Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bears, Birds, and a Lagoon

Day 6 (2016-09-17)

Another beautiful day anchored near the southern part of the Govena Peninsula, a state reserve. Our first on-land excursion was at Yuzhnaya Glubokaya. We immediately saw bears on the shore from our zodiac. A mother bear and her two cubs, one dark like her and the other a honey color, were on the shore and when she saw the zodiacs she started to run up the beach and then up the cliff with her cubs behind her. After watching for a while, we turned into the bay and promptly saw another bear on the side of the mountain just above the beach. He was in bushes and we could not see him, but then he would pop up and look at us and then go down into the bushes again. We continued to follow the bay around to where there were more ruins of a Soviet fishing factory. It was a very attractive bay with a lot of seabirds. Not being birders we did not know the names of most, but all the birders were thrilled to see a Kittletz's murrelet, a rare small bird, quite cute, who swam around in circles, as the zodiacs circled it. 

Bear scat, red from berries

In the afternoon, we went to Tintikun Lagoon. This fjord was blocked by a large moraine during the last period of glaciation. A shallow river surrounded by jagged mountains, and forested slopes, now crosses the moraine. At low tide it is not possible to take the zodiacs up full with people, so the staff took the boats up and we walked up the river until we got to a lagoon which was deep enough. The walk was nice, along the shale strewn shore with jellyfish washed up, and often abutting the shore were very pretty tundra meadows with a variety of plants including big mushrooms. We got onto the zodiacs again and started up the fjord. A lot of birds, but no bears. We stopped at a hot spring (which was warm but not hot); only one of the staff was game enough to try it as it was quite chilly out. We cruised around a little more and then stopped again at a hunting / fishing shack that was all boarded up. But it was surrounded by bushes with Rowan berries (ash family) which were very tart, and pine bushes which had seeds that were edible; tasty like peanuts but a semi-hard coating on them. The rest of the zodiac trip was uneventful down the very shallow river (now able to manage a full zodiac due to the tide). Other than a pigeon guillemot which caught our attention, the beautiful mountain scenery surrounding this river was spectacular.  

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