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Old 11-28-2008, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Gramercy
72 posts, read 252,137 times
Reputation: 28

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OK, so I have enough Alaska Air miles to fly to any of their major destinations, and all I can think about it seeing arctic wildlife in winter. Forget California

I hear that someone can take me out in a monster truck (or something) onto the ice, to shoot some pictures. But that's all I know. I don't know where, who, or when. Not even sure what month.

I guess late March? When there is more light and not as brutally cold? What I'd like to see, basically, is some northern lights (really, really important), and some wildlife, like arctic foxes and *maybe* a polar bear.

The last time I was in Barrow, in July, it was only one clear night upon my arrival, but the next couple of days were just fog. I am wondering, is it usually clear when it's cold, or is there this heavy frozen fog that block the view of northern lights?

I guess Fairbanks is better for this (the town of Fox in particular), but it's not that exciting to me for some reason.

Thank you for any advice!
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Old 11-28-2008, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 13,553,624 times
Reputation: 3508
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceCold View Post
OK, so I have enough Alaska Air miles to fly to any of their major destinations, and all I can think about it seeing arctic wildlife in winter. Forget California

I hear that someone can take me out in a monster truck (or something) onto the ice, to shoot some pictures. But that's all I know. I don't know where, who, or when. Not even sure what month.

I guess late March? When there is more light and not as brutally cold? What I'd like to see, basically, is some northern lights (really, really important), and some wildlife, like arctic foxes and *maybe* a polar bear.

The last time I was in Barrow, in July, it was only one clear night upon my arrival, but the next couple of days were just fog. I am wondering, is it usually clear when it's cold, or is there this heavy frozen fog that block the view of northern lights?

I guess Fairbanks is better for this (the town of Fox in particular), but it's not that exciting to me for some reason.

Thank you for any advice!
Most of the bears are out on the ice hunting seals (that stuff that isn't suppose to be there now due to Global Warming) and I don't know of anyone that does the polar bear tours in Alaska, that is a big deal in Canada though Experience Polar Bear Tours with the Tundra Buggy Adventure.

Polar Bears do show up at whale kill sites in early winter though, but I don't know if they have cleaned any of the kill sites around Barrow or not. If they haven't, you may see some polar bears there then.

This is a Thread of pictures I took this last summer and my "View" of them that may or may not be interesting to you.

//www.city-data.com/forum/alask...bears-not.html

Hope you have good luck in your trip to see them.
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Old 11-28-2008, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Nome
2,397 posts, read 4,407,532 times
Reputation: 472
Alaska Polar Bear Tours
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Naptowne, Alaska
15,603 posts, read 37,818,942 times
Reputation: 14843
Wow. Lot's of money and no guarantee of seeing bears.
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Interior alaska
6,381 posts, read 13,553,624 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rance View Post
Wow. Lot's of money and no guarantee of seeing bears.
I guess what they are basing the tours on is where the local whales were killed and beached. They figure they can drive you to where the kills were done and the bears had moved in for the free meal. Otherwise, once the ice has come back in starting in early October, the bears are pretty much gone til about late July when they head back to the beaches for a few months of the open water. They do show up once in awhile in the dark part of Winter, but not the two or three a day that I see showing up in the late summer where I work on the open water.

These photos were taken at Cross Island where the locals had landed whales two years ago. The bears can smell the frozen meat from miles away and are drawn in by the dozens.




,... and my favorite for the "Bus Tours"

Last edited by starlite9; 11-28-2008 at 01:32 PM..
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:21 PM
 
24,071 posts, read 32,385,606 times
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The National Geopgraphic has a webcam at Churchhill, Manitoba, which has a lot of Polar bears. I think it's also a pretty popular place to go for Polar bear tours:

Experience Polar Bear Tours with the Tundra Buggy Adventure
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Gramercy
72 posts, read 252,137 times
Reputation: 28
Nice... Thank you, all. I am really trying to save some money by using the miles, you see. The times are rough for too much spending

It looks like Canada may be a good option though. I swear I read somewhere here there is a tour that is very cheap - a local Barrow photographer who knows the places, or something to that effect. Well, I am going to look at all my options, I guess.

I am asking about Barrow in particular because I've been there, and Alaska is familiar territory to me.
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Barrow, Alaska
3,539 posts, read 7,134,734 times
Reputation: 1829
Quote:
Originally Posted by IceCold View Post
OK, so I have enough Alaska Air miles to fly to any of their major destinations, and all I can think about it seeing arctic wildlife in winter. Forget California

I hear that someone can take me out in a monster truck (or something) onto the ice, to shoot some pictures. But that's all I know. I don't know where, who, or when. Not even sure what month.

I guess late March? When there is more light and not as brutally cold? What I'd like to see, basically, is some northern lights (really, really important), and some wildlife, like arctic foxes and *maybe* a polar bear.

The last time I was in Barrow, in July, it was only one clear night upon my arrival, but the next couple of days were just fog. I am wondering, is it usually clear when it's cold, or is there this heavy frozen fog that block the view of northern lights?

I guess Fairbanks is better for this (the town of Fox in particular), but it's not that exciting to me for some reason.

Thank you for any advice!
Please just ignore people who know nothing but will say something anyway. Starlite9 is the worst, and frankly Rance is right behind...

There are conflicting needs with what you'd like to see. First, seeing either aurora or a polar bear in Barrow is pretty hit or miss unless you have significant time in the first case (we have few days when the sky is clear) or a lot of money in the second (bears are here, the flying time to find one on any given day is expensive). Worse though, is that the best time for either of those is at a different time of year. Likewise seeing arctic foxes is almost a guaranteed thing, but not at any time you can also view the aurora here.

Arctic foxes, lemmings, snowy owls, geese, and swans are all virtually a sure thing (and easy) to photograph in late August and
early September. Bring a camera/lens combination equivalent to a 35mm with at least a 500mm focal length. These are all easy, too.

To photograph bowhead whale hunting come to Barrow either in April or for the 2nd and 3rd week of October. The spring hunt is much more difficult to photograph, the fall hunt is easy.

Aurora in Barrow is difficult simply because the weather is cloudy most of the time. Late September might work some years, and might not in others. Same with late February and March. Note that it can be extremely cold/windy in the spring!

Photographing polar bears is hit or miss, or if you want a sure thing it is very expensive. Last fall in August there were 10-20 bears within walking distance of Barrow for the entire month. Some of them wandered through town. They are always here. There are daily trips out to Point Barrow in either a "monster truck" or a Hummer, take your pick, every day of the summer. The drivers get great pictures of bears! Four or five times a year... But it is also possible to hire an airplane or a helicopter, and for several thousand dollars it is just about guaranteed that you'll get pictures. Best times are from March to October.
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Bethel, Alaska
21,368 posts, read 35,790,046 times
Reputation: 13879
Master Floyd to the rescue...
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Old 11-28-2008, 02:44 PM
 
Location: The Woods
18,089 posts, read 24,997,852 times
Reputation: 10894
Don't get too close to them polar bears...I understand they like the taste of humans.
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