Polar Bear – Nanuq


With the engine turned off, the boat drifted languidly in the lagoon’s gentle cradle facing the barrier island where the Polar Bears, known locally as Nanuq, waited patiently for the pack ice to form.  Freezing of the Arctic water meant the hunt for seals would soon be on.  In the interval, the bears seemed content to pass the time on land and feed on whale remains deposited by the local villagers on a nearby spit.  Moving from the island interior, this massive bruin collected itself close to the shore’s edge and our vessel … too close for comfort.  It was time to move.  When the guide attempted to resurrect the engine, the effort proved in vain.  It wouldn’t start.  The labored sounds from the power unit were answered intermittently with a silence colder than the frigid Arctic water we floated upon.  Panic reigned on our tiny boat as more bears assembled at the shore line … all looking fixedly in our direction.  Seconds seemed to stretch into eternity when another native guide expeditiously powered his craft to our out-of-control situation and threw out a line, pulling us from harm’s way.

~ Narrative and Polar Bear image, Nanuq © Jerry L. Ferrara