Five species of salmon return every year to the creeks, rivers and lakes on Kodiak. Having spent 2-4 years swimming all over the Pacific Ocean, they return to the same body of water where they once hatched. The thousands of salmon that spawn in the Connecticut Creek have had to swim several miles through a network of rivers before coming home. It is a journey wrought with danger. Like runners in a gauntlet, the salmon race as fast as they can up the shallow water, while hungry bears wait expectantly on the shore.
I was wading up the middle of Connecticut Creek one day, when several salmon swam past my feet. This was not an unusual occurrence, as the stream was often full of fish, but one of them looked odd. On closer inspection, I saw to my surprise, that it was naked! It had apparently just escaped after a close encounter with a bear, leaving behind the skin off its back.
Striding through the water, I chased after the naked salmon, wanting to get a picture of the fish that wouldn’t give up, despite incredible adversity. I caught up with it at the next bend and managed to coax it up on the sand. Carefully, I lifted the salmon in my hands to take its picture. It was stripped of skin from head to tail. Such a tenacious character, giving all it had for the next generation! I released the salmon back into the river, and as soon as it felt the cool water, it took off with a powerful swish of its tail, probably very much aware that time was of the essence.
(Excerpt from “Kodiak, Alaska – The Island of the Great Bear”. The book can be purchased from Camera Q)
Don’t miss our first ”Kodiak Scandinavian Film and Culture and Festival” on Kodiak, Alaska, November 6-12, 2017. See Camera Q for more information.