Sunday, November 30, 2014

September 3, 2014 Deep Sea Fishing, Sea Lions, Whales & Bears...Oh My...What A Wonderful Day in the Gulf of Alaska

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's another beautiful day with the sun shining on our cabin. After a delicious breakfast, I had time to take a few pictures around the lodge...

...the Beaten Path leads from the main lodge to our cabin.

We haven't kayaked yet but it is on our list of things to do.

Chrissy & I highly recommend spending time at this place.

A picture from the dock. 

Sun bathing on Afognak Island

There are little statues all over the grounds here at the lodge.
We are on the boat with the amateur fishermen.
The serious fishermen are on the other boat. They caught their limit much faster than we did.

This young man was visiting Alaska with his family from Philadelphia. Everyone was catching fish constantly which kept our captain, Jordan very busy...

...especially when Scott landed a 100 pound halibut.

Chrissy with a yelloweye rockfish. 

We both caught yelloweye rockfish, black cod also known as sablefish and I caught a halibut pictured above. Since my technique was not very good, I lost a few fish by not keeping tension on the line after getting a bite. We were dropping the line anywhere from 150 to 300 feet. I struggled with this halibut for about 15 minutes. After Jordan hooked it off my line, my arms were exhausted and sore. I asked him if the halibut was tougher to land than the other fish or I am just getting tired...he replied, "You're just getting tired." I really enjoyed deep sea fishing today and I thank Jordan for convincing me to try it. After fishing for about two hours, we headed back to Afognak Island to see some wildlife.

Since Chrissy & I both had cameras, there are a lot of pictures of everything we encountered. We floated along this island full of sea lions for about 30 minutes. These animals were very entertaining. They seemed just as interested in us as we were of them

Every so often a few would dive in and swim by the boat for a closer look at us.

A few of the really big males seemed to be posing for us.

I did not know they have claws in their flippers until I saw some of Chrissy's close up pictures.

We saw several whales but this one was the closest to our boat.

This is all one dive by the same whale. Chrissy took the first two shots. I really liked this one with the land in the background...

...I took the next four pictures. Not sure why I didn't center the pictures. But it really is amazing to see these creatures so close to the boat.

After lunch on the boat, we landed at the same beach as yesterday.

I know I wrote this yesterday, but it is amazing how many dead salmon there are this time of year. They are everywhere. These two are in shallow water just off the beach in the bay.

Something made a meal out of this one on the beach.

We have a much bigger group today...I better catch up...the old, tired straggler always ends up as someone's dinner.

There is so much food this time of year that the bears tear open the salmon and just eat the roe, salmon eggs. That is what this bear is eating.

Our large group caught the attention of several of the bears today.

 Two young cubs in the water with mom walking uphill.

A youngster practicing what his mother has been teaching him. 

Once again, the cubs were pure entertainment acting just like siblings...playing, fighting and doing goofy things.

We saw at least two different mother bears each with two cubs. Though it is possible we saw three groups of moms and cubs.

Me, Chrissy, Heidi & Scott watching the bears.

This bear crossed the river and climbed the tree to get a better look at us...

...then decided to climb down...

...and scratch an itch. I guess we posed no danger to the curious cub.

Our group above the stream watching bears.

Me enjoying nature up close...words can't describe how cool this is.

Another cub, this one much bigger than the one we saw down river, also checked us out intently from a tree. Now I know why they say never climb a tree to avoid a bear attack...

...they can get up a tree much faster than a human.

The bears seem to know the salmon have to congregate here at the base of the waterfall on their way upstream.

We spent a couple of hours hiking along the stream. I could do this every day and never get bored of it. Just watching the mother bear trying to teach her kids what they need to survive...the kids being kids only half pay attention...they want to play, run around aimlessly, just like any others kids..the only difference is after 2 or 3 years...momma kicks them out and they have to survive on their own...there is no moving back in with Momma bear. It is amazing to sit and watch this all unfold right in front of you.
The young cubs might be goofing off but they always come running whenever mom calls for them.
Hiking back to the boat.
The fish caught by everyone on our boat...

....a partial group shot. The rest of our group headed to the cabins.

Scott with his 100 pound halibut.

The crew filleting all the fish.

One of the girls that works in the kitchen makes jewelry from small bones in the fish head. 

Frank, Josh & Jordan working hard.

Another walk around the lodge, just enjoying being outside in a beautiful place.

It is hard to describe how being here makes me is so peaceful and amazingly beautiful everywhere we have gone. Of course we are never rushed here, we can sit, relax and enjoy something for hours...maybe that is what I should take back home with me.