Saturday, August 29, 2009
Wylie spots bears!
This just in from our traveling partner. Words by Richard Barna, great friend and intrepid traveler, and photos by Wylie Plummer, partner extrordinairre. The Ice Queen is dripping with envy at their great views of all the bears and wildlife in Alaska, and Russia.
The only humans on the Russia's Wrangel Island of for 30 years have been 4 scientists and 3 rangers studying the bear, walrus, arctic foxes and birds unique to the island. With all these scientists on board our ship, Vladimir Putin’s permission and exceptionally good weather, we set off in our zodiac boats on a bear photo hunt. Dr. Nitika Ovsanikov is the island’s chief scientist and world renowned polar bear expert, having lived with his family on Wrangel Island for many years. His English is excellent except for an endearingly off kilter pronunciation of his favorite subject – “beers”. We were certainly impressed with all the "beers", birds and walruses on Wrangel Island. Watching them in their native habitats helped us understand their primordial struggle for daily existence. As the winter ice recedes each spring, the bears can choose to float north with the ice, or stay on the ice free land. Seems to work out for them either way. Having seen our fill of the land based bears, we are headed north to hunt for bears at the edge of the Arctic Ice Shelf. Stay Tuned.