Bear soup - Katmai
|Float plane to Katmai|
OK, so we’ve gave up on counting bears when we got to 80-something, and yes, we’ve posted lots of bear photos, but when you get to Katmai you realise that you have reached the centre of the bear universe and every bear that you saw before was merely an appetiser.
After an afternoon of bear watching at Brooks Falls, where over a dozen bears gathered to employ a range of fish catching techniques to harvest salmon intent on ensuring the passage of their genes to the next generation, we returned to dinner in the lodge, with a couple of glasses of wine, before retreating to the campsite to pitch our rented two person tent (for some reason Christine decided that my one man tent wouldn’t do the trick) in the rain. As you can imagine, too much rain, combined with too many wines made the pitching of an unfamiliar tent quite a challenge, so we settled for something that was remotely tent-like and crawled in for the night.
Another day of leisurely bear watching started to reveal the different strategies employed by the different bears. Some would position themselves at the top of the falls facing downstream to catch salmon in mid-leap. Others would position below the falls waiting for those salmon that didn’t quite have enough “oomph” to get up the falls to wash back into their waiting jaws. It seems that the dominant males got these prime spots. A bit further down stream in the riffles, younger bears or mothers with cubs would resort to pouncing on fish passing through the shallow waters. Even further downstream, where the fish left the lake for the stream, other bears would either “snorkel” with their heads beneath the water, or stand upright in waist deep water, trying to get a better view from a higher vantage point. And all the time, they would watch each other, ensuring they knew exactly where everyone else was, without making actual eye contact, looking away as soon as a more dominant animal looked their way, presumably a mechanism for otherwise solitary animals to deal with the unusually closed proximity forced upon them by the concentrated food source.
|Boxing on the beach|