After 2 days in the shoestring bay on SE Esther Island we moved to the Esther Bay with its hatchery. I was hoping to see bears here. The hatchery calls itself the biggest hatchery of North America, but that information must be old. Kitoi hatchery in Kodiak is bigger, they do double the amount of fish with the same staff. Anyways, it's still a rainy day. The cruising guide says nothing about good bear sight and Marcus does not want to be here where it's less secluded. We gave it a try anyways. Looking through the binoculars when we first came in at first I did not see anything. At the second look I was able to make out 4 black bears. That convinced Marcus and so we went and anchored at the back of the bay. I immediately put my raincoat on, put the camera's raincoat on as well, jumped into the Dinghy and motored back to the Hatchery, close to the barricade to the basin where they collect all the salmon before leading them to the basins where they wait to be killed and taken the
eggs (they would die anyways once they lay the eggs).
I saw and photographed jumping salmons as well as feeding sea lions, gulls, sea otters and black bears. Yes, I finally got to watch bears eating salmon!!!
Three employees of the hatchery came down to the pier and started fishing. I drove over to chat with them and ask for permission to go to land to get a bit closer to the bears. Their fishing was so successful I checked out how they do it. It turns out they use fly fishing gear. I went back and told Marcus, who, despite the rain still going on, grabbed his fly fishing gear, left in the Dinghy and came back with 6 pink salmon!! The freezer is full. He wants to go again
Tomorrow (as I want to go take pictures again with hopefully more light and less rain). I will have to can some fish, hope it works with my equipment. I like this place here, there is lots of life. I am always happy if I see animals. The whole evening already two sea lions have been swimming around Alita. Fun to hear them. I love Alaska. And with the sight of beaaaaaars, I don't even care about rain.