Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Berry Island Bear



Day One brought a beautiful anchorage and our first bear sightings; not a bad way to begin the 2015 cruise. Last year it seemed to take forever to spot the first critter, so I consider this black bear an omen of good things to come. Now where is the first whale?

Not long after we anchored Ron cleaned his binoculars and scanned the far shore on Swanson Island to focus the lenses. Black bear on the beach! It slowly ambled along the water’s edge, nosing about to feed on some unseen tidbits exposed by the low tide, and seemed committed to spending some time in the same area. That was an invitation to launch the skiff and run over for a photo shoot. I packed a go-bag with binoculars, camera gear and some snacks, grabbed the coats and life jackets and joined Ron in the cockpit as he readied the skiff. Wait a minute, Black bear on the beach! close behind Rhapsody, so close we could hear the rocks tumble as this bear rolled them over to check for edibles. Grab the cameras and forget the skiff, this was a bonus photo op. Last year we spent weeks looking for our first bear, and here we were with two of them in our first anchorage of the 2015 trip.
                                                                

After the tide rose to covered the intertidal zone, the Berry Island bear wandered off uphill into the dense brush. He returned the next morning, this time spending an hour at high tide munching on the tall grasses around the cove. Ron used the skiff for a closer approach and more photographs. That was one fat, glossy-coated and well-fed bear!


We did finally load gear into the skiff and tour the southeast end of neighboring Swanson Island. We viewed crumbling old homesteads and beached boats, newer cabins still waiting for summer residents, fishing lodges and occasional wildlife, but no more bear. This corner of the island was quiet, even the eagles nest looked abandoned.
                                                 
Photo: eagle nest in tree               
Photo: Sailboat and barge house in disrepair


Photo: Harlequin ducks

Photo: Timid doe on rocky shore at low tide

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