Under the Hallo Glacier

July 11, 2014 | Captains bLOG | 0 comments | Author:

At Anchor in Hallo Bay

Like a photo found in National Geographic Magazine,  Hallo Glacier meanders to the valley floor behind Dream Catcher as she lies at anchored  behind Niniagiak Island in the NW corner of the Hallo Bay.

We arrived here around 8:30 AM this morning after an early morning departure of Kukak Bay.   Star, my photographer,  unfortunately was sleeping in when I slipped between Cape Nushak and Nushak Island.  It was in many ways like going into Hidden Harbor.  Narrow with shoals and incredible rock pinnacles thrusting up from the ocean floor on both sides.

Why, you ask didn’t I wake her?  I didn’t realize how beautiful and scary the passage looked until I arrived there.  Don’t get me wrong, I had 100’ of channel width and there was no issue navigating it, but with the current surging though the cut trying to push Dream Catcher off course, I was steering, no auto pilot for that run.  So I couldn’t take photos and by the time she’d been awake I would be past the channel.  AND NO, even though it was wider than Hidden, once a day was enough for that passage.

Later in the day we went on a bear viewing adventure with Carissa Turner one of the scientist on board and a Katmai Park Ranger.  She has all sorts of field studies going on here in Halo Bay, which is part of Katmai National Park, and on the other side of the mountains in Brooks Camp as well also part of the park.

For once we took no shotguns, just flares and bear spray along for a shore trip.  Carissa assured us that the bears would be fine, are quite use to seeing viewing parties, and due to the geography of the meadows would not feel threatened or trapped if we keep at least 50 yards distance.  She was spot on!

Learned so much today from her.  What grasses the bears eat, why they love this bay.  Food is why!  Grass, clams, and salmon equal fat and happy bears.  She also said sows with cubs sometimes move close to groups of people.  The rangers feel it is for safety or a more secure feeling for their cubs as the males keep their distance from people.  A lot of times the sows put viewing groups between themselves and the males as well.

We saw one sow with no cubs  but with enlarged teats so either the cubs had fallen prey to males or died for some reason.  Another sow was perched on Nursery Peak sleeping with a single cub.  Seems the sows and cubs hang around this rock outcrop.  The only other sow we saw with cubs moved closer to two groups of people once a male moved too close.

It was a pretty awsome day here.  To finish it off I BBQ chicken for dinner, then 6 of the party donned immersion suits and splashed and tubed around for about an hour haveing a blast!

Tomorrow is our last day.  We head up to Cape Douglas in the morning and by evening should be all finished with this survey and heading home to Homer.

It is midnight and I need to be up early again so until tomorrow enjoy your day.

Rob & Star


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