Our first full day in Southeast Alaska and already we’ve had to buffer expectations and let everyone know that not every day is quite this magical. Alaska has so much to offer and every day we see something spectacular, but the stars don’t always align quite the way they did this afternoon.

Our first landing found us at Sitkoh Bay. This area is known for a productive salmon stream and, as a result, a good spot to find coastal brown bears. At the back of the bay, an intertidal meadow provides reliable food from April until September. Mussels, clams, crabs, and barnacles during low tide and grasses, sedges, and pacific silverweed anytime within that window. Plus, in a few weeks the salmon will arrive.

Today we watched from varying distances as nine brown bears fed on grass and sedges at low tide. A mom and her two cubs started the session by laying in the cool water during this wonderfully warm day. Then we saw a lone individual who sauntered right past us and National Geographic Quest on its way to the forest edge, and likely shade beyond. What a start!