Thursday, November 27, 2014

September 2, 2014 Kodiak Bears for Chrissy

Another beautiful morning on Afognak Island.

I offered to pose like this on the moss covered rocks...Chrissy said "please don't I just ate breakfast!"

Once again we are the only ones on Jordan's boat today...

...he took us by some Native owned land where they sold the timber rights to a company that disregarded the rules about removing trees. 

But since this place is so remote, enforcing the rules of taking timber along visible shorelines is rarely done.
Jordan was excited to see deer on a beach. Since he knew about Chrissy working at a zoo and her love for animals, I figured he decided not to shoot the deer. I guess now is a good time to point out that we had venison steaks for dinner and the head of a deer was on the deck where the chef barbecued dinner last night. So I told Jordan Chrissy doesn't have a issue with killing animals if you are going to eat them. We only took pictures.

Jordan asked if we minded taking a hike into the woods to see bears...we quickly said that is why we came hike and possibly see bears.

We landed at a beach that had a salmon stream right next to it. There were seals in the bay at the mouth of the stream just feasting on the hundreds of salmon that we could see in the water. There were also dead salmon everywhere...floating in the water...along the shoreline...and on land. We even saw some half eaten salmon in the forest.

Chrissy was on a mission to see Kodiak bears...

...another enchanted forest hike.

Chrissy found evidence of bears everywhere along the trail...

...really big paw prints...

...bear hair on trees.

The seagulls waiting on salmon...most animals in this area seem to depend on salmon to survive.

Finally. We found a mom and two cubs feeding in the stream. Momma sniffed the air and looked our way but deemed we posed no danger to her cubs...

...and continued her salmon feast.

One of the cubs.

The cubs were taught well by mom.

We were on the opposite bank...quietly watching the bears grab salmon out of the water for about an hour.

Eventually they followed their mother up into the forest.

We hiked further up stream and found...

...the same three bears.

It really was amazing to be able to watch all this happen for such a long time.

The cubs were still cute even when ripping a salmon apart.

The young cubs were just like watching human kids. They stomped in the water, they fought with each other and they occasionally pissed off mom...

...this goofball decided to climb a tree, then he could not figure out how to get down. He would reach down with his hind legs but couldn't reach the lower branches. At first the other cub stood under the tree...probably taunting the sibling stuck in the tree...

...then momma showed up and began growling at her cub, then she stood up and tried shaking him out of the tree. I felt sorry for the little guy because it seemed like his mom treated him the same way my mom treated us.

It took about 15 minutes but the cub figured it out...he bear hugged the trunk and shimmied his way down. We lost them as we hiked upstream.

But found them much closer to us in an open field. Momma bear had enough of these two crazy kids and left them to nap in the grass. We hiked by on our way to a waterfall.

The fish ladder is so the salmon have a way to get upstream. The life story of a salmon is damn impressive. The work required to survive is incredible without having just about every creature they encounter find them so damn tasty.

We took a different path back to the boat and guess what? There was bear poop on that trail too.

Safe & sound back on the beach...
...where the seals were still grabbing salmon as they tried to sneak by and spawn upstream.

As we left the bay, we spotted a big male bear on a beach.

He gave us a look and continued eating his dinner.

Jordan told us that tomorrow the ocean would be extremely calm and both boats were going deep sea fishing. We originally told them we had no interest in fishing but we would love to go out as long as we weren't bothering the fishermen. Then I happened to say that I never actually caught a fish. I have fished but never caught one. Jordan pretty much stopped the boat and said we will remedy that right now. I am not lying within 5 minutes I caught a black bass. Now I was rethinking my position on fishing. We threw the fish back and Jordan helped Chrissy & I with deep sea fishing technique for about half an hour. We each caught several fish during that time. By the time we headed back to the lodge, we were going to be fisherman/fisherwoman tomorrow.  

A quick picture before tossing them back. 

Then we hooked moby dick here and tried to pull him into the boat. 

We lost him when dove down and disappeared.

After another delicious and entertaining dinner in the main lodge, Chrissy & I decided to hike a trail along the backside of the lodge. Even though it was still light out when we started, Josh gave us flashlights just in case we got caught out late. The trail was hard to find so while I was bushwacking looking for a trail. Sadie, the lodge dog found us and led us to the trail. I am not making this up, she really did. Then she became the lead dog and we followed her deeper into the woods. She definitely knew her way along this trail but darkness came quickly and Chrissy said we should head back. Sadie turned around and led us back to the lodge in the dark. If we fell behind, she waited for us.

Chrissy would have let Sadie into our cabin but I wasn't sure the lodge would allow her inside. It was a cabin in the wilderness but it was much nicer than our house. Even when Chrissy came in Sadie laid on our porch right outside the door. She was a sweetheart of a dog and it felt good to spend time with her because we missed our dogs. We both said Oslo would love it here. Before I went to bed, I saw Sadie sleeping on our porch...goodnight sweet Sadie...thanks for saving us tonight.

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