There’s an old saying: “Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats… your kayak?” A woman on a solo kayak trip in Alaska recently found that out the hard way when a black bear tried to devour her kayak. Lucky for us, she got the whole thing on video.
Only in Alaska could this scene play out. And seriously, having had several interactions with bears in the Alaska wilderness, there is little doubt in my mind or anyone else’s who’s ventured through the bush up there that the bear’s going to do what the bear wants to do. That’s what makes this particular video so funny.
First of all, here’s a woman, Mary Malley, out in the bush, near Berg Bay in Alaska, on the beach for the night, having used her expensive kayak to paddle there, and she’s getting sassy with a black bear, treating it like a misbehaving child.
At first she thanks the bear. “Thank you for leaving my kayak alone.” But when the bear gets too close she threatens with a motherly warning. “I’m gonna spray you in the face with pepper spray, that’s what I’m gonna do,” says Malley, and then she does just that, which only seems to annoy the bear more than anything, though it does turn away.
So now the bear’s annoyed and the woman keeps shouting at it as if it understands, but the bear just lumbers over to her kayak and starts biting and pawing at it. This, Malley did not like. To make her disapproval known, she addresses the bear. “Bear?” she calls. “Please don’t break my kayak!”
Of course the bear ignores her. Because, well, it’s a bear, and the pepper spray already didn’t work. “Bear! Stop! Don’t break my kayak, bear! Why are you breaking my kayak!” She continues whining, “What am I gonna do? Don’t break my kayak, bear!” Later she tries reasoning with the bear, explaining that kayaks don’t even taste very good.
Toward the end of the video, Malley is nearly hysterical, expressing frustration and disbelief as the bear just goes about the business of messing with her kayak. “It’s the end of September!” she cries, “Bear! I’m gonna bear spray you, please stop!”
Of course, the bear spray didn’t work the first time, and we are reasonably certain the bear would not stop. The kayak was badly damaged, and Malley had to swim out to a nearby sailboat. Boaters later took her to Wrangell, where she repaired the kayak.