The bears, oh the bears. They have now officially become my #1 favorite Alaska experience.
I was worried whether I'd spot any at all. Turns out, I saw at least 50. Most of the time, they seemed to be just loafing around. (I'm told that's an actual term scientists use to describe their behavior.) But also, ambling, nuzzling, nursing, swimming, sleeping, chasing, and eating. Sometimes it was hard to tell how many animals were snuggled up in the bear pile!
You have to be patient to be a bear watcher. Sometimes, my guide and I sat for an hour in one spot, waiting for a sleeping bear to stir, to raise its head and glance at us, to capture that engaging shot. (They are strictly protected, so you are not allowed to make any noise that would disrupt their normal activity). Sometimes they stirred for a moment, and then went back to sleep before I had time to lift my camera. This is the same trio that was curled up and sleeping, in my previous blog post.
That's the Brooks Mountain Range in the background. By mid-October, the water will be frozen over, the bears will disperse across the ice, and will no longer be accessible by boat. So there is a very short window each year during which you can see these beautiful creatures.
Kaktovik, Barter Island, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska