A LONE POLAR BEAR ambles along the western shore of Hudson Bay, just outside the town of Churchill, Man. Every few minutes, she stops on the rocky beach, stands on her rear legs and peers across the bay’s open waters. Something out there has caught her attention.

 It’s late August. Months will pass before the increasingly unpredictable sea ice forms, providing a platform to hunt seals and fatten up after several lean months on land. It is not ice, however longingly anticipated, that has her scanning the cold, grey water. About 300 metres from shore, seven triangular dorsal fins betray the position of a group of unusual visitors to the bay: killer whales.

 Perhaps the polar bear is just as surprised to see the whales as the tourists whose Zodiac idles a stone’s throw from the pod. Certainly the boat’s driver with Sea North Tours — a lifelong Churchill resident — is astonished. “Oh man, I can’t believe I’m looking at orcas!” Remi Foubert-Allen shouts over the noise of an outboard motor.

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