his" environment, wandering down the shoreline, beluga whales and seals in the water, birds flying above and icebergs floating past, is simply stunning. A few of my favorite bear photographs from Arctic Watch and its surroundings!
A young male bear walks past guests on the coastline of Somerset Island
Tessum Weber, athlete and former ski racer, was born to be an adventurer. In the Arctic from the age of six weeks, he is now regarded as one of the foremost Arctic guides and experienced Arctic travellers. One of the world’s most eligible candidates for leading polar expeditions with international clients, his experience ranges from technical projects that include leading sea kayaking trips, ski expeditions and hiking/trekking trips to logistical projects such as working with film crews in remote regions. Tessum holds an undergraduate degree in commerce and devotes his time to working in the family business, Arctic Watch and sister lodge Arctic Haven. In 2010, Tessum became the youngest person to ever trek to the North Pole. He accompanied his father Richard, Howard Fairbank and David Pierce-Jones on the speed-record-setting trek to the North Pole.