4 feet from a wild grizzly
22/06/15Another good day here in the wilds of Alaska. We started again at 7am and saw a few bears and got a few photos but nothing special.
During the day I have been constantly reminded that these grizzly bears that we can get so close to are truly wild animals and at 400kg for a boar they are not be messed with. As I was leaving breakfast I realized why we are told to look both ways as you walk out the door of the lodge. If I had gone a further two steps down the outside staircase I could quite literally jumped on the back of a female as she wandered slowly past with her cubs into the grounds of our lodge.
Later in the morning as we were photographing the same bear family we noticed the male who is expressing interest in the female that we watched yesterday. The female was moving away when the male suddenly noticed our family group. All hell was let loose as the female and cubs raced away and the male rushed into the trees. They were almost within touching distance and we actually were able to check their paw impressions in the track just 4 feet from where we had been standing. Not too surprising that I said "Golly gosh that was close" or something similar.
I have been very close to wild animals and larger ones before but always when in a safari vehicle. To be on foot and in the open just meters from 150+kg (female) or 300+kg (male) that can run at 36 mph is an adrenaline rush situation.
In between the family group that we had been watching had wandered towards a lodge and we think somebody had come out and frightened them, because they scampered thirty foot or more up the tree and even the mother went a short way up the tree. They stayed up there for best part of an hour.
After lunch we headed back to the beach and watched a female digging out clams. Although it initially appeared wary, it soon settled and was walking directly towards us and no more than 4 meters away on numerous occasion until we backed off, not because of any danger but to give it room to look for the clams.
After 90 minutes we set off on a boat to an island about 40 minutes away to photograph Tufted puffins. I decided to take a Dramamine to just to make sure I wasn't seas sick. Not sure if they worked because the expiry date was 2013, but I was fine. The trip was excellent and got some great flight shots of a lovely bird. Unfortunately we missed some Grizzly sex on the beach - but can't be in two places at any time.
After dinner we have had a final 90 minutes making the most of some lovely light to photo a male and a family group.