Monday, June 27, 2011

Day 27: ...but not eaten!

That's right, I saw my first wild polar bear of the season! I don't know a more exciting way to wake up than to hear, "There's a bear outside!"

A juvenile male polar bear that walked around the back study centre at 7 am this
morning. He was huge! His back is about as high as a horse, to give perspective!
The major benefit of the new building: I can look out side my bedroom window
and see this! Unfortunately, the windows are really dirty from the outside, so I wasn't
able to get any good pictures from my bedroom. But the new building has a balcony
that puts us safely above the bear while giving us a clear shot. Thrilling!

He was wondering around in the woods. The staff kept him
pretty far away from the Centre by firing off cracker shells
which are like fireworks aimed between yourself and the bear
to get the bear to run the other way, which it did, but it was
still to curious to leave.

Peaking around some trees. The bear was just scared back into
the woods by a car horn. I was surprised that the car horn worked
when the air horn did absolutely nothing.

He is sniffing us from down wind - which is probably why he was
reluctant to leave. The chef made sausage this morning and I'm sure
that the bear could smell that for miles! From last reports, he is still
hanging around the centre, so walking outside has become extremely
A great start to the day. I then did my rounds on the water samples and did some more stats, which is giving me some trouble, but I won't worry about that for a while since today is supposed to be my day off. I am officially signed up for the Bay Dip on July 1 with the team name The Dipping Daphnids! Can you guess our costumes? This is what happens when you get lake people into a group!

After lunch, I went to the dump with Celia and Brit to gather some more plastic bottles to provide more buoyancy for Celia's zooplankton experimental set up. Some of the mesocosms sank and got covered in water with yesterday's storm so she has to build some reinforcements. The dump is a somewhat terrifying place to be since it is known as the place for bears to hang out. We were extremely cautious, keeping to the open, maintaining a sightline to everyone and working fast to get out of there as quickly as possible. It was tense. 

Collecting plastic bottles at the dump. I was so filthy! This was
the last straw that made me do my laundry today. The two weeks
of wearing the same clothes really made it necessary!

It was so dirty in there with a huge pile of "recyclables" - I'm not
sure how they are recyclables when nothing was recycled,
 it was just storage for the plastics. 

I saw my second bear of the season outside of the dump
 while we were leaving. This one was a lot bigger than the juvenile
 at the centre, but it was also a lot further away and stretching
 out, paying no attention to us. I didn't have my camera
for that sighting so I borrowed Celia's. It definitely makes me
appreciate my camera and my Dad's amazing lens!

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