Alaska Journey Day 76 / by Dave Hileman

The Birds & The Bears Day (G rating)

Wow. The day began with me heading out to the bay with a guide to view sea birds (along with 7 other people). Lots to view and I saw 3 new birds including the elusive Kittlitz’s Murrelet, a Pacific Loon, and a Short-tailed Shearwater. Lots of puffins, gulls, Common Murrs and a few Harlequin Ducks. We also saw a humpback whale, seals and lots of sea otters. 

Then in the late afternoon, Tom and I lifted off in a seaplane for Lake Clark NP (Number 239). We landed in Chinitna Bay that boarders on the park. Then we transferred to an airboat like you usually see in the Everglades - were told it is the only one in Alaska - and off skimming across the mud flat and the silted glacier water in the very shallow bay to view bears. We saw a mom and first year cub and watched them a long time, then an older big bear caught two fish as we watched from a different vantage point. The captain then moved us closer to a couple of other bears who emerged from the tall grass but they did not really come too close. We saw more at a distance then took a long ride to another vantage point off shore where four younger, active bears were fishing. One went back to the grass but the other three walked straight toward us with one curious fellow stopping about 25 feet from the boat first to stare at us (HP-O as Cadillac would say) and, then picked up a fish and chose to eat it facing our boat. Amazing. Along the way we also spotted eagles and gulls, a large flock of loons and, for me, the fourth new bird of the day, Greater White-fronted Goose. We landed back in the home base lake and taxied to the dock about 9 that evening. Spectacular day!

Cadillac’s Most Correct Viewpoint

I did not get much work done as I had to fly and drive a boat in the same day! Impressive. First I fly a floaty kind of half plane half boat. It was a cinch. Then I drove a boat that thought it was a plane and we skimmed over the water. Once again looking at un-antlered animals. Hmm, must include one of them in the new staff since the HP like them. Anyway, back in the plane and then it was late. Bearly- did you catch that? (I think the HP/s call those a D’Faith.) Anyway hardly time for my evening latte and wild bay salad. Tomorrow I’ll not be distracted with only three days to go. Focus is one of my most outstanding qualities. 

The baby captures a stick.

The baby captures a stick.