Our second day in Wrangell gave us the opportunity to experience some of the locally operated adventure tours in the area. Spike, Randy and Bob took the opportunity to go out on a fishing charter for the day. The day was beautiful, the guide was great, and while they didn’t pull in the trophy halibut, they caught enough for dinner and a fun day was had by all! To add to the successful day, they had a very close whale encounter on the water.
The rest of us opted to go tour Anan Bear Observatory. Anan creek boasts the largest pink salmon run in SE Alaska. This high concentration of food attracts both black and brown bears as well as many eagles, seals and ravens. The forest service now regulates how many people can visit the area a day and has built a viewing platform above the falls and a photo blind at eye level to the creek.
Upon arrival, we were blown away by the beauty of the pristine forest and the clear creek full of salmon. In places the fish were so thick you could not see the bottom of the river! Watching the fish navigate the falls was fascinating in itself. On top of that, there were 10-15 black bears fishing the creek during the time we were there. We watched as they jockeyed for the best fishing spots and pulled large salmon from the stream. Watching the bears for a couple of hours, we began to see the differences between them. Not just physically but also in personality and fishing ability. Some bears made the fishing look easy and with one swipe had a fish in their jaws. Others would try for over an hour without success.
The highlight for all of us was watching the momma bears with their cubs. One little family in particular was fun to watch. A female with her two cubs joined in the fishing. Because of all of the large males in the area, the cubs soon scampered up a tree only about 20 ft from the viewing platform. They dozed in the branches as mom fished. Hours later, when it was time to go, mom came back and when her stubborn cubs wouldn’t come down, she climbed up after them!
After a truly unforgettable day at Anan, we all headed back to the boats. Our group gained a member today as well! Janice’s daughter Megan flew in from Seattle to cruise the rest of the way with us. We had the Eldean crew over for dinner in order to welcome her. After a lovely evening and a full day, l think we will all sleep well tonight!