From a polar bear’s perspective, this must have seemed like the biggest whale they had ever seen rising from the ice. Needless to say, curious bears headed over to investigate this submarine that had cracked the ice from underneath. Not only did they check it out but they spent two hours making sure it wasn’t anything edible or of interest.
This bear looks as if he is about to start a fight with the massive intruder into his territory. Polar bears are in fact not territorial, unlike the grizzly bear, but of course anything as strange as a periscope rising from the ice will get its attention. He spent about 40 minutes investigating and then ambled away. A hole like this in the ice is normally a seal breathing hole where he would catch his dinner, but not this time.
Image: U.S. Navy
This polar bear got up close and personal with a periscope. As a young bear he has quite a while before he is old and creaky; polar bears generally live to about 25 years old in the wild, so he has lots of time to get used to these metal “beasts” coming up from the depths of the sea.
Perhaps wondering if he should jump in to see what this really is, a juvenile examines the water around the rudder area. The submarine in question is the USS Honolulu, only 280 miles from the North Pole, collecting water samples and performing other scientific studies.
This fellow looks like he wants to join the Navy and get on the submarine! Polar bears hunt from sea ice rather than the frozen land, looking for seals coming up from breathing holes and stealthily ambushing them. He may have wondered if this was some super monster going after his food, or whether it was some food for himself. It would be nice to know what was going through his mind.
As you can see, polar bear encounters with submarines are not that rare and it is fun for all concerned.