Before the salmon return, it can be difficult to find bears. Instead of gathering at the salmon runs, they’re dispersed throughout beaches, tidal flats, and alpine meadows, grazing on fresh vegetation. The beaches and grass flats on the east coast of Kruzof Island offer prime grazing in May and June, and if you’re lucky, you just might see one. Even if you don’t, though, the island is still a great destination, with its black-sand beaches and volcanic outcroppings, all formed by the island’s summit, Mount Edgecumbe. And these gently sloping beaches give way to rich ocean flats, where grey whales come and feed in May. Boat operators have seen these baleen behemoths in water as shallow as 10 feet, dredging the mucky bottom and filtering invertebrates. Humpback whales also inhabit the waters around the island. You’ll probably also see seals and sea otters, and you’ll be in a stunning waterway, below a volcano and looking back at the rugged coastal mountains.