Hebron and Mugford Tickle, Labrador
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 24 Aug 2022

Hebron and Mugford Tickle, Labrador, 8/24/2022, National Geographic Explorer

  • Aboard the National Geographic Explorer
  • Arctic

Is there such a thing as too many bears? There is when you lose count of them all.

The day started calmly with a fiery belt along the horizon and the quiet music of the wind as it wrapped around our vessel. The surface of the sea was dark and jagged, like fractured obsidian, with no white caps to be seen.

Excitement rippled through the dining room as we inched our way into Hebron Harbour and prepared for our visit to the Hebron Historic Site. Four polar bears were on shore just outside the window! Our scouting party was vigilant and joined with local bear guards to ensure our safety as we explored the old Moravian Mission. Rumors rippled that there were actually six bears in the immediate vicinity. Much as we love the wildlife, we became captivated by the passion of our local guides as they shared both their joy and pain in personal stories. People have occupied this place for thousands of years, making it their seasonal home as food and shelter were plentiful. In 1829, Moravian missionaries chose to live among families, teaching religion and basic education. Unfortunately, good intentions often go awry. In 1959, the settlement was relocated, much to the dismay of those who called it home. Healing began with an apology from the federal government, but the pain remains and there is more heartfelt searching to be done.

All afternoon, we sailed in sunshine as we explored the coastal islands. We squeezed through Mugford Tickle, which was not much of a tickle for us. A large cargo vessel might feel the shoreline graze its sides, but we had oodles of room. More bears prowled here and there, and a black bear foraged at a higher elevation. Our final bear of the day sat upon a tumbled, rocky cliff, looking down wistfully as we consumed hot dogs and beer on the deck.

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