On the wild and remote Katmai coast Melissa and her spring cubs are rock stars. They are favorites among the guides and photographers who frequent Hallo Bay and know the bears by name. Melissa is one of the sweetest bears you'll ever meet and also the most muscular sow our guide, Buck Wilde, has seen in his nearly 20 years of brown bear viewing. Melissa was so unconcerned by our presence that we took hundreds of pictures of her and her cubs as they grazed on Sedge Grass and Goose Tongue.
Kuliak Bay was packed with fish. And bears. The weather was perfect in the morning and it rained in the afternoon. Kuliak was a tiny, picture perfect bay with crystal clear water packed with several varieties of salmon -- silver, chums and pinks -- and Dolly Varden Trout, which follow the salmon and eat their roe. The skiff parted hundreds of darting fish as it glided through the shallow water. We saw three sows with cubs. One sow had a pair of gangly yearling cubs nearly as tall as her that were still nursing and snatching fish from her. When there are plenty of fish like at Kuliak many adult bears are picky and eat only the brains and skin of the salmon which have the highest concentration of fat. Not this mom who bolted down every bit of fish that her wailing cubs did not grab from her.