Our explorers got an early start this morning as we sailed into Pavlof Harbor – a respite from the intense currents and atmospheric river we experienced yesterday. On foot and by Zodiac, we made our way to the river in search of coastal brown bears feeding in their natural habitat.

Upon arrival, four bears greeted us. Two stout males stayed steady in their respective fishing spots. One of the males moved with ease as we watched him catch and eat over a dozen salmon. A little down the river, another bear easily pawed his prey and continued to fish for salmon in reach. As the river hit a riffle area in the foreground, two subadult bears pawed and played as they refined their salmon-catching skills. One of the young bears seemed to get the hang of it, while the other took advantage of the salmon caught by his brother. A while later, a mother and her two spring cubs shyly made an appearance at the base of the falls. We sat in wonder for hours, watching them eat salmon after salmon, knowing that they refine their technique over many years. It is always a pleasure to watch these bears fishing away in their natural habitat.

We spent the rest of our day cruising south, weaving our way towards Sitka. Our day concluded in celebration as we minted a group of new Global Explorers, learned a few last facts about Alaska, listened in delight to a guest beautifully strumming the guitar, and relived the joy of our week through each other’s photos.