We have recently begun doing webinars for our travelers to explain how to prepare for trips, and what to expect, with special attention to our covid protocols. Below is the recording of this webinar, and answers to the questions submitted by viewers. Note- this pertains to the Kodiak/Katmai Coast Grizzly Ship expeditions, not to trips visiting the Brooks Falls/King Salmon regions of katmai. At the bottom I embedded the recordings of the bear photography webinars I have done recently.
| Describe a typical day. Every day is different as the patterns of bear
activity vary greatly depending on our location, the weather, and the tide cycles which change by 40 minutes each day. Generally we shoot for
breakfast around 7 or 8, 4-5 hrs on shore, 2 hour break for lunch on the boat, 4-5 hrs on shore in afternoon/evening, then dinner. Sometimes we will eat an early dinner and stay on shore late into the evening to
maximize good light conditions.
Will any photo post processing be taught? Software? Yes, we do some teaching of post processing if time allows, but we do spend lots of time with the bears on shore, and there is limited time after meals, and rest time. I personally use lightroom, and this is what I teach. It would be good to have a firm understanding of your software before the trip.
| What camera gear is recommended? Any camera gear will work, from an iPhone to professional gear with big glass, it is up to you. The most
useful lens for this trip is a 100-400 zoom.
Rain protection for camera? As above I mentioned using a waterproof backpack for gear, which is more effective than rain covers or garbage
bags (which are cumbersome in the wind). Any kind of rain sleeve will
work for a DSLR camera, they run from simple clear plastic at $5, to
heavier duty and pricier ones. – I prefer the latter.
| At the appropriate point, and recognizing that things are changing, could you take us through a day on the trip and where the COVID protocols would affect the day — pretty much just indoor masking, or more than that? This will evolve as summer nears, and we will adapt
differently based on the group and how many are vaccinated. The
crew will focus on hygiene and ventilation, and people will have option
to eat alone in their rooms. Generally, it won’t affect the trip activities.
| How often do guests find they need seasickness patches or other seasickness prevention items? Our ship, the Ursus, is an ex Bering Sea crab
boat (like on the show Deadliest Catch. In fact, the Ursus is the original
Time Bandit, custom built by the Hildstrands, who later built a larger
boat which became the current Time Bandit. These boats were built
for stability, as they were used to fish in some of the worst ocean
conditions on earth, in the winter. We normally only travel in open
water in good weather, for a few hours at a time, every few days, to
visit a different bay. Patches are recommended for people who are
extremely sensitive to seasickness. Normally our folks who are
prone to seasickness take a bonine or a dramamine an hour before we
travel, if we think there will be some rough water. In general, this is
a minor issue.
| Can we put our shoe orthotics in the waders? Yes, they can be worn
either inside the wader, or in the boot itself if you don’t mind them
| Do we carry our buckets? What about water, snacks, lunch, etc. Yes everyone will carry their own bucket, which is very lightweight. The
guide will carry all the food in his or her pack, to make sure it is secure,
and will provide it to the folks if there aren’t bears nearby. Everyone
will be provided a water bottle, and can carry their own water in their
| Are buckets padded? Can we put stuff in the bucket while sitting on the mud? We have bucket lids which are made specifically as a seat.
They are pretty comfortable. We also have small, square floatation
pads which folks can bring if they want more padding. You can put
anything you want in the buckets as well.
| bug spray? Yes, you should bring some of the bug spray of your choice.
Remember strong DEET should be used with care, as it will degrade
anything plastic. We provide head nets as well.
| If you have been vaccinated do you still have to test? Yes, everyone
will have to test, as it is believed Covid may still be carried by vaccinated
| Where can we find the photo webinars? On the Nat Hab website? I
have embedded the recordings below, on this page.
| Are the beds long enough for a 6′ 4″ guest? We have had tall people
many times, and haven’t had any complaints.
| Can the chefs accomodate gluten free (non-celiac)? Absolutely! Our
chefs are provided with the dietary information that you provide Nathab
during the booking process, and will be prepared for any dietary
limitations, such as gluten or lactose free, vegan, food allergies etc….
| Colors to avoid?? The bears can see color, but do not care about the
colors we wear. Extremely bright colors can be a distraction to other
humans on the beach, so I prefer natural colors like green, gray, brown
etc…. but this isn’t that big of a deal.
| Are there any bathroom breaks during the day? All the bathrooms
while on shore are behind the bushes, as there is nothing manmade
onshore. Normally we are away from the boat for 4-5 hours at a time.
We can take people back to the boat in an emergency, but do not run back and forth for bathroom breaks.
| Any recomendations for rain covers for cameras? This is personal
preference based on quality and cost. See above for links.
| What type of charging stations do you have for camera batteries? We have standard electrical outlets which run 24 hrs AC power all over the
boat, and in the staterooms.
| Should we bring muck boots? Bring a good waterproof or resistant
pair of hiking shoes or boots for the time in Kodiak. Bring a comfortable pair of crocks or slip ons shoes for use while on the boat. We provide
comfortable, lightweight chest waders which fit over your clothes. Yoga pants, sweatpants, fleece or some comfortable, soft pants and shirts are best under the waders. The socks of the waders are neoprene, and we
provide wading boots to wear over the waders. The wading boots will get wet, but your body up to your chest will remain protected from rain and wind. You may need rain pants for Kodiak portion of trip, but not for the
Do you recommend a particular type of camera backpack or drybag? I personally like a dry bag backpack so I never have to worry about setting it down on wet ground or rain or spray while in the small boat. I
Other recent Katmai Webinars-
Photographing Bear Behavior- The Quest For Food
Photographing Bear Behavior Part 2- Mothers and Cubs.
Photographing Bear Behavior Part 3- Landscape as a backdrop
In the Mood For Seafood- How Katmai Bears Rely on the Ocean
The Wolves Of Alaska’s Katmai Coast
Living Safely With Bears
Why Do We Love bears So Much?
The Heart Of Katmai- From Bears To Blast Craters- Sean Eggelston