I went back to Utoro and had a late breakfast, moved to Dolphin Hotel in Shiretoko, and talked to the owner. He told me about this sudden registration of World Nature Heritage, high-rise hotels building in the port. a breakwater which caused the damage of all the seaweed around there. He added that Shiretoko doesn’t have proper condition yet to be proud to the world as the World Nature Heritage, and to tell the truth, he doesn’t want to show here to visitors from overseas. And I agreed.
I agreed with the situation I was feeling from tourists in Shiretoko from his talk. Getting close to the noon, the mountain cleared off. The top of Shiretoko Mountains were in a bit white. After having lunch, I went to the point of exquisite view. The mountain had a beautiful contrast of different colors, Mt. Rausu in snow white, dwarf stone pines in green, and slope with yellow leaves.
I had a careful look at the part with long grasses near the cliff where I didn’t notice well the day before, and realized that both big and small footprints were there. Yes, it was of parent and child bears. There was also white bone of young deer’s skull.
I also found a road on the grasses, which was not made by human but bears. I didn’t notice it the day before. I had nowhere to escape as it was the cliff behind me. I finished taking pictures soon, and moved to the center of the grass field. When I set up the camera with tripod stand and took several pictures of Mt. Rausu, I felt something coming from behind. I turned around. A big bear was looking down to me from about 50m away. Behind the bear, there was a smaller bear. It was parent-shild bears. Only one human and two bears in the grass field. I met with their eyes, and 1 second, 2 seconds, 3 second,, the mother bear turned around and started running to the forest. The child bear followed. It was unexpectedly fast!
I felt winds from the sea. Oh I see. The bears were in upwind and I was in downwind. Therefore, they had not noticed me until coming to the slope. It was good for me that the mother bear realized my existence for the 3 seconds. Paying attention to the forest the bears went, I left the place.
I went back to my car, and had some drinks. I felt relieved. It was not because I was scared but satisfied somehow. I shared the moment and the space only with the bears. I ever saw 4 bears in Shiretoko last year, 3 bears in Alaska, and 2 bears this time, but in all the cases, I was with someone else or in the car. I thought about why people have images of bears as a scary animal. Even I couldn’t take a picture, I can clearly remember the several seconds now. It was precious encounter.
The sun started going down. The day of fall season is really short. I headed to the coast side. Going down the slope, I was several meters before the popular spot Puyuni cape. Again I saw the big black thing. No, indeed in such a place?!
There were many cars passing there, but nobody noticed. A big bear was sitting, showing its back to this side. Receiving the glow of the sunset, the black body was in red. I directed the lens to the bear and caught the eye of it.
In contrast to the big back and butt, the bear had a human face, as if it was saying “hey, what’s going on?”. Several cars started stopping, and some people got down. I wanted to shout them not to get down the cars! The bear slowly stood up and went to the deep forest, watching this side “well well, too many people.”
But the way the bear went was right behind the Puyuni cape!! Many people was gathering at Puyuni cape to watch the sunset. I spoke to the bear in my mind not to appear at the cape, as everyone would carry on. Nobody noticed the existence of the bear right behind. The sunset was dramatic with clouds in good shape.
A flock of deer came out of a forest of the rear. One male deer of the muscle with an excellent corner, and several females. They were in breeding seasons. With the glow of the sunset, forest was red, and the deers were dyed, too.
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