2022—Surprise Encounter

I’m not sure who was more surprised, us or the Kodiak Brown Bear. We’d gone out after dinner one evening to search for the Mama Bear and her three cubs, an effort that proved elusive during first week on Kodiak Island. After waiting patiently for quite a while in our skiffs anchored on the shoreline at the place where the little family was usually seen, our guides decided they were not going to show up that evening. We headed back to camp. Eric, Javier, and I were in the lead boat with our guide Hiram. We had our cameras in our laps which we usually didn’t do but Hiram had a feeling that around the bend, there’d be a bear. Just as he said that, we rounded the bend and there it was to my right only about 15 yards away standing on the berm overlooking the river. I shouted, “and there’s the bear!” I managed to focus and get a few shots and suddenly another bear crashed through the brush behind the first bear just as the second skiff approached behind us. The second bear continued its path toward the water, splashed in and crossed the river behind the second boat. Then the first bear decided to get out of there and it, too, splashed into the river. Half way across, it turned and looked back at us with a quizzical look. We didn’t get to see Mama Bear and her cubs but still it was a great way to finish the day.