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Black bear in Fords Terror

Bear watching in Alaska

While we were at anchor in Fords Terror we got to watch this female black bear who had a couple of cubs. They ate grass and barnacles and crawled over rocks. While we were anchored in this spot we also got to watch two other bears on the opposite shore.

A Very Zen Line of Work – Podcast

Northwest Navigation Podcast - Pack Creek BearsThis week’s episode of the Northwest Navigation podcast is all things bears. We have a lot of respect for bears. They are big scary creatures that have the potential to be dangerous, yet bears also inspire us through their natural abilities, and their beauty. As students of the wild, when we observe bears we not only learn about them, we learn about ourselves.

Dan Kirkwood from Pack Creek Bear Tours, sat down with us to share his insights into bear behavior, and what to expect when visiting places like Pack Creek.

Listen:  A Very Zen Line of Work

Pack Creek Bear Guide in AlaskaBe sure to check out the trips we offer with Dan and Pack Creek Bear Tours.

Trip Number 334: Alaska’s Fjords with Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 11-18, 2019
Boards: Petersburg
Disembarks: Juneau (Auke Bay)
Itinerary… 

Bear sitting at Pack Creek in AlaskaTrip Number 336: Adventures NW Photography Workshop –  Alaska’s Fjords and Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 31 – June 7, 2019
Boards: Auke Bay (Juneau)
Disembarks: Petersburg
Itinerary…

 

A Very Zen Line of Work

This week’s episode of the Northwest Navigation podcast is all things bears. We have a lot of respect for bears. They are big scary creatures that have the potential to be dangerous, yet bears also inspire us through their natural abilities, and their beauty. As students of the wild, when we observe bears we not only learn about them, we learn about ourselves.

Dan Kirkwood from Pack Creek Bear Tours, sat down with us to share his insights into bear behavior, and what to expect when visiting places like Pack Creek.

Northwest Navigation Podcast - Pack Creek BearsListen to A Very Zen Line of Work on iTunes
Listen to A Very Zen Line of Work on Spotify
Listen to A Very Zen Line of Work on Google

 

Click below to listen to A Very Zen Line of Work now:

Pack Creek Bear Guide in AlaskaBe sure to check out the trips we offer with Dan and Pack Creek Bear Tours.

Trip Number 334: Alaska’s Fjords with Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 11-18, 2019
Boards: Petersburg
Disembarks: Juneau (Auke Bay)
Itinerary… 

Bear sitting at Pack Creek in AlaskaTrip Number 336: Adventures NW Photography Workshop –  Alaska’s Fjords and Pack Creek Bear Viewing
Dates: May 31 – June 7, 2019
Boards: Auke Bay (Juneau)
Disembarks: Petersburg
Itinerary…

 

Alaska Aboard the David B

If you need a short four-minute vacay, the video below contains highlights from one of our 8-day Alaska cruises where we had, beautiful weather, great hikes, saw amazing wildlife, and we got to visit Dawes glacier on a day where we were treated to some breathtaking calving.

We’re taking reservations for 2019. Take 20% off on selected trips in Alaska through Feb 15, 2019. Join us – Special Deals on Cruises.

Alaska Fjords and Pack Creek Bear Vewing

People often ask when’s the best time to cruise in Alaska. It’s a hard question to answer. I happen to love all the trips we do because every trip is different. Here are some highlights from last year’s mid-May Fjords and Bears cruise. It was great fun. We saw lots of different wildlife and had an amazing experience at Pack Creek with the folks from Pack Creek Bear Tours. – Christine

Join us in 2019 for Alaska’s Fjords and Pack Creek Bears Cruise. For information on this trip visit our itinerary page or Contact Us with your questions or to book your space.

A special old bear

We watched this old bear at Pack Creek on Alaska’s Admiralty Island in the spring. She’s thirtysomething and walks with a deep limp from a broken leg now healed. Her nose was once broken and sits askew. Even as she digs clams with mud clinging to her aged fur, I can’t help but think she’s the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen.

Bear watching in Alaska at Pack Creek on Admiralty Island

RE: Your Dad is coming home, I’ve met someone and I’m staying on in Alaska

Laurie can’t ever get her kids to read her emails. It doesn’t matter if the message is important or mundane, they just won’t open them, so she’s had to resort to click bait. The crazier she can make the subject line, the more likely they are to open it.

She and her husband were just on a trip with us in Alaska. We had an amazing time, got to see brown bears very close up. One even wandered by us about 30 feet away, then stopped to munch on grass for almost ten minutes. Then we spent three days in the fjords watching glaciers, and going for hikes, kayaks and skiff rides in magical places.

Laurie wanted to do more – see more places, go for more hikes, see more glaciers. Luckily for her we had space on our next trip, which (also luckily for her) was to Glacier Bay National Park.

 

Rose was also on the trip. She had come to Alaska hoping to do our trip, then find someone who could guide her on a kayak trip in Glacier Bay, but it was too early in the season for most of the tour and guiding operators. She had decided to go home after the trip with us.

Then they started asking about the next trip. “What do we do in Glacier Bay? What wildlife would we see? Was there space available on the trip?”

Laurie and Rose had become great friends in the eight days of the trip. From day one they had been sharing stories and becoming fast friends. This is the stuff our trips are made of. They quickly had become BFFs. We did have space. They wanted to go.

When we arrived in Juneau we worked out all the details. Laurie’s husband had commitments at home, and their schedules wouldn’t let them go for the whole trip, so I arranged for a float plane to meet us and pick them up 4 days into the trip. It was all set up.

All they had to do was let their families know…

RE: Your Dad is coming home, I’ve met someone and I’m staying on in Alaska

 

We’re talking about bears on Facebook Live

We tried something new — Facebook Live!

Jeffrey and I thought it would be fun to see what it was like to do a Facebook Live Chat so we could talk about what we do on the David B, where we go, and to answer questions about what our trips are like. It turned out to be a blast. We were joined by lots of familiar people as well as new people. Not only did we get to talk about one of my favorite bear experiences from as summer, but we also got to answer questions about our trips and drinks with glacier ice.

Below is a link to our YouTube account that has the conversation. I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for more Facebook Live Chats. And if you haven’t had a chance to follow the David B on Facebook, here’s a link.

-Christine

Lesson learned from Little Bear

Bear watching cruise. Alaska small ship cruise mv David B
Little Bear fishing for salmon in Alaska

More than anything else, I love to be in places where I can observe animals. For me, every encounter with wildlife is special. Most of the time these encounters are nothing more than a brief glimpse or a snapshot into a creature’s daily routine. But each time I observe I learn something new about animal behavior and also about myself.

I find bears especially captivating. I love watching how they move, how they make decisions, how they find food, and where they choose to be. I love watching old bears, and young bears, baby bears, and mama bears. I love watching brown (grizzly) bears and black bears equally.

Some encounters stand out. In July this past summer, it was a was a young brown bear. We’d been watching it through binoculars from the David B the night before. The bear had come down to the beach at low-tide to try its hand (or paw, I should say) at fishing. It was alone and seemed to be new at the solo-life of a bear. We speculated that it had recently been run off by its mother and was trying to remember the techniques it had been taught as a baby bear. The bear was trying to pounce on the fish by running and jumping into the creek with its big paws spread wide.  Each time it came up empty pawed. We watched it for over an hour.

Bear watching in Alaska on a small ship cruise
Little Bear checks on its territory

The next morning, the bear, which we affectionately started calling Little Bear, was back on the beach at low-tide. We found it at a different braid of the stream while we were exploring the bay in the skiff. Little Bear was again working on the nuances of fishing, and it appeared it was still coming up empty pawed. Jeffrey kept the skiff offshore in deep water, but close enough that we could watch. Little Bear, strutted around in the water looking for fish. When it found some, it would pounce, and splash, and pounce again.

When it noticed us watching, it ran a short distance along the shoreline with an attitude that suggested we were not welcome to share the fishing hole. Jeffrey backed the skiff. Little Bear was satisfied that we were not a threat, and went back to fishing.

Watching a bear catch fish in Alaska
Surveying the fishing hole

As I’ve thought about Little Bear this fall, I’ve come recognized how hard it is for animals to make it. A young bear has a lot of obstacles to overcome. Young bears don’t often get the best places to forage for food, or the best territory. Young bears like Little Bear are a lesson in persistence. They have to keep trying to catch those fish, no matter how many times they come up empty pawed. That’s what I love about watching wildlife. Life lessons. Lessons that make me smarter, wiser, and more in tune with nature.

As winter sets in, I hope that Little Bear is fat and happy with a big belly full of salmon.

-Christine
PS – If you’d like to have an experience like this, be sure to visit our Alaska pages or simply contact us. Jeffrey and I would love to share moments like this with you.