I'm trying to book a trip from Juneau to Admiralty Island to view and photograph Brown Bear on the morning of Wednesday, 05/28/2003. I'll be on the HAL Statendam, arriving in Juneau at 7:00 a.m. that morning, and planning to fly out from Juneau about 8:30 a.m.
HAL does not offer a shore excursion package to Admiralty Island, so I have been trying to arrange my own. The operator I'm working with is Alaska Fly n' Fish Charters LLC. See their website at http://www.alaskabyair.com
. They have a 3 hour tour for $350 per person, and a 4 1/2 hour tour that includes flying over an icecap on the way back to Juneau, for $400 per person. The tour is guided by the pilot/naturalist. All equipment (rubber boots, rain gear, binoculars, etc.) is provided.
The bear at Pack Creek are Ursus Arctos (a/k/a Brown Bear or Grizzly), rather than Ursus Americanus (a/k/a Black Bear). That makes Admiralty Island different from the bear viewing excusions HAL offers in its excursion brochure, which seem to involve primarily Black Bear. There's obviously no guarantee of safety when in proximity to large wild carnivores, but Admiralty Island is a part of Tongas National Forest, and access and viewing are strictly controlled by the Park Service. Moreover, there has never been an injury or death in the sanctioned viewing areas since the program started. The chances are apparently pretty good of seeing bear even this early in the season, since there are an estimated 1500 bear on the island - nearly one per square mile!
Problem is, Alaska Fly n' Fish requires a minimum of two people, and there's only one of me. I'm willing to shell out the $350 or $400 price of this trip, since I don't get many other chances to photograph Brown Bear, but paying for a second fare takes it out of my price tolerance. Alaska Fly n' Fish's Cessna 206 float plane has a 5-passenger and/or 800 lb. maximum load capacity. So, I need one to four volunteers to go with me (at their own expense).