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Swim with Beluga Whales

It is Beluga whale season in the subarctic waters of the Hudson Bay, just off the coast of the small town of Churchill, Manitoba. For a few weeks between late June to early September several thousand Beluga's come to the southern Hudson Bay to take advantage of the relatively warm waters of the Churchill River estuary to feed and give birth.  This results in an opportunity for a few lucky tourists to experience something that very few people ever get to do, snorkeling with Beluga whales.

Before you get in, however, you need to wear the proper gear.  The water temperature is a very chilly 45 degrees, so wearing a protective neoprene wetsuit is a must. Other than that just don a snorkel, mask, and fins, and slip over the side of the kodiak and into the fun. 

One you get into the water start humming, and pretty soon dozens of adult and baby "canaries of the sea" are likely to surround you to check you out.  As they get closer, you will hear their clicking noises and high-pitch squeals.  The experience of having a 15 foot long whale looking into your eyes from only a few feet away is something that you will never forget. 
 
Only a small group of outfitters offer the opportunity to go snorkeling with Beluga whales.  Churchill Wild offers an adventure that allows to see  the wildlife from the land, by plane, and from below the waters, and Sea North Tours provides the chance to swim with the Belugas on excursions departing from Churchill, Manitoba.

After receiving the notice to climb back into the raft, you may be saddened that you can't spend more time with the whales.  But as you depart, you wont be able to stop grinning as you realize that you have experienced something that is truly unique, and will be left with memories that you will cherish forever.

Some information and photos courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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