Monday, October 4, 2010

Polar Bears

After traveling more than 10,000 miles by land, air and sea, I am back in Virginia after meeting with Polar Bears in the Alaska National Wildlife Arctic Refuge (ANWAR). They are the ultimate predators and being close to them with not protection, other than a guide with a weapon was unnerving. Although I have been in the proximity of lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards in Africa, there I was sheltered by a vehicle that could speed away from danger. In ANWAR, I was on foot on land with no chance to outrun the bears, they can do 30 miles per hour; more than than the 5 that I can achieve over a short distance. The outcome is obvious.

I saw about twenty bears, with several females having 2 cubs each, do not know is that is the usual number. On one occasion, one family approached in an inquisitive manner since I am still here; if the mom who have wanted to provide the cubs with a dinner, I would not be here writing this blog.

One of the cubs was extremely curious and came within 20 feet and performed by standing in its feet and moving the arms as umpire signaling in a football game. Another found a white feather, which it examined closer and then started playing with it.

While searching of the bears in a small boat, ran into two bears swimming and was able to photograph them. They showed not interest and continue on their way. These animals are large and can swim hundreds of miles, one raised its body about 3 feet above the water to look around. I am quite sure that if they wanted, they could have come aboard the boat or turned it over and get meals inside. I had been many places with wild animals, but no where with the level or risk or excitement that I had here.


jeannette said...

Glad you're still in one piece to tell us this, Jose:)
You know that California is known for the grizzly, but I have to say I prefer the white bear (has to do with painting I guess). Amazing pics as always!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a stunning and exhilarating experience Jose!! Something like this lives in our minds forever.

To see them swimming must have been as exciting as seeing elephants swim. Most people do not realize how good they are at this.

As always, the pictures are brilliant but then I expect no less from you.

Glad to have you back safe and sound once more, I WAS beginning to think something had eaten you. LOL!!

Anonymous said...

Great shots José!ahora voy a escribir en español parahacerlo más raápido :)
sin dudas que estar ante semejante bestia debe ser muy impactante y debe hacer que uno se sienta vivo y a la vez una poca cosa ...
por suerte estuviste en el lugar correcto y en el momento preciso para poder disfrutar de los osos y de unas jornadas inolvidables.