We still hadn’t been able to get a permit for the bear blind at Anan Bear Sanctuary. Here you can stand in a cabin overlooking the river and watch the bears fish.

We had been getting a lot of conflicting information amount getting a permit but the one consistent was to just go and see if you could get a permit day of. This is frustrating because it is a 6 hr motor trip to get there. However we decided bears was something we wanted to see, so off we went, permit or not.  We hailed the Ranger on the radio station that we were in the area and hoping for a permit for tomorrow. He said to check in mid morning and see what comes up.

We were able to get a permit no problem the next day and enjoyed watching 4 bears fish and two cubs play on the rocks.

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Walking the trail

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The cubs

We learnt that some bears are better at fishing than others. Additionally they tend to fish with the same technique their entire lives.  So a bear will fish in the way and place that he or she first had success when they first learnt to fish. The techniques are also passed down from mothers to cubs. We watched one bear with a white heart shape on his chest catch two fish over the course of an hours (a better fisher could catch 6-7). His method was to stand chest deep in the water and basically wait till a failing fish slapped into his face a which point he would probably catch it.

 A mama bear was hanging out in a cave where the river ran and about 5 fish ended up in her little pool over the course of the hour and she would catch them and chow down. Everyone agreed she had the cleverest spot. Although we loved watching the bears it was a lot of miles (66nm) out of the way and we were exhausted when we were done.

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We sailed with Yare for three more nights. It hard to part ways as this was both a goodbye to good friends and an acknowledgement of our trip coming to a close. And we have a lot of fun together.

One day as we sailed down the Straight our two boats were perfectly matched for speed. With Yare sailing in our lee we sailed side by side for hours, chatting in the sunshine and laughing as the kids tossed nuts to each other. It was magical.

We said goodbye at Meyers Chuck, Yare made an early departure to start knocking down the miles to get home to Seattle before school started for the boys.

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Forest Slide at Meyers Chuck

We have seen many whales in SE Alaska, mostly all have been humpbacks. By far the closest have been these two sleepers on the surface. We also enjoyed their more active neighbours.