From the bridge, Davis uses binoculars to constantly scan the landscape for wildlife. That includes marine wildlife: before we’d even reached the sanctuary, he had slowed the boat to point out seals, two humpback whales, and a pod of five transient orcas. And from the calm waters inside the sanctuary, he spotted the first bear of the day.
The bear was quite far inland from the beach, so watching it was kind of like watching Madonna at a stadium concert—you get the thrill of seeing her in person, but you really need to look at the big screen to confirm it’s actually her. When the animal came into focus in my own binoculars, it wasn’t what I expected. Muscular yet skinny, this bear was, well…a bit unkempt. “It’s a male,” noted Davis. “They’re neglecting themselves because it’s mating season.” The males are so focused on trying to mate, he says, they don’t eat as much, and they get roughed up from fighting each other for female attention. It was a thrill to watch the bear go about its business, munching the grass of the sedge and slowly lumbering along the beach.