Going on a bear safari

August 6 – Today it was time for the bear safari (Björnsafari in Swedish). It was our turn to be locked up for 17 hours. First, I’ll explain what the bear safari exactly means.
The bear safari is simply said just spotting bears for 17 hours in a small spotting cabin.
Every group was divided (girls/boys) and 1 staff member.

But the bear safari wasn’t untill 16.00 and the day already started at 6.00 in the morning for us. We started the day with fishing (Fiske in Swedish) at 10.00 and around 12 we ate some lunch. After lunch we started fishing again for another 2,5 hours. It was getting kind of boring now. We fished at a big lake, at walking distance from our camp. At the lake, we explored its surroundings and we started the fishing by looking for the best spot. That meant walking around the lake untill there was a nice spot.
My first spot caused some funny moments. Of course it was my fishing rod that got caught in some branches, that led to some hilarious attempts to get it out of the water. Eventually, Mert (Istanbul) got in the water and saved the day. His pants were all wet though, but he didn’t mind! Thanks again Mert.
It was all fun and well, but after a few hours we got bored. I guess the fish didn’t like us. So we just enjoyed the sun and had a nice day.

Fishing lake

Hakan (Istanbul) fishing!

After the fishing, it was time for dinner again. At least, for my group because we were going on the bear safari. Dinner 3 hours after lunch.. pff. But we had to eat because we weren’t going to eat a decent meal for at least 17 hours. When we finished dinner it was time to leave. We packed our stuff, brought some cards, our sleeping bags and water. The van was full and we left for the safari. It was a 1 hour drive and suddenly our van stopped. The man who organized these safaris was there to pick us (the girls) up. He told us to go in his car because we were staying at a different spot than the boys. Urban’s wife was going to be our babysitter. After a short drive and a walk, we arrived at our 17-hour home. It was really small and painted in army colours.

Bear safari
There was no normal toilet, talking loud wasn’t aloud ánd no going out. This is going to be fun I thought, especially the no-toilet part. Our ‘small home’ had a big wooden ‘bed’ with some mats on them, to ease the pain for your behind probably. Furthermore, some small closets, books, pictures and some more junk. Short said, it was too small for four people. You couldn’t really stand, except if you’re short like me…hehe.

Our 17-hour home

The bear spotting cabin is also used by nature & animal photographers.Because of that, there were photograph holes under the 4 small windows. The holes were round and you could close them. These holes are ment for long photo lenses, so that the photographers can get the perfect shots.
The windows were specially made for cabins like this and suitable for pictures. By the way, there are holes in these cabins for the cameras, BUT it was like 30 degrees (celcius) in there. So you can imagine how hot it was and it the night it was pretty cold.

Bear safari cabin panorama attempt

How to get those bears to the cabin
This was an important question to ask. We were told not to talk loud etc. because the Swedish bears are mostly scared of humans. So if they hear a slight movement or noise, they run. The bears know that humans can kill them.
One way to attract the bears is to put honey on the trees in front of the cabin. Another way is to leave meat near the cabin.

17 hours
What did we do for 17 hours? I think I can speak for everyone: sleep. The first few hours we stared outside, played some cards and we whispered a bit. Slowly it started to get dark and there was less to see. I fell asleep around 12 and woke up at 3, stared at the window for a while and fell asleep again. After that I woke up again around 6 and all the others also woke up slowly. It was 8.00 – August 7 – when we returned to our camp again.

Watch a short video of how I looked like….: No-sound just silence bear safari

Our 17-hour home

No bears were spotted… too bad. For some it was awful, being stuck like that for so long. But I thought it was a special experience.
By the way, it wasn’t that weird that we didn’t get to see any bears. We found out that some of the previous groups did their ‘toilet-times’ outside. That’s like a dog making clear to other animals its his area.
And I already told you guys, these bears are afraid of humans. They won’t come if they know you’re there, especially not when they smell human-pee.

– Johanna

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