July 21: Katmai

The most ridiculously expensive (and unforgettable) day trip I’ve ever done: Emerald Air offers bear viewing trips from Homer to Katmai. They’re expensive (600 dollars), but they’re also said to be the best. If you want to go cheaper: on the Homer Spit you can find last minutes for 400. The Emerald Air bear viewing tours book up months in advance. And then you just have to be lucky that the date you picked is a good one: sometimes weather conditions make it impossible to fly.

You travel by floatplane to Hallo Bay (which is where Timothy Treadwell of the Grizzly Man movie camped). They lend you hipboots because the plane will land in the water. The 60 minute flight is wonderful. Unfortunately I slept during most of it because of the pills against motion sickness, but I did get the chance to make some pictures from the plane:

The bear viewing itself was of course amazing. There were at least twenty, most solitary, some with cubs. We could get quite close to them (about 20 to 30 metres I think) and the bears were watchful, but didn’t approach and just went about their business.

It was incredible to watch these animals for hours from such a short distance. At one point a male got too close to a female with cubs which resulted in an aggressive confrontation. Another special moment was when we spotted a wolf. I had never dared to hope to ever see a wolf in the wild.


->July 23-28: Seward
<-July 20-23: Homer

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