(I can't believe we've been back for a few weeks now and I still haven't finished this trip - or blogged about much else. There's no excuse. Simply put, I suck.)
On the 13th day of our Alaskan adventure, we woke up to yet another wet and wild day in the Alaskan rain forest. After breakfast we found out that we had a free morning with a hike scheduled for after lunch. We used the opportunity to kayak around Klu Bay. Once again we stuck to the perimeter of the Bay hoping to spot some wildlife but, alas, we were as unsuccessful as ever. We'd scan the cove for spots we thought a bear would venture down to the shore and kayaked over, hoping to get lucky with an up close sighting. Heck, given our luck thus far on spotting wildlife on our own, even if we had seen a mink, sea otter, or ... pretty much anything ... it would have been successful wildlife viewing. Because it was so rainy we were one of the few couples out in the water, and darn was it wet. Despite the deluge, the cove was calm, with nary a wind to mar the kayaking experience.
After lunch I bowed out of our scheduled hike, having just barely dried out from our morning kayak. Alan decided to go with out me, and boy am I glad that I didn't go. He came back wet, hot, and muddy.
Upon returning, Alan found me in the forward lounge attempting to read while some of my fellow passengers were watching a Bruce Willis movie on the big TV. Interesting choice ... but I digress. He hadn't been sitting down more than a few minutes when the expedition leader came over to report that one of the afternoon skiff tours had seen a sow and cub foraging on the shoreline. They were going to send out another skiff if we were interested in joining the party. Now, I dunno about you, but the idea of seeing bears, in Alaska, is pretty darn awesome in my book. (Confession: last summer I discovered the live bear cam of Brooks Falls, Alaska, and for hours I would watch the bears feeding on salmon as they attempted to swim up river. I'm kind of obsessed.) I jumped up, screamed "BEARS!" and ran upstairs to don some warm clothing and my soaked rain gear. I didn't trust my iPhone to take good photos, so I also grabbed my Olympus since it had behaved itself somewhat during our morning kayak.
Alan and I got great seats on the skiff - Alan even got to ride in the bow, which meant he was the first one to spot the bears through his binoculars! I have to tell you, I'm not sure I've ever been that close to a bear before, and we've gone on what I would consider a pretty good bear watching tour in Tofino. The really interesting thing was, we could tell that the momma bear knew we were there, but because we were silent, she just kept on with the business of refueling after a winter's hibernation ... only glancing up at us every so often to make sure we weren't doing anything untrustworthy. It wasn't until another one of our skiffs tried to come near that she got nervous and ran back into the forest, cub in tow. I'd say all told we were watching her and the cub eat for 15 to 20 minutes. It was magic!
All in all, despite the rain, our day in Klu Bay was pretty darn fantastic!