Monday, May 25, 2009

The Bear Facts!

On 5-23 we raised the anchor and motored out of Portage Bay on Kupreanof Island, before we even made it into Fredrick Sound Jim spotted a blow. The day ahead of us was not a disappointment. Once again a brilliant beautiful day, which means more motoring but perfect wildlife viewing conditions. It wasn't long before we were treated to over an hour of Humpback whale activity. There were dozens of whales, blows, backs, fins, flukes-fantastic! There were of course more Eagles, gulls, icebergs, seals, Steller sea lions, Yellow Billed Loons, Common Loons, Ravens and dozens of Pigeon Guillemots.

Our day wound down as we entered Chapin Bay on Admiralty Island another stunning anchorage. The anchor was not even down before Jim spot the Big Guy! Yep a Brown bear on shore watching us. Brown bears once inhabited much of North America from the Great Plains to California. They disappeared from most states due to habitat loss and efforts to eradicate them. Today they occupy less than 1% of their former range. In Alaska the populations are healthy. Roughly 35,000-45,000 of these magnificent creatures roam freely. About a thousand are taken each year by hunters which are strictly monitored to preserve the species. Brown bears are distinguished by their prominent shoulder humps, dish-shaped face and long front claws. Their coats range in color from honey blonde to deep chocolate. Brown bears spend their waking hours in search of food, by end of summer most adult males weigh between 500-900 pounds with some weighing as much as 1,400 pounds. Such a bear, when standing on it's hind feet, is about 9 feet tall.

I have my bear bell at the ready and Jim has other means at the ready!

The rain has started.


Nanci said...

Hello Fran and Jim!
Muchas gracias for the seafood recipe book... the photos make me hungry. :) Can't wait to try some! I am not the only one wanting to try Alaskan seafood... just read today that sperm whales have been stealing black cod from the fishermen's nets off of Sitka...too funny, they are so smart! I had to laugh.
Sounds like you are having a feast for your eyes... what amazing sounding territory you are in! Lucky you... :)
Hugs, Nanci

sam said...

Hey you guys,

Did you see the hole in the mountain when you were in Chapin Bay? Douglas doesn't talk about it, but it is sketched into their little chart.

Sam Darbous