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Jules gets up close and personal with polar bears

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Hey, everyone!

I was at the Melbourne Travel Expo just a couple of weeks ago, and a girl came up to me saying 'JULES! I just got back from one of your favourite places, and it's one of mine now, too!'

I must admit I'm pretty lucky, and have a healthy list of top travel tales, but when she mentioned 'Churchill' it all came flooding back to me.

Churchill, Manitoba is in remote Canada, on the shores of the Hudson Bay. It's a tiny town of less than a thousand people, and it takes four planes to get there, but is well worth the journey as the town itself is known as 'the Polar Bear Capital of the World'.

The Hudson Bay freezes over and thousands of polar bears come to feed on ringed seals across the ice, but as global warming takes effect, the bay freezes over later and later in the year, resulting in a bunch of bored, hungry bears waiting around in the middle of town! The angst ridden adolescents are left with nothing to do 'til the water freezes, and take to terrorising the local residents by raiding their wheelie-bins.

The local people had a think about how they could solve the problem, and decided on building a polar bear prison. Yup! A polar bear paddy wagon patrols the streets of Churchill, and when the copper comes across a thousand-kilo beanbag with teeth loitering on the street, he tranquilises him, loads him up and drops him off in jail, where he can safely spend his days until the freeze comes.

I could hardly believe it until I actually saw a freakin' huge fuzzball 'arrested' right outside my hotel window! We got a chance to ride in the paddy wagon with the polar patrol, and visit the rogue elements behind bars while they waited for Mother Nature to eventually bail them out.

I love being reminded of trips like that one. You can check out the video here:

Churchill polar bears
Churchill polar bears

What's one of your favourite, quirky travel stories?

User comments
Cool story - How come you have not done any stories about snowcat skiing yet? Kieren

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