Sights and Sounds of Alaska

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By Kelley Ashford, Sr. Video Specialist, Improvement, WWF-US  &  Mónica Echeverría-Cota, Deputy Director, Media and Strategic Communications, WWF-US 

We each have lengthy anticipated touring to Alaska. It’s a kind of locations on each nature-lover’s bucket listing. However whereas many goals of encountering the broad mountains of the North, we by no means imagined it might be on a visit as particular as this Alaska Grizzly Encounter.

Becoming a member of Pure Habitat Adventures in Katmai Nationwide Park introduced us right into a world we didn’t understand existed – a world just about untouched by people. At the least untouched, within the sense that we needed to take a float airplane simply to get to the distant location the place a ship – the Pure Habitat Ursus – was anchored for us to sleep on board and journey by skiff to shore to be able to witness the wonders of the land. We’ve got been fortunate to journey the world and expertise a myriad of distinctive locations in nature, however this journey is by far on the high of the listing for essentially the most distant areas both of us has been. 

©WWF-US/Kelley Ashford

Kelley is a video producer by commerce and wished to seize the sights and sounds of Katmai and its resident brown bears. On this footage, you’ll see these large bears who had been typically simply yards away. They’re North America’s largest land predators, and an grownup male can weigh 900 kilos – some much more. Whereas spectacular, we discovered that these giants – at the least noticed from afar in a really regulated, cautious method – spend a largely quiet life. Our journey was held in June when the massive bears graze on seg, a high-protein grass that holds them over till the salmon runs start later in summer season. When not grazing, many had been snoozing. 

https://vimeo.com/762374059/78cbe14719

©WWF-US/Kelley Ashford 

Regardless of the proximity of one of the crucial feared mammals in North America, we had been shocked to really feel calm and protected. This can be a enormous because of our Expedition Chief, Shawn, and the workers of Ursus. In coastal Katmai, we walked the land on foot, rigorously wandering the realm in our small group below cautious steerage from Shawn, who has spent a number of years strolling amongst and finding out the habits of Katmai’s coastal grizzlies. He is aware of these bears and he is aware of tips on how to coach guests in protected bear etiquette.  

©WWF-US/Kelley Ashford

The one factor Shawn couldn’t shield us from was the frigid wind, blowing down from surrounding glaciers, and the unpredictable Alaskan climate. That’s the place the remainder of the Ursus crew got here in for the rescue. Regardless of the ship being a refurbished crabbing vessel, the crew managed to create a comfortable, welcoming residence for us to retreat to after lengthy walks alongside the coast. From gourmand dishes in all three meals ready by our energetic and at all times cheerful chef, Melissa. 

©WWF-US/Monica Echeverria

To our ship captain, John, who made positive we navigated the chilly and glacier-like waters below the most secure situations you would ever anticipate.  

©WWF-US/Monica Echeverria

And to the deckhand and second captain, Angus, who took us to and from shore throughout chilly, windy, and generally wet days. He was at all times joking and smiling however keeping track of every certainly one of us with light reminders about security being his foremost purpose. Mónica is a sailor at residence and may inform Angus is aware of extra about tides than anybody she’s ever met. 

©WWF-US/Monica Echeverria

In case you ask both of us, what’s it that makes this journey so distinctive? We’d each say it was a mixture of all of this – having the ability to watch brown bears of their pure state, experiencing a number of shut encounters, watching the power of playful kids, and having fun with all of it amongst fantastic firm. 

 

©WWF-US/Kelley Ashford

For each of us, our respective first journeys to Alaska had been memorable, not only for the bears that captured our hearts, however for the people who made the journey attainable. We’re grateful to each member of that crew and to our Expedition Chief for permitting us and the remainder of our fellow vacationers to spend every week of time of their world.  

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