Our last post, recounting our rather difficult 3-week passage from Point Barrow, ended with just one day to go to Dutch Harbor and with the highest mountains of the Aleutian Islands (namely Shishaldin Volcano, 75 miles away) just in sight. That final day was overcast and a little foggy, but the sea conditions were happily just as kindly as they had been the day before, when the fin whales had paid us a visit.
The hours seemed to fly by as we talked with John (the captain of Kittiwake—see last post) and we only realized the time when it got dark and a light rain started to fall. John had to get going. He wanted to get Kittiwake to her next anchorage before the SE winds and waves came: he didn’t want to waste fuel by bucking into headwinds and headseas if he didn’t have to. The southeasterly would come early in the morning and would be favorable for us, so after dinner we made everything shipshape on Celeste and then lingered in the cockpit, watching the bears once more. We’d seen all sorts of behavior by the bears during our time in the little bay: cubs playing, mothers corralling cubs, bears fishing, the bear that bluff-charged us, young bears play-fighting and flirting. But that night we saw one more and it seemed so sweet: a mother-daughter clamming expedition! A mother and her yearling cub – who was almost as big as she was – were on the beach nearest Celeste digging in the mud, swiping up clams in their claws, and eating them. We watched them until it got too dark to see (it was already too dark for photos) and then finally went to bed. Continue reading