Monday, August 30, 2010


Well - guess what our days in Homer brought?? A bear expedition. It came, however, after a two day weather postponement. No matter (we are retired after all and can adjust our schedule at a moments notice;-)) - those days were just filled with an ‘investigate Homer’ day and an ‘investigate Soldotna’ day. The day to Soldotna netted a nice visit with Marita and Pat, who we met in the Phoenix RV Park, and another moose sighting of a cow and her calf -

THEN - our postponed trip to Katmai NP to see the bears. What an experience!! The mighty grizzly got up close and personal;-)

The pictures will tell a story all by themselves - but, just a little about the ‘personalities’ of the bears we saw. YES, the personalities of the bears!! Amazing what you can tell from watching each of these animals for an hour or more.

The first ‘watch’ was of “Bad Mama”. She acquired this name as she paid very little attention to her cub (which was probably about 6 months old - born this past winter), NEVER shared the food she caught with it and wandered off leaving the poor little thing behind without a thought!! She, also, was not very effective at fishing. Fishing is what all the Moms were doing in the river when they looked like the were romping/playing in the water. Very serious business for them!

Bad Momma was not very interested in her cub.

Man, can she move!

As Bad Mama moved on, “Good Mama” and her two bear cubs (probably about 18 months old - born the 2009 winter) became our study. Good Mama was a VERY proficient and efficient fisherwoman! She caught 7 fish in the hour we were watching her - only missed on about two attempts!! The first one she caught she took to the sand bar where the two cubs were - and they immediately jumped on the fish leaving her nothing. The next ones she caught she brought to the sand bar in the middle of the stream and made the cubs come out there if they wanted any. At least this way she got the first couple of bites. BUT, she always shared with the cubs. While she fished she kept an eye on their antics on the beach. She was a real study in fishing and we watched this ‘family’ for about an hour while eating our lunch.

Good Mamma was very attentive to her cubs.

Psst, let's keep an eye on mom. She's fishin' and she's good at it.

Look, look! She's after a big one!

Where did it go?

Over here?

Over, there?


Mmmmm. Thanks mom.

That didn't last long. Let's get another.

I'm over here.

I think I'll stretch out while mom is working.

After all that fishing and eating, Good Mama and her cubs were ready to nap. So we moved on to another Mama and her two cubs that came our way after being displaced by a BIG male who came in to prove his authority by taking over her fishing area (we did not get too close to him as he was quite far away).

This big guy caused Mom and cubs to move on down the shore line.

This Mama was a little lazy - she just dug up old fish that had become trapped in the sand - good and smelly so easy to find!! YUCK!! The best part of this family was watching ‘the kids’ float down the river to get to Mama and then wrestling with each other. That, and the fact that one of the cubs had a beautiful collar of lighter brown around its neck.

This mom kept an eye on her cubs while they swam across some fast moving water to follow her.

Jeez.. did you have to go in the deep end?

I think I can, I think I can.

Yay, we made it. Let's wrestle.

Let's dance.

After about four hours, it was time to return;-( BUT, Bad Mama gave us one final show! She was on her way back from her afternoon outing and just passing the planes as we returned to board. Our guides said to ‘bunch up and sit down’! YES - sit down. (You have to have great faith in these guides - they said this was submissive behavior and the bear would walk right past!) AND SHE DID! Good thing - because IF Gary had stretched his arm straight out to his side he would have been able to touch her!! UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL!! He does have a shot of her as she went by - but she was sooooo close with the lens he had on the camera, he only got a portion of her head!

Bad Momma heading our way.

Yikes, getting closer.

Too close to get the camera focused - and I can't move!

This was the MOST incredible experience. And - what a finish for us by Bad Mama!! (Little cub was tagging along some distance behind and when Mama found a fish she did NOT share - yet again!) Sure did get the adrenaline moving with a grizzly passing within five feet of you. If you are ever in Homer, Alaska - be sure to go to Katmai and see the grizzlies;-))

After all this excitement, we said a sad farewell to our traveling partners - Kacy and Dusty - Monday morning and began the trip back to Park City;-(

Hope you enjoyed the pictures - we sure had a GREAT time getting them. More later.

Love to all - Mama Bear and Papa Bear

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is really neat, those bears really were up close and personal! The story of Bad Mama and Good Mama sounds like lots of fun. I hope you guys kept a little more distance than you let on though, getting that close to a mother grizzly with cups seems dangerous. Camera is way cool too. These pictures and the ones of the bald eagle have incredible detail, very impressive photography.
    Glad you two are having so much fun and I hope you make it home safe and sound.