Fifty yards: that’s how far the black bear was from the stream full of salmon to the field team I was with at Shrimp Bay. Seeing bears from a distance walking away is amazing, but to have one walking towards you not knowing you were there is just downright terrifying and awesome. It was even 20160730_203020-1brave enough to poke its head through a bush to watch our progress, before it saw us and fled again. We encountered this bear when we were looking over culverts and streams out in Shrimp Bay again, and then we  went to Bakewell to monitor the progress of the fish channels and weirs. The salmon that went through the channel were over two feet long, as long as the pink salmon I caught in this picture…which would push you around if you stood in their way. It was astonishing to see two of the legendary animals of Alaska in the same week, the bear catching salmon to eat and the salmon pushing my field partner out of the way to get through the fish channel. I also had a remarkable encounter with a pod of Dall’s porpoises racing us back to Ketchikan from Bakewell. They were jumping on either side of us wanting to see who was the fastest, and they stayed by our side for almost ten minutes. Nature was at its best this week, and I can’t wait to see what else lives in this magical world.

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