5am raining. 6am drizzle. 7am BEAR CUB SCREAMING! The unmistakable sound of a bear cub in trouble persisted for several minutes. I lay in my tent dreading the outcome until finally I had to find out what was happening. It sounded close, but sound travels so well across the flats I could not be sure. I had a quick breakfast and walked down to the beach.
Through the fog and drizzle I could see the sow with the dark spring cubs far out on the flats near the rocky outcroppings. Nearby a wolf was prowling. I ran back and grabbed my camera then headed out alone in the rain to see what was happening. I wish I had not. When I got within range I could only see one cub with the mother and they were heading north away from the rocks. My heart sank. I made my way towards the rocks where I had last seen the other cub. He was there injured and trying to walk. As I approached mom stood up to see who I was. She was very stressed and went back to the injured cub. When the wolf saw me he trotted off.
It seemed the wolf had attacked the cub. Several times the sow went to leave with the healthy cub and then came back. I felt such deep sadness, but at the same time tried to accept the laws of nature. The rain was coming hard now. I was getting soaked. With a heavy heart I walked back to camp, dried off my gear as much as I could. No one else was up so I tried to go back to bed, but the cries of the young cub continued. I wished it would stop and it finally did. I thought about the tide coming in and wondered if the cub would drown or be killed first.
Unable to stay in my tent I went back out only to see the cub valiantly trying to drag himself across the flats to where his mum and brother waited on the tideline. It was painful to watch his progress as the sow kept getting further away and the hurt cub was struggling to stay ahead of the incoming tide. The healthy cub kept turning back to look for his sibling and would get scolded by mother. After what seemed like forever the cub made it to the berm. His brother was so elated he bowled him over with excitement. Slowly, the threesome made their way to the long grass where mother lay down and let them nurse. I could not stay and watch, as the incoming tide would trap me behind the bluff, so returned to camp with some hope for the cub.
We stayed in camp most of the day, reading and catching up on downloading files. The solar panel had provided us with just enough power to keep laptops and cameras charged. The evening cleared somewhat and we made our way back to middle river and the fishing grounds. Near the end of the evening the bears had all gone in and we stood and chatted, enjoying the relative warmth of a nice evening. Suddenly, someone spotted a young wolf on the beach. He must have thought we were fishing, as he made a direct line towards us, stopped, waited and then came and lay in the gravel a few meters from us. We used high ISO and kept shooting. After a short while a second wolf showed up, they joined company and trotted off to the north river. What a wonderful occasion!