July and August is the season for swimming alongside Canada’s ‘Canaries of the Sea.’
Slip into a baggy, rubber dry suit, slide over the side of a Zodiac into the icy waters of Canada’s Hudson Bay, and suck air through your snorkel as you try to still your racing pulse. Oh, yeah—and remember to hum. On this occasion the “Baby Beluga Song”would be appropriate.
You hear them before you see them, those vocal “canaries of the sea” clicking and whistling their own high-pitched tunes. As shifting white shapes loom from the depths, your heart does a back flip. Adult beluga whales some five-m (16-ft) -long shimmy at you from below, swivelling their heads and peering into your eyes an arm’s length away. Babies dart daringly past. You’re surrounded by smiles as wide as Casper the Friendly Ghost’s (watch a video), the mammals edging closer to examine this strange humming human.
Entering the belugas’ world is a rare opportunity to commune with normally elusive wildlife on their own turf. The season is short: July and August.
Sea North Tours Ltd. offers a chance to chum with chubby whales or watch them from your own kayak on daytrips out of Churchill, MB. At the outfitter’s remote Seal River Heritage Lodge a short floatplane flight to the north, Churchill Wild has a multi-day “Birds, Bears & Belugas” adventure so you can mix it up, enjoying wildlife in the air, on the ground and under the water.
When your turn is up and you’re gently pulled back to the Zodiac by the rope, you’ll have a unique encounter etched into your memory and a smile as wide as a beluga’s on your face.