Just two days into our vacation, I saw a bear. The Delfinus anchored in Basket Bay and we skiffed into the channel of a salmon stream. We didn't see bears, but the scenery was beautiful with the stream continuing under a rock archway. We skiffed back out and spent some time photographing tide pools and scenery. While I was composing a photograph of the channel with the rock arch in the background, I saw a bear swimming under the arch. I yelled "bear" so others could share the sight, but at the noise, the bear came out of the water, climbed up the rocks, went over the ferns and into the woods.
Our next bear stop was at Middle Creek, a salmon stream, at Windfall Harbor on Admiralty Island. No bears in sight. We skiffed to the mouth of Middle Creek. The bay was roiling with pink salmon who were awaiting high tide to give them the extra push to head upstream to spawn.
Even still, there were many dead chum salmon along the sides of the stream. Before we arrived, eagles, ravens, and gulls were having a feast.
Hoping for the emergence of bears from the woods, we sat and watched salmon make their arduous way upstream.
Since the bears weren't coming to us, we went to the bears. We did a short hike along "bear trail." Apparently bears are a little "obsessively compulsive" (OCD) and when they move though the grass, they step in the same bear footprint over and over. This OCD repetitiveness left permanent bear footprints along the grassy portions of the trail.
No bears to be discovered inside the moss-draped woods, so we hiked out and returned to the Delfinus just as it began to rain. After dinner, I looked out and discovered that two bears, scattering gulls, ravens, eagles as they traveled, were about to take over the birds' feeding grounds. Captain Ronn has been telling us that rain is "bear weather."
More intensive "bear weather" developed the next morning as we move to nearby Pack Creek. Pack Creek is a popular bear watching site monitored by both Alaska State Parks and Fish and Game. We were the first to arrive onshore and station ourselves at the weather-exposed log to watch for bears. Quickly, we saw a bear called Chino who's mother was called Mocha (get it--MochaChino). Chino didn't stay around too long, but soon another bear, a small female about 1-1/2 years old called Ruby, rewarded us with a visit. The ranger told us that Ruby usually appears when other bears are not present. She is small for her age and still learning fishing techniques. She often stood up and looked around to make sure no other bears were in sight.
After Ruby departed, Dan and I met Captain Ronn on the spit and hiked to the Observation Platform about one mile into the woods. The hike is through a temperate rain forest of lush foliage and tall conifers.
The change of scenery was good because soon after we reached the covered platform, we saw bears meandering up and down the stream in search of salmon.
Another nice photo op at the Observation Platform was being so close to a Great Blue Heron and group of Mew Gulls. They didn't mind the rain.
Captain Ronn was right about "bear weather"; it was a wet and profitable day for both us and the bears.