First day with Grizzly Bears
20/06/15OH MY GOD!! What an amazing day. But first of all last night. We decided to eat in the hotel. The hotel is called Captain Cook and the restaurant is on the 20th floor and appropriately called The Crows Nest. A crab patty followed by black cod (much nicer than cod - flaky and tasty) for me and a huge rib eyed beef for Cherith were excellent. But the view was something else, looking over Anchorage and to the snow capped mountain range surrounding the city. And all bathed in perfect light even when we left the restaurant at after 10pm, as sunset is not until 11.30 and sunrise is about 4.30.
A quick breakfast for me this morning and then I left Cherith who was being picked up at 12 mid-day. A taxi took me to Lake Hood, our venue for the plane. It is a large lake and there were hundreds of small aircraft surrounding it. I eventually located our plane. In fact we had 2 planes for the 7 of us. I was in a Haviland propeller plane, with the pilot and one passenger in the front and three of us strapped into the back seats like sardines. What a great flight, lasting one hour and flying over sea, rivers, lakes, land and surrounded by mountains, with just the very occasional building as we travelled about 100 miles. We looked down at one point and there were beluga whales swimming beneath us. The plane landed on the beach and we were then taken by a quad bike with a trailer with two bench seats to our lodges. Very comfortable and I have my own, and it is so peaceful.
After a quick briefing we were on our way out, and we did not need to use the vehicle but walked a couple of hundred yards and in minutes were photographing not one but three bears - a mother and its cubs from last year. They were very relaxed and we were probably within 15 metres of them.
After lunch of pulled pork and vegetables we were very soon off again and headed down to the beach where the same family group were digging for clams, before lying down and resting on the beach and we were lucky to be able to watch the cubs suckling from mother, in lovely light. At one stage they walked past us and were no more than 5 metres away! After leaving them we saw two boars, but only at a distance. It would appear that the males don’t hang around much if the vehicles approach. We did however manage to spend some quality time with another very relaxed female, and as were about to leave she walked right behind us and up a bank which had lupins growing to provide a lovely setting for a shot.
Just had dinner - smoked salmon, and very nice and will be out again soon to make the most of the lovely light. I think this will be a tiring few days.