Civilized Wildlife

Last night we awoke out of a dead sleep, hearing a noise and feeling a nudge to the van. Well, I did and then I woke Andrew up in a frenzy. We felt it tap us again on the rear this time (well I did, Andrew asked if we imagined it). We were parked on the far edge of town and it was only 12 am. With no one else there, I was fairly certain that we weren’t getting messed with by some bored teenagers so I had it in my mind it was probably a bear. Since it was still so early in the night, we decided to move for our own piece of mind. Starting the van, we noticed there was the tell-tale flatten long grass we’d seen before out in the national parks. We’re still not sure for certain if it was a bear or some kid messing with us, and we may never know. What I do know, is that we’ve been in the our fair share of wilderness and this happens in Valdez of all places? Maybe it was the fish and chips we had for dinner?

2011 09 14 Evidence of a bearSo, we moved to the marina and passed back out almost immediately. It was quiet until the morning when bus loads of kids were being dropped off for sea kayaking excursions and people were out starting their day.

2011 09 14 Evening s accomodations2011 09 14 ValdezWe got up and headed over to Magpies, the (only?) local coffee shop and bakery in town. We promptly plonked ourselves there for the better part of the rainy day – enjoying far too many baked goods, all of which were made in house. I think we payed for our internet usage in food, having a run up a $30 tab by the time we were ready to leave. In our defence, it was all fairly pricey, but it was good.

2011 09 14 Cute coffee shop2011 09 14 Great menu and staff2011 09 14 Town thats rampent with bunniesWe left the bakery for the harbour, finding some fisherman really doing quite well catching fish right in the harbour. One fellow arrived, promptly cast his line and not 30 seconds later he had a bite. He released his catch, cast again and caught another within 2 minutes. He released that one too. The man next to him who had been fishing the whole time we were watching, hadn’t caught a thing. The whole catch and release thing seems a bit cruel particularly for the other fisherman. Then again, so does not properly subduing your catch if you are keeping it – we saw a couple fish still flopping about after several minutes of being on shore. I am glad we went out with an experienced guide, I don’t think our really fish suffered.

2011 09 14 Valdez small boat harbour2011 09 14 Bay2011 09 14 Known for fishing2011 09 14 Caught one2011 09 14 Happy fishermanWe moved on to Solomon Gulch to check out the hatchery. Out on the mudflats we found several eagles and a couple bears enjoying the spoils of the area. It seems lately we have found more wildlife in civilized places.

2011 09 14 MagesticBeing low tide, I was able to wander out to try get a better shot of an eagle. He tolerated me for a while before taking off.

2011 09 14 Out on the mudflats to photograph an eagle  Cellphone snap2011 09 14 Staredown2011 09 14 Eagle2011 09 14 Footprints2011 09 14 In flightThe few bears we saw had the same story but we didn’t really need to get closer – you could see them was right by the road.

2011 09 14 Searching for food2011 09 14 Rule breaking bear2011 09 14 Unlucky2011 09 14 Scavengers2011 09 14 Spotted us2011 09 14 Solomon Gulch2011 09 14 Dinner on the roadAs it started to darken we pressed on, heading back north – the weather has driven us out we’ve felt cold to the bone all day long. Valdez seems to have its own dedicated rain cloud.

2011 09 14 Port Valdez