Photographer: Vyacheslav Zametnya
Text: Vyacheslav Zametnya
Translator: Ekaterina Kurova
From Vyacheslav Zametnya’s diary
July 15, 2014
“Morning fog started to fade away, and the sun came out. It was too late to take to the sea, so I have decided to explore the mouth of Shelekhovka, because it was where a bear had been seen couple of days ago. I did not wait for a long time. In a few minutes I saw a huge bear that shot out round the bend of the river. It was running around in the shallow water catching salmon.
I put on my waders on the jump, grabbed a camera and a pyrotechnic signal to make a firework if the bear would want to get to know me better. Polina – a frail red-haired traveler from our team – has decided to come with me.
We have soon reached the mouth of the river, where the bear has been playing about 10 minutes ago. We slowed down to plan our actions. It was not wise to follow bear traces to the opposite side of the river into the high grass. So we have decided to carefully peek round the corner.
The spate lay open before us, but there was no bear there. I breathed out and relaxed. We watched the river and talked about our searching plans. I have suddenly felt a disagreeable burning sensation of someone else’s presence.
I turned my head and was stupefied…A huge bear stared at us from behind bushes rearing on its hind legs.
We looked at each other for a few seconds. I think that we survived thanks to my frail fellow traveler Polina. The bear took its time evaluating the size of its enemy, and Polina must have added points in our favor: apparently the bear was short-sighted (as many bears are) and it must have perceived us as one large animal.
Huge animal has lazily got down on four paws and started walking away slowly; while we backed out quickly. We stopped when we felt safe enough. The adrenalin rush slowed. We were sure that we will not meet more bears today, so we have forded the river and sat down on the sandy bay.
Suddenly we have heard something splashing into the water near the sandy cape… According to the sound a huge animal was running in our direction, and the sound of splashing was fast drawing near. We were separated only by the cape, and something huge was about to face us. I rushed to the camera simultaneously trying to separate Polina from danger. I do not even remember grabbing a pyrotechnic signal. At the same time the bear, that got carried away with fishing and developed incredible speed, jumped out from behind the cape… I did not know what to do: should I shoot or should I take pictures?
However, when the bear saw us it jumped into the water and swam to the far bank. Still, I did take couple of pictures.
Polina and I had the shakes when we were walking all the way back to our camp. When I was finally safe, I have decided that I have seen enough bears for one expedition”.