Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska’s Katmai Coast

By Mary Norman

The Katmai National Park Coast is as rugged and pristine as it was 10,000 years ago.  There are no roads to get here, in fact there are no roads here at all.  You have a choice of flying in a small plane or cruising in a liveaboard small ship.  You will be well off the beaten path and see more diverse wildlife than most people see in their entire lifetime.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Geographic Harbor Katmai Alaskan brown bear fishing for salmon in Geographic River while Tom takes pictures. Photographer: Mary Fuerst.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Arthritic brown bear stops digging for clams and cools off in Halo Bay during the low tide.

This is brown bear habitat and shared with 13 more species of animals, 11 species of sea mammals, and 240 species of birds.  Spring will find bears eating sedge grasses in the meadows, combing the coastline lifting rocks in hopes of finding crabs and other small sea life, and digging for clams during mid to low tides.  By June sows will be nursing cubs in the meadows while sows without cubs and boars will be courting.  Once the salmon start running the bears are avid fishermen and the wolves start harassing the bears distracting the bear and stealing their fish.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Buoy channel marker leaving Quzinkie Narrows and entering into Marmot Bay. Early morning with beautiful blue skies and no wind makes for comfortable cruising. Photographer: Mary Norman.

2019 was exceptionally dry and warm which led to the bears being unusually lethargic and just lying down or digging holes in the beach to take naps.

Sea birds are abundant while cruising and when anchored in quiet bays. The black oystercatchers lay their eggs in the sand just above the high tide line.  Eagles and other birds build nests in the trees and cliffs.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Halo Bay, one of the many bays for landscape and seascape photography. The high tide makes for easy land access. Photographer: Mary Norman.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Humpback whale breaching. We were drifting and waiting when it swam up close, bringing cheers from everyone on board. Photographer: Mary Norman.

Captain Mike keeps tide charts on the Single Star for planning twice-daily shore excursions.  All shore excursions are guided by Katmai Service Providers certified guides. Their observations and knowledge of bear behavior are essential to keeping everyone safe.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Low tide Halo Bay, where the tide goes for over a mile and comes back in to 20-feet deep. Photographer: Bessie Hourg.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai National Park Coast

Bald Eagle pulled out a spawned out salmon for breakfast.

When going ashore, everyone must wear hip boots or chest waders for disembarking the landing craft skiff and for crossing streams so that you can be in the best location for taking pictures of the wildlife.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai Coast

Geographic River at high tide gives the wolf, bear and photographers adequate safe distance.

Landscapes And Wildlife Of Alaska's Katmai Coast

Wolf and brown bear have a standoff to see who gets the prime fishing location. Photographer Mary Norman.

All of the photos you see here have been taken by Adventure Kodiak’s staff or our guests. 

Please visit us at adventurekodiak.com.

Send inquiries for your next trip to [email protected] or give us a call at 907-891-9880.

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