Inside Passage Blog

By Linda Lewis



June 14, 2007 – Gut Bay and the Grizzlies


Are you ready for some grizzly pictures?
We were in Gut Bay on the east side of Baranof Island, a spot I have been wanting to visit for several years. It really is as beautiful as they say. Especially with all of the snow. Red Bluff Bay is very close by and most people bypass Gut Bay for Red Bluff Bay. We always did. I'm so glad we stopped this time. It was just gorgeous. And we had some wonderful grizzly sightings.

We went for a hike up the stream and found this wonderful spot that we quickly labeled "Bear Meadow." It was a perfect spot for bears.

Here is Dave in his hiking duds. We didn't see any bears on our first hike, but saw plenty of spoor so we decided we should come back later.

Bear Meadow had a nice roaring stream...

And ........  This is what Dave saw when he came back to hunt for the hat he lost while, ah-hem, adjusting his clothing.

The hump on the back positively identifies the bear as a grizzly.

I was itching to see a grizzly up close, but I wanted it to be 'safe' up close. So, later, Dave and I went in the dinghy together hoping for some more good pictures - this time from the dinghy. At first we thought our timing was poor as no bears seemed to be around. However, just as were about to reverse, out stepped this beauty.

Now it sees us.

A few sniffs, then ...

... it decided to investigate us a little more closely so it began to stroll out on the downed log towards us.

No hurry. Just curious.

Well ... this was getting a little close for my comfort. We were just about ready to reverse engines and back off a bit when ..

... the bear's interest in us disappeared ... as did the bear.

What a great encounter. I liked the safety factor of being in the dinghy with its 40 hp capacity to beat a hasty retreat if needed.  I definitely got my grizzly fix.
For the non-boaters, you can stop reading now -- but I can't resist adding the following screenshot of our electronic charting for the boaters reading this email. Gut Bay is a dramatic example of the inaccurate charting one can find in Southeast Alaska. Gut Bay was surveyed in 1897 and the cartographers didn't get it right. The red line is our track line; that is the path the GPS said we took. According to that, we dragged our boat across a peninsula and then we anchored on land. The black line shows our plotted course route and the route we actually steered using our eyes because we could see the chart was off. And not by just a little. The error distance is 0.247 nm (about five football fields) too far northwest at the anchorage location.
I'm sure glad we both are very consistent about looking out the window. It sure is important.

Click Chart to Enlarge

Linda & Dave
M/V Royal Sounder



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