Kodiak, Alaska and Larsen Bay Lodge
I flew out of Syracuse, arriving at the Kodiak airport on July 9th about 26 hours later, picking up a rental car at the airport and heading to my Airbnb in Kodiak directly across from the harbor and fishing fleet.
I must add that if anyone gets to Kodiak do NOT rent a car from Budget: squealing brakes, bald tires, a trunk that wouldn't open and low tire air pressure indicator lit. After being told this was normal I headed out knowing I was screwed. Now I know why the Avis counter was busy and Budget had no one in line.
Having obtained permission from the Airbnb owner to check in early I headed to the beautiful little apartment and hauled my stuff up the side of a hill to settle in, second floor with a deck overlooking the harbor.
After hauling all my gear up into the apartment, I took the opportunity to open the refrigerator door and was greeted with two Alaskan IPAs on the top shelf. Not wanting to be an ingrate I immediately opened one and went out on the deck to sit for a spell. That is when I caught the flash of yellow that turned out to be a Wilsons Warbler, a beautiful little bird not found on the East Coast. Game on.
Took a quick ride to the East until I ran out of road at a quiet little park on a bay. Birds and Blacktail deer were abundant. Undertook a long walk along the ocean as the tide was out. Never saw another person.
The next 4 or 5 days were to be spent exploring, with one day on the water charter fishing. There are only about 100 miles of road on Kodiak Island, so there was plenty of time. Don't go with an expectation of seeing a lot of bears by driving the roads; I saw one and was told it was a rare sight. Thick growth lines most of the roads. It would be necessary to arrange for ATV tours, etc. to get back where the critters are. Kodiak is a fishing port and home of the largest Coast Guard base in the world. Bottom line is if you ever plan to go here do your homework and find a good outfitter or tour operator. Cruise ships frequent Kodiak and can result in bookings being tight.
After my solitary exploration I met up with the photo group and off we flew to Larsen Bay Lodge where each morning we were flown, along with a guide, in a float plane to where the bears were. Great company, great service and Frenchy, our guide who flew into Anchorage many years ago and canceled the return flight. While we concentrated on the bear in front of us he was watching our backs. If we were fishing and paying attention to the job at hand Frenchy would watch for bears, and, upon spotting an approaching bear get us out of the river into a group. Just the sight of someone fishing can excite the bears because they know it could result in easy pickings. All the guides refrain from giving fish to bears or letting them get the caught fish as it could result in the bear developing bad habits. Habits that could get it killed. Since bears have terrible eyesight we would simply gather behind Frenchy, so we looked like something big and ominous. Had them approach as close as 50 feet or so and was never alarmed. Running? Good way to commit suicide. They live to pursue slow moving prey. Anything that can run 100 yards in 10 seconds thru 3 feet of water probably would catch up to a 68-year-old fat guy that hasn't run further than to the fridge in years. They can smell though. Can smell a carcass two or three miles away and if they approached they all headed directly for where our caught fish were. Under two feet of water in plastic bags. Frenchy would just step forward with his hands up and give a few "Hey Bear! Hey Bear!." And away they wander. Nine years as a bear guide and he has never had to shoot one.
So that should give you an idea. Here is a link to the results of my efforts. Be sure to click on "show more" to get to the bears!!!!