We arrived early in the morning into Pavlov Harbor from our overnight travel through the Chatham Strait. Some guests explored the creek via Zodiacs while others walked along the shoreline. We observed signs of bear activity all along the wildlife trails. The creek was full of salmon in their later stages of life, awaiting the chance to move further upstream to spawn. As we entered the designated wildlife quiet zone and silenced our voices, the sounds of nature surrounded us: the gurgling stream, the waterfall pounding on the rocks, sea gulls squawking, ravens chatting, salmon jumping and splashing in the creek. We saw brown bears catching and feeding on salmon while surrounded by many gulls, waiting for their chance to scavenge the scraps. The bear-watching was meditative and quite memorable for many of us.

Our next stop was an anchorage at Iyoukeen Cove. Here we first intended to kayak and hike the coastal rainforest. Just as we were about to make the landings, a rather curious brown bear sauntered along the beach toward the line of empty kayaks. The shore team made the safe decision to board an expedition craft (Zodiac), and we all pivoted our plans to watch the bear move along the beach and forest edge. Moving branches just inside the tree line and the cracking sounds of the forest floor under the bear’s heavy footing allowed us to track the bear from the Zodiacs. It was an exciting brown bear observation… and a good story to tell regarding why we had to forgo kayaking.

Since our earlier plans changed, we opted for a coastal waters tour via the Zodiacs, and two additional special activities for the afternoon. The Global Explorers joined National Geographic Sea Bird’s second mate for Zodiac driving training, and many guests participated in a 48-degree-Fahrenheit polar plunge! It was a very exciting day for us all, and one that made many lasting memories.

Text written by Veronica Franklin, Naturalist