How Neat is Neets Bay?
I was fortunate enough to be able to take a HAL tour to visit the bears at Neets Bay, which is a 20 minute floatplane ride from Ketchikan Alaska. We arrived at the floatplane dock and were met by the bear guide. We were given a safety brief, on what to do if we encountered a bear during our short walk through the forest to the salmon hatchery. Here, the bears had gathered to feast on the wild Alaskan salmon that were returning home after 4 years swimming in the Pacific Ocean. You could see the salmon swimming up the raging creek. After a few minutes of waiting a large black bear appeared on the far bank and dove into the creek and surfaced with a beautiful large salmon any fisherman would have been proud of. The bear took it to shore and dined on the unsmoked salmon. How fresh can you get?
After half an hour the guide told us it was time to leave and return to the floatplane dock. As we wandered back though the pine trees at the water’s edge, the guide stopped to point out a fresh black bear tack in the mud.
As I looked down a 4 foot banking to my left, I saw a large black bear looking up at me. The training we received from the guide was to make as much noise as possible and make yourself look as big as possible. All this went out of my mind, so all I did was whisper “there’s a bear next to me!” The bear just looked at me, turned round and headed off down the beach in the direction of the salmon.
This is a day I will never forget and what makes coming to Alaska so special.