This sperm whale was washed up on a remote beach in Alaska. We saw it with guests after we flew into the area, landed on the beach at a distance, and walked carefully over to the site. A brown bear was climbing on the whale and eating the carcass.
Two days later more bears were on the carcass (at least 3 at one time). Many birds are also benefitting from the plentiful source of food. We also saw some wolves watching from the berm–they likely are also scavenging the meat at times when the bears are not there.
This was an incredible sight to see. I was especially thrilled to see the teeth in the lower jaw and the sockets that they fit into in the upper jaw.
Brown bears are opportunistic eaters. This is a tremendous feast for them to find this early in the season.
It is probable that other whale carcasses wash up in remote areas and are scavenged by animals but we never know it. I am not sure what will happen to the skeleton once it is picked clean. Perhaps it will wash out to sea. Perhaps it will lay there for others to discover and ponder the stories it might tell.
Being a naturalist guide at a coastal lodge in Alaska, I have the privilege of taking guests into a temperate rain forest with old growth Sitka Spruce trees, up into the mountains to hike in alpine tundra, and down to the explore the intertidal zone (we have 28 foot tide swings). I want to cultivate curiosity that lasts long after a memorable trip to Alaska.
“Widgeon” Acrylic and Ink on paper Artist Karly Goodwin
One of my favorite things about working at Tutka Bay Lodge this past summer was living on the Widgeon II. This unique boat has an amazing history. We have a scrapbook kept on the Widgeon for guests to see the process of the transformation from ocean vessel used to transport troops, tender herring, and capture crabs. I hope this online version gives more people the opportunity to enjoy this part of the story!
At Tutka Bay Lodge we have several trail loops that are adjacent to the property. We hike these loops daily (sometimes more than once in a day). I love seeing the difference a day can make. Or a rainfall.
We have a temperate rain forest here on the coast. Yes, you heard that right–rain forest and Alaska. The key being a “temperate” rain forest (receiving between 60 and 200 inches of rain a year from the Pacific ocean). This is the most northern extent of this type of forest. Further to our north is the boreal forest.
We’re still seeing Spring unfurl. I can’t wait to start seeing the wildflowers burst open! Here’s a few glimpses of what I saw today. Be sure to check out (and “like”) my Stay Curious Facebook page, where I post some quick pics whenever I can!
Look what we found at Within the Wilderness Adventures‘ Tutka Bay Lodge during super low tide (-4.7) today! A tiny octopus. We had a great time watching it swim, change color and respond to our observations! It was about 8 cm from tip to tip of tentacle when it was fully extended. We carefully released it back into the ocean after we were able to get a closer look at it! So special.
This photo shows a little of the scale of the octopus.