Sunday, June 9, 2013

Warm Springs to Red Bluff bay – 21 miles

It was hard to leave but we were ready to get back to the wilderness again, just the three of us and to see more amazing scenery. Departing at a very sensible 10:30am we exited the mouth of the bay and watched as a whale was rubbing himself on a rock. We had seen him there from the dock but we managed to get a close (and legal) look at him. The weather was still fine and we had a southerly wind which allowed us some sailing before it backed on to our bow.

Red Bluff is also known for its scenic beauty and wildlife, not that many places are drab here. We dropped the anchor in 65ft of water on the NW part of the inner bay. The outer bay used to be the site of the largest Herring processing plant in Alaska in the early 1900s but today you would have a hard time finding any evidence of the site. Having read some of the history of the area it appears that the region used to be far more populated. Warm springs for instance used to have a population of 200 now it has a couple of residents. Canneries, whale processing plants and sawmills used to proliferate the region. Now there is little evidence of the sites. It’s amazing how quickly the sites get re assimilated into the environment.         
Red bluff bay

We watched this eagle diving for duck for about an hour.

Evening wildlife watching in pajamas
Jude and I took the kayaks out to explore the grass covered mud flats and river. We paddled for a couple of hours and I decided to stretch my legs on a spit of land. Checking that there were no bears around and that I could see the woods for approaching bears I walked around looking for bear sign. Jude, who was still in the kayak, asked what was that in the water about two hundred meters from me. It was a large grizzly bear swimming from the other side of the bay. I watched him for a second, took a few photos. As soon as his legs hit land he started to run. Towards me! Oh hell, I was about 20 meters from my kayak and managed to get in and paddle away before he reached me. Once I was about 10 meters from shore he stopped and started eating grass.  I guess I was on his patch. There was I thinking that I was safe being able to see where I thought a bear might come from. I did not think of a bear swimming. Thanks goodness Jude spotted it. I did have an airhorn and bear spray (pepper spray) but I would not have liked to be in the situation where I had to use it. The instructions tell you to stand still. Do not run. When the bear is about two seconds from you or 30 feet spray him. I am not sure if I could stand still if a 400-500lb 10ft bear was running towards me. I can tell you that my heart was beating quicker than a humming-bird’s wings and my bowels were a little loose.  After the bear settled down we sat and watched him for a while, at a safe distance, always wondering how fast they can swim and could we paddle faster.

Running bear

Having chased me off his patch he settles down to his evening meal

1 comment:

  1. Regarding the grizzly bear encounter, Jude said not only was your heart rate up, but you were "screaming like a little girl."