Archive for the bears Category

The Arctic

Posted in Arctic, bears, guiding, polarbears with tags , , , on November 19, 2013 by polarguide

I have been browsing through my images and today I came upon several files of my Arctic voyages in the summer of 2011.

I spent the month of July 2011 cruising around Svalbard.  Svalbard  is an archipelago above 70 degrees north latitude. It is a territory or Norway and it is quite remote. It was a spectacular month of photographing polar bears, walrus, and  several varieties of arctic birds. All in a dramatic and beautiful landscape.

I flew back to Alaska and in early August 2011 I was back on board the ship, this time in northern canada cruising through the northwest passage.

Here are a few images of those voyages.  I am missing some of my files of the northwest passage voyage. I have some decent shots of a few of the inuit villages we visited. I will post those when I come across them.

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My favorite

My favorite

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To fly or not to fly

Posted in alaska, antarctica, bears, guiding, icebergs, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by polarguide

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I could be on a plane right now.   I could be on a plane flying south.  South to South America, to Uruguay and Argentina and then further south to Antarctica.  But I chose to stay in Alaska for the winter.

Alaska for the winter or Antarctica for the summer.  Or both, simultaneously. I feel indecisive about my decision. I feel like a paradox.

Work is slow, money is tickling in and flowing steadily out.  Heavy grey clouds,  good food and the company of friends make me feel at the same time comforted and discontent.  I have too much time.  My mind is too idle. The days are growing shorter. Lying on the couch, lying in bed, from the tin roof  the slow rain applauds my apathy.

Its the money.  And the work.  The work and the money, That’s what I fret about most.  Work keeps my mind busy, I would work for free if I had money.   I don’t give two shits about money, never have.  I just need to pay the rent and for food, and my teeth.  I broke two last week!

Winter is coming.

Summer is sweet in Alaska, with all its sun and whales and endless work.

Winter is slow and dark, its a vacation from summer.

I like fall best.

The fall wind and rain justify laziness.  Hunting and fishing and friends  I haven’t seen since spring because we were working all summer. Then a blanket of quiet dark lays across the top of the world as winter snuggles in for the season.

Still, It would have been nice to hop on that plane heading south to south america. By now, I would be in Montevideo eating octopus in the mercado del puerto.  A few days more I would be in Ushuaia stuffing my face with asado.

By this time next week I would be a sailor again, rolling over waves and fighting through storms on the drake passage heading to the  worlds most remote continent. I spent a few hours today mulling over my photographs of Alaska and Antarctica, trying to find a common feeling. Trying to somehow make sense of these two polar opposite portions of my life. Trying to find an emotional bridge or a rational connection.  It sounds strange but I couldn’t.  It’s as if I am two different people living one life or vice versa.

I Put together a few of the photographs I took this summer at home in Alaska, and a few from last season in Antarctica.  I chose pictures that were characteristic of each place, from my perspective.

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The bears in my life

Posted in alaska, bears, photography with tags , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by polarguide

I have been wanting to post a blog about bears.  Now that summer is long gone and the first few inches of snow have covered Juneau I assume the bears have made their way to high ground.  To Burrows and caves where they will slumber away the cold dark winter.  Then yesterday a friend texted me, she was on the road out side of my apartment on her way to meet me for dinner, “Bear between me and you” she wrote.

Just when we thought it was safe to put our garbage out, the bears remind us that they have their own agenda.

I thought I would share some of my favorite bear photos from the last few seasons.

Black bear, Glacier Bay National Park

I photographed this Black bear in Skidmore bay, in Glacier Bay National Park.  It was early morning, we had just kayaked out of camp and found this guy eating Barnacles on the beach at low tide.  This is an incredibly sharp image considering It was a cloudy day and I was shooting from a kayak.  I took this photo in early june, its amazing how fat this guy is so early in the summer.

Brown bear near Point Adolphus

I photographed this Brown bear at Point Adolphus, on the northern shore of Chichigof Island. We had our camp set up less than a mile to the east of where I took this photo.  Several people told me they had been seeing a young Brownie hanging out in the area and I was hoping to get a photo of him. I also took this shot from my kayak.  It’s a little soft but I like the colors and the Devils club leaves add nice texture.

Brownie with pink salmon.

I caught this big girl with her two cubs on the Anan river near Wrangell, AK.  She caught fish after fish by sitting in the water and waving her paws around until a fish bumped into her,  then she would snag it.

Polar bear, Spitsbergen.

I was test driving a new Zodiac off a small group of Islands in Spitsbergen, Norway.  Spitsbergen, also know as Svalbard, is a Norwegian territory north or Norway above the 75th parallel. I traveled to Spitsbergen with One Ocean Expeditions, working as a Sea Kayak guide and Zodiac pilot.  This day, while test driving the new motorboat I was fortunate to find this beautiful young bear alone on the beach.  I spent an hour observing and photographing this exquisite creature. this is one of my favorite shots.

Two Polar bears and the Monaco Glacier, Spitsbergen.

A short time later I came upon these two Polar bears. Again I had the extraordinary opportunity to photograph two incredible creatures with the magnificent Monaco Glacier in the background.

Though there may be a few restless bears still skulking around the streets of Juneau, photographically speaking its time to put the big bruins to rest. Time to move on to other subjects. As the northern Polar regions cool and snow and ice hush the frozen landscape, I begin my migration south, to the austral summer and Antarctica for more amazing photographic opportunities.

I have my tickets, I leave for Ushuia, Argentina on the 5th of November. I’ll keep you posted.

Weekend harvest adventure part 2

Posted in alaska, bears, deer hunting, photography, travel, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by polarguide

Finger on the trigger, glaring through the scope I thought to myself ” I know this bear.”   This was the same bear I photographed the previous week.  I recognized his coffee colored legs and shimmering golden shoulders.  He had a mischievous look in his eye. He struck me then as a young bear, maybe three years old, recently abandoned by his mother trying to find his place int he world.

This guy

The tone of My voice dropped, low and threatening, “Hey bear.”  He planted his front paws, lowered his head and gazed up at me from under his eyebrows.  Then he turned and strode away, peering over his shoulder as if concerned I might be following.  I lowered my firearm  and turned to find my three amigos standing behind me.  The bear apparently decided four were too many to take and went about his business of digging roots and catching fish.

One hour later we were back on the Taurus. Exhilarated and Giddy from the cold we ripped off our wet clothes.  Someone opened a bottle of whiskey and passed it around. We each took a slug, then a second.  We laughed.  We laughed about our wet clothing. We laughed about Zach falling in the river and the bear that stole the fish. We laughed that our hands were so cold we couldn’t button our pants.  The bottle made another round.  ” What was that bear thinking?”  Zach asked.  “Aah, he was just a young bear trying to claim some territory,”  I answered.   “I am surprised you raised your gun at him,”  Shellie added.  ” Well,”  I said  “I had no intention of shooting him, I just wanted to be prepared in case he made a run at me.”

We chugged out of Mud Bay, back into Icy strait.  The sky sagged with heavy grey clouds.  The wind whipped white caps across the surface of the water.  We headed west along the north shore of Chichagof Island toward  Idaho Inlet.

Shaw Island is a small islet that floats off the western shore of Idaho Inlet.   “Wanna cruise by Shaw and scan the beach for deer?” Zach suggested.  “Shaw is pretty small,” I replied. “Not sure why a deer would be way out there, but worth a shot I guess.”  Zach swung the boat  south to scan the northern shore of Shaw Island.  From the aft deck I strained to see through my rifle scope as the boat bounced across the chop. We approached within one hundred yards when, surprisingly, I spotted a good size deer standing at the waters edge.  It’s honey colored coat contrasted with the dark  beach boulders.

The bow of the the Taurus crunched to a stop on the rocky beach and the deer slunk into the forest.  I was over the bow, rifle loaded and ducking under alder bows moments later.  I crept thirty feet into the dark understory then stood still and waited.  The deer appeared from behind a log twenty feet to my right and froze in alarm.  I jerked the rifle into place but  I forgot,while I was scanning the beach from the boat I had my scope zoomed in at maximum power, at this distance all I could see was a blur of brown .   I lowered my gun to decrease the zoom. The deer took three steps forward and evaporated into the forest.

I crouched, trying to see which way the deer had gone.  I peered through a riot of roots, shrubs and downed trees.  I ducked under some dead fall and knelt exactly where the deer had stood.  I adjusted the focus of my eyes, trying to see between the forest. Looking for a flick of a tail or twitch of an ear, a splash of brown in symphony of color.  He was gone.

He couldn’t be far, only seconds had passed. I was in awe of his ability to completely disappear so effortlessly. Creeping over down logs and wading through tangles of blueberry bushes I came to a rise in the landscape and followed a well used game trail up a  steep ridge line. I arrived at the top out of breath and discouraged.  No way a bumbling bi-ped like me  could track such a silent and elusive creature through this jungle. I leaned against a tree drawing  deep, quiet breaths and listened, hoping the deer was still close by.

He bounced out of thin air and landed on an open patch of moss thirty yards away.  Standing broad side with all four hooves planted firmly on the ground, head turned looking directly at me, he froze in perfect position. A beam of pale sunlight broke through the trees and landed squarely on his statuesque silhouette. I blinked with disbelief.

I rolled my left hand over the stock of the rifle and snapped the safety off.  My heart quickened. I could feel blood bounding in my neck, my breath short and quick.  I placed the cross hairs on his chest just behind his left leg. My aim bounced with each beat of my heart. I took a deep breath and with a slow exhale squeezed the trigger.  The roar of my rifle echoed through the trees, out past the cobble stone beach and died somewhere over the foggy ocean.

I rested the firearm against a tree and gulped down a few more deep breaths.  I let my nerves settle, waited for my heart to slow then cautiously walked to the deer. I ran my right hand over its coarse golden coat and quietly thanked it.  I Grabbed up the fur on the scruff of its neck a began the slow drag through the dense forest. I gutted him on the beach and skinned the carcass on the Taurus as we continued west through South Inian Pass and into Cross Sound.

We spent that night on the Shoreline scow.  The Shoreline scow is a floating fish barge that buys salmon around the clock from fisherman working the Cross Sound fishery.  The scow floats in Lisianski Inlet just five miles from the the gulf of Alaska and the open pacific ocean.  It is operated by an all female crew affectionately know as the scow girls.  My girlfriend Liz works on the the scow from time to time.  We decided to pay her a visit, cook the scow girls a fresh meal of venison and get an early start fishing in the morning.

By mid-Sunday morning we  had twelve nice salmon, we completed our weekend adventure with a long run back to Gustavus.  We made it back to town sometime around two p.m.  The rest of the day was spent getting our gear moved off the boat,  properly butchering the deer, cleaning the fish and preparing them for the freezer.  Monday morning Adam and I helped Zach get the final rafters installed on his cabin and I flew back to Juneau to attend a photography class at the University.

In two days time and in the company of good friends, through rain storms, near bear attacks and rough seas we managed to harvest a good amount of fish and venison to add to our winter stockpile.

Shellie with a nice Coho

Shellie and Coho

Zach’s Cabin

Weekend Harvest adventure part 1

Posted in alaska, bears, guiding, photography, travel, Uncategorized, whales, wildlife with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2012 by polarguide

Note: I like to keep my posts to 1000 words or less but it was a long adventure filled weekend. I decided to write about it in two or maybe three parts. The autumn weather and the practice of  harvesting wild food does not allow time for photos. I hope my writing is entertaining enough to keep you interested. Who ever you are.

We left Gustavus aboard the Taurus at ten in the morning on Saturday to spend the weekend fishing and hunting on northern Chichagof Island.  The morning was cool, the high grey clouds parted occasionally revealing patches of blue sky. Columns  of whale breath rose like smoke signals from the flat surface of the sea . I counted thirty whales while crossing Icy Strait.

Departing Gustavus aboard the Taurus

morning smoke signals

morning smoke signals

We arrived in Mud Bay some time around eleven a.m.  Shellie, the most experienced and prepared of our group of four had her waders on before the boat hit the beach.  She hopped off the bow, helped set the anchor, shouldered her pack and fishing pole and set off up stream.   the weather had begun to deteriorate. Zach and Adam fumbled with their fly rods and fishing line while I stuffed a few extra warm layers in my backpack, then jammed my camera and two lenses on top of that.  With out a word I hoisted the pack, snatched the fly rod in my left hand the rifle in my right and  lumbered along the bank of the river wondering how Shellie (now completely gone from sight) could be moving so quick.  One hundred meters up stream I freed my self from pack and pole and ducked  into the forest in search of a deer.

I slipped under a stand of  alder and into the dark understory of spruce trees.  Rifle in hand I waited, listened, then crept over the soggy pine needles.  Cold, humid air filled my head with the astringent scent of spruce pitch, but no sign of deer.  I hunted through the trees until they gave way to an open meadow of tall sedge.  I stood on the edge of the forest gazing over a golden sea of swaying grass, waiting for a grazing deer to betray its position and lift its head.  A Northern Harrier materialized above. I watched it’s effortless glide , rising slow, dipping quick like a kite, scouting the savanna  below, hunting,  just like me. Except for the flying part.

The rain gusted sideways in sheets.  I looped around the forest and back to the the river to retrieve my equiptment.  Far In the distance I spied Zach and Adam as they disappeared at a bend in the river, Shellie was, by now,  far ahead of them.  I was happy to be alone.

I plodded up stream realizing I had far too much gear.  My camera uselessly jammed in the top of my backpack  made it cumbersome to shoulder the rifle and it kept slipping down my right my arm.  My left hand was occupied with the fly rod.  My three friends were wearing proper waders, they could wade across the river through waist deep water making navigating up stream much faster. I was wearing an old borrowed pair of hip waders that leaked. The crotch  high rubber boots were two different sizes.  knee deep water was as deep as I could manage.

The cold wind seemed to drive the rain straight through my clothing.  The belief that modern technical rain gear (gortex and the like) is actually water proof is a load of bullshit!  Trust me. My spiffy new Patagonia jacket  hung on me like a wet bed sheet.  My socks, soaked with leaky river water  slid down below my ankles and bunched in the front of my boot. It felt like flopping around in wet clown shoes.  I forgot to mention: I am new to fly fishing,  my attempts to cast in the driving wind and rain were frustrating to say the least.  After two hours I managed to catch nothing but shrubs and dead wild flowers on the river bank behind me.

I began to miss my friends. I assumed they had successfully fished out every decent fishing hole I was now passing on my clumsy journey up river.  I abandoned  fishing and decided to march forward until I found them.  I crossed a shallow section of water and confronted a steep muddy bank on the other side.  My boots in the muck, I reached both hands over head and with my right hand I planted the butt of the rifle into the soggy earth, with my left hand I planted the butt of the fly rod.  I then attempted to pull my-self up the muddy river bank in my waterlogged clown shoes. I kicked one foot high and began to stand, it slipped through the mud and my other foot quickly tried to replace it and Suddenly I was running in place, feet frantically kicking and slipping through the mire until my arms grew tired, realizing the futility of the effort my feet quit and left me dangling.  My grip slowly failed and I oozed down the river bank, belly in the mud.  I felt so alone.

I hefted my self from the mud cursing. I hurled my rifle over the river bank, then the fishing pole, then my pack.  Grabbing fists full of mud and grass I clamored on hands and knees and came up panting, thankful there were no witnesses to this embarrassment.  I stood to brush the mud from my clothes, that’s when I noticed the bear.

He was standing on the opposite side of the river watching me with a vacant glare. We contemplated  each other for a  moment from a safe distance.  “What are you looking at” I hollered over the gurgling river “this kinda shit is easy for you, you’ve got four wheel drive.  But  I’ve got something  you don’t… thumbs sucka!”  I jutted both thumps out in front of me and wiggled them at the bear.  He appeared unimpressed. He began swaying left to right  with an listless stare that made me uncomfortable.  I flung my pack on to my back, lifted my rifle and rod and staggered forward, glancing over my shoulder to be sure I wasn’t being followed.

About fifty meets up river I began to hear strange sounds, like an ancient foreign  language broken up by the rush of the river.  Was it laughter?  My friends having fun with out me?  Maybe it was the wind, I thought.  I came to a fork in the river. A channel flowed in from my right and in that channel were three large brown bears in the midst of a fierce fight over a prime fishing spot.  They were in the middle of the river thrashing at each other with gnashing teeth and claws, fur and spit flying everywhere. The sound of the battle was barbaric and evoked a fright in me that rose from deep in my guts.

“shit!”  I thought out loud  “I’m going to have cross the river again to avoid the clash of the titans”. I slid down the muddy bank trying not to draw attention to myself.  slipped into the river and waded to the other shore, all in plain view of the sparring monsters.  I found Zach,  Shellie and Adam fishing a hole not to far up river from the bear fight.

Hours  passed since I had seen my three friends. All day I had imagined  them having a grand ole time together, catching fish, laughing and eating cheese and crackers in the sun.  Turns out they had adventures and mishaps all along the way. Zach caught a Coho salmon and left it on the beach next to Adam.  While Adam was distracted by a fish on his own line a bear crept from the bushes and stole the salmon right out from under him.  While trying to wade across the river, Zach fell in and drifted down stream. He climbed out on the opposite shore and continued fishing.   The relentless rain and constant wind zapped our enthusiasm to fish any longer.  We were all soaked to the core and on the verge of  hypothermia.  We decided to make our way back to the Taurus.

Zach pulled an inflatable paddle board up river with him and he and Adam began to flat downstream.  Shellie and I trudged along the edge of the river and once again bear appeared on the shoreline to our right.  Zach and Adam floated on the paddle board to the opposite shore to avoid the beast.  As the bear approached it became clear he had no intention of changing his coarse to avoid a close encounter. Shellie waded through the deep part of the river to join the others, leaving me to face the bear on my own.  “Seriously” I said sarcastically. “you’re going to leave me over here alone with this guy”.

I backed into the current  as far as I could with out going over my boots.  The bear passed thirty feet to my right. I spoke softly to it mostly to reassure myself .  When he ambled a comfortable distance past me I paced slowly to the shore. Then a surprising thing happened:  He turned and began to walk straight at me. He sauntered at a relaxed pace, head slightly lowered his eyes fixed on me.  “Hey bear!” I shouted, but he kept coming.  I took a large step toward the bear and kicked up some water “Hey Bear!”.   He closed the distance to less than twenty feet. I dropped my fishing pole, slapped a .300 caliber rifle round into the chamber and flicked off the safety.

I have had countless close encounters with brown bears, black bears, even polar bears. Focusing a bear into my two hundred millimeter Nikon lens is a common experience.  Raising my rifle and narrowing the cross-hairs  between the eyes of a brown bear was a whole new sensation.

Seasons end

Posted in alaska, bears, guiding, photography, tourism, travel, Uncategorized, whales, wildlife with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2012 by polarguide

Another summer season has ended.  Tonight I am sitting with the snap and crackle of the wood stove, half through a bottle of Irish whiskey. I have had the yurt to my self for the last week.  The sun has set and the pale evening light strains my eyes.  Soon I will have to light the gas lantern that hangs from a nail over the kitchen counter. I am contemplating the seasons end and feeling nostalgic about the arrival of fall.  I know it sounds strange to speak of fall when August has barely completed her departure, but that’s how it is here. In late August the leaves of the cottonwood trees turn yellow and brown and begin to litter the ground.  The rain falls a little harder, the wind blows a little colder and the twitter and chirp of Sandhill cranes flocking through the grey sky on their long migration south mark the beginning of fall in Gustavus, Alaska.

Oh, let’s not forget the berries. The blue berries are almost ready, but late august brings a bounty of wild strawberries and nagoon berries, plump and red and ready for jamming.  Liz and I picked, jammed and canned a gallon of berries completing our sweet winter cache in just two days.

Nagoon Berries

Liz making Nagoon berry jam

Jam!

It was an unusual summer in many ways.  It never seemed to stop raining and the temperatures rarely rose above fifty five degrees. My first guided trip began with high winds and heavy rain that blew away our tents and saturated our sleeping bags.  Then, sometime in early July a bear broke into the yurt and ate all of our food.

There were three plane crashes this summer. The local air taxi company that we hire to move guides and clients between Juneau and Gustavus had two planes malfunction, resulting in emergency crash landings.  One stormy morning in July two pilots, Kevin and Gale, left Juneau for their sixty mile morning commute to Gustavus. Each in his own plane, they flew side by side. Only one arrived at his destination.

On a clear day pilots heading for Gustavus will fly west passing over Auke bay and the northern tip of Admiralty Island. They will cross a five mile wide expanse of ocean called Chatham Strait.  Flying at an elevation of three thousand feet they dip and glide between six thousand foot peaks that are the southern end of the Chilkat mountain range. On a stormy day the Chilkat range becomes shrouded in a dense curtain of  grey clouds forcing pilots to bank south.  Soaring below cloud cover they fly around the southern tip of the mountain range before navigating north toward Gustavus. This day was a stormy day.

Two days after the incident I spoke with Gale.  He told me that after crossing Chatham Strait he steered his own plane south to avoid the low lying clouds that veiled the Chilkat mountain range, Kevin did not. Gale watched Kevin’s airplane disappear into the clouds then moments later Kevin’s signal disappeared from Gales radar screen. Kevin hit the top of a ridge doing one hundred and sixty miles an hour.  His air machine was shredded by the trees. The stretch of debris littered the mountainside for hundreds of yards. His body was found still belted to his seat fifty feet forward of the torn and scattered aircraft.

The feeling of fall has sparked a bustle of harvest activity. August began with berry picking and jamming, fishing and rooting over the forest floor in search of edible mushrooms.  On a recent fishing trip Zach and Shellie dropped a halibut skate and we hauled a two hundred pound halibut  from the cold depths of Icy Strait.  On a rare sunny day shelli and I went fly fishing with her father Doug and we caught countless Dolly Varden in Mud Bay, on northern Chichagof Island.  We had a glorious after noon watching brown bears fish for salmon while we cast our lines with less proficiency.

Zach with a giant halibut

shellie with a dolly

Doug paddling with brown bear

Fishing with brown bear

beautiful bear

sneaky bear

The hustle of guiding now done, their are no planes to catch, no boats waiting.  I am enjoying quiet time at the yurt.  Getting small project done, splitting fire wood, reading books and helping Zach build his cabin.

Tonight I will stumble  into bed with good whiskey in my head.  Drizzle tapping on the vinyl roof, fire warming the wood stove, I will dream of the coming days.  Dark brooding days swollen with rain and fog and wind.  Soon we will obtain our seasons quota of fish and hunting season will commence.   We will Slip briskly through the waterlogged forest searching for sign of elusive deer.  After a successful hunt we will pass evenings butchering and processing venison flesh, feasting with friends and  hoarding our bounty for the  approaching months of winter. In this way the fall will pass and winter will bring new adventures.

Anan bear observatory, Wrangell, Alaska

Posted in alaska, bears, photography with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2012 by polarguide

I just returned from the Anan bear observatory  in Wrangell, Alaska.  Wow!  I have to say it was probably the best bear viewing I have ever done, and I see a-lot of bears.  The day Before I left on this  trip I walked out of my apartment in Juneau and there was a black bear walking down the street,  in Juneau that’s not very unusual. It is so common that  I am thinking about doing a series of photos on the bears of down town Juneau.

Anan river is on the south end of Wrangell island in south east Alaska.  The river has a strong pink salmon run that attracts a significant numbers and black bears and brown bears (grizzlies).  It’s one of the few places you can observe both species feeding in the same stream, often just meters from each other.

we had amazing photographic opportunities, but the light was low and all of my shots came out soft.  I was shooting ISO 640-1000 and still almost all of my photgraphs are fuzzy. The dark forest and rainy overcast day was hard to work with. I’m disappointed, I wont have an opportunity to get back there this season but I’m posting them anyway because they are still fun to look at.

We were transported to Anan river by Eric Yancy, owner of Breakaway adventures.  It takes about an hour by jet boat to get to the river, then a half mile hike along the river to the bear observatory through  beautiful, lush old growth temperate rain forest.  Their may be bears anywhere along the path.  On our way to the bear observatory we had three brown bears in the river to our right, a bear on the trail in front of us and one behind us.  We were literally surrounded by grizzly bears. When we arrived at the observatory we were again halted by a parade of black bears who appeared from the bushes, one after the other crossing our trail on a  path to the river.

trail to the observatory

Black bear crossing the trail

Brown bears fishing while black bear waits his turn

We spent four hours watching bears fish for salmon in the white water current. There were two brown bear sows that each had two, two year old cubs. Another had three spring cubs. There were two black bears that had several cubs and at one point three cubs from two different females where all playing in the same tree while their mothers fished.  At four in the afternoon I counted twenty bears on the river, then I scanned the surrounding hill side and realized, they were every where. In the trees, on the rock ledges.  I lost count of the total number if bears we saw that afternoon.

With black and brown bears in such close proximity we had the opportunity to observe the different fishing techniques the two species use.  Black bears stand on rocks along the bank of the river and dunk their entire head below the surface,  grabbing a salmon in their mouth then eating them on shore or slinking into the woods to a secluded spot to eat in privacy.

Happy black bear with a fat belly

Black bear sneaks off with his catch

Brown bears just get right in there.  Some dive headlong into the river or chase fish through the shallows. Others find an eddy and plop them selves down in a sitting position, waving their paws in front of them under the water and grabbing fish as they swim by.  when they catch a fish they eat it right there in the river.

Mamma brownie with two, two year old cubs

Cautious black bear mamma hiding with her cub, keeping an eye out for brownies

Black bear on a log

big brownie catching a pink salmon

Fish eye

Mamma with three spring cubs

A few days prior to visiting Anan I did a day cruise through glacier bay and visited a steam near gloomy knob that currently has a sockeye salmon run.  I had heard there was a family of wolves spending time there catching salmon.  We found a family of five wolves resting on the beach along side the salmon stream while five brown bears cruised the banks of the river.  The park service has closed that beach to all visitors because of the high wildlife use.  I was just a few days too late to capture wolves and bears catching salmon side by side.  this was the best shot I could get from the boat.

The Alexander Archipelago wolf is common to this area of Alaska.

Mamma wolf with two pups