Brown Bears in Katmai, Alaska - up CLOSE and on FOOT!
Here's some closeups of "North American's most feared predator" ;-)
My wife Wendy smiles for the camera as Kyle takes pictures of a Katmai Brown Bear
walking in front of an Alaska Glacier at close to Midnight
Everyone just chilling (including the bear) on a misty evening
We started our trip by flying into Kodiak Island where we then had a day trip aboard the Island-C
Sarah, (guest) Linda, (naturalist) Linda, Wendy, Dirk, Kyle, Robert and (standing) John
A common sight - looking at wildlife with our binoculars
These Puffins were incredibly hard to photograph - nice captures by John
We went ashore on a remote island - they get a LOT of rain here!
Leftover buildings from WW2
WW2 underground concrete bunker - pretty wild walking around these historical places
Island-C Captain Andy shuttles us back to his ship
The next morning (and after waiting for the fog to lift), we took these floatplanes out to Katmai
John (my (excellent) roommate), Sarah, Linda, and Robert
After a scenic 45 minute flight (we saw whales on the way back), we land ... on the water!
The Ursus would be our floating home for the next several days
This ship was built in 1984 for crab fishing and was the original Time Bandit on the "Deadliest Catch." It's been refitted/customized and is quite comfy - more info/pics here.
Here's the view from the floatplane after landing
The skiff transfers you from the floatplane to the main ship
Motoring over to the other floatplane
After a quick bite to eat, we took the skiff onshore to ... BEAR COUNTRY! ;-)
We had a nice "sit-down" with this bear on a misty evening
Because of the gently sloping shore and 25' tidal swing, the water can move a mile (you could actually see it come in/out) and we often had to wade to/from the skiff - added to the adventure!
Sunnier the next day ... and we have found one of several bear families ... or have they found us?!? ;-)
One of the few times we saw other people on our multi-hour walks ashore
It's pretty wild how casual you become around the bears
As Drew says: "we try to be indifferent to them so they are indifferent to us"
Momma Bear is always on the lookout!
We saw a few wolves, but at quite a distance
A number of eagles were around but you had to look for 'em when they were't flying
A picture with an Eagle and Bear!
The bugs really weren't that bad - I actually didn't know my hat was covered with 'em
After walking for several miles, we took a siesta!
Robert getting down low for the shot ... or taking a nap! ;-)
But then it was time to get back up - MORE BEARS!!!!
Sarah doesn't need a big camera to get pictures of the bears - her iPhone works just fine!
Kyle, Wendy, and John at close to Midnight in the Alaskan summer
It never gets really dark - just kinda dim. At low tide, bears feeding on Salmon
A smorgasbord of bear pictures from various days
We saw a couple of collared bear which are for research purposes
John got this very symmetric (and wide!) picture of the back end of a bear!
A Human Foot next to some Bear and Wolf tracks in the receding tide
Our great guide Drew always keep a close eye on the bears and made sure we stayed safe
Sarah and Robert were always smiling
Robert & Linda took these pictures of me - too bad the bear didn't "smile" for the camera
Just hanging out as bears walk by ... as Alek is looking for ... METAL PIPES! ;-)
So with the 25' tides, there was lots of stuff that would be uncovered at low tide, so while scanning for bears, I saw what appears to be metal pipes wayyyyy off in the distance
John had the longest lens on the trip, so graciously allowed me to take some pics (while my family said "no way is that a pipe!") and turns out the first one was just a piece of rotted out wood ... but HEY, at least there's a bear behind it!
But the second one is definitely a metal pipe! ;-)
In between going ashore to see the bears, Kyle & Dirk did some fishing from the Ursus
Kyle caught a large skate ... which we did release
Our last few days in Alaska Bear Country
Gorgeous Alaskan Scenery the last morning
Sarah lounging in a bear pit ... really!
Wendy was also pretty comfortable in the bear pit ... but it was time to head back home
Skiff picks us up, takes us to the Ursus, transfer to the floatplane, scenic 45 minute flight back to Kodiak Island, farewell dinner, and then fly out the next morning back to the Republic of Boulder
A GREAT trip - who would have thought you could just "hang out" with the bears in
the wild on foot! A big thanks to Drew for being a super guide and my fellow travelers who
were great to travel with and contributed their pictures for this trip report.