Open Eye: OU card leads to grizzly bears in Alaska
Tuesday 07 December 1999
Imagine grizzly bears standing in the middle of the river at the top of the waterfall... Imagine the flying salmon being caught by these bears... An awesome sight.
Whenever this scene has been shown on television it has nearly always been filmed at Brooks Falls in the Katmai National Park, in Alaska.
Katmai is about the size of Yorkshire. In order to maintain its pristine and wilderness condition only 60 tents are allowed in the park in any one day and to gain entry a camper must first obtain a visitor's permit.
While backpacking across Alaska with my girlfriend - now my wife - we arrived in Anchorage. I telephoned the Park Rangers at Katmai to see whether there were any permits available (all permits for the entire year are distributed in January).
Fortunately for us, there had been a cancellation.
But there are no roads to Katmai or even remotely near it (it's 290 miles southwest of Anchorage).
To get there required two flights, both in single-engine floatplanes. We managed to find a pilot who could fly us there.
The problem was the cost, a staggering 880 US dollars. We had budgeted carefully for our trip and our contingency fund did not stretch to this. However we viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Out came the Open University Visa Card.It was the best use I have ever put my OU Visa Card to.
The journey there in two floatplanes was an adventure in itself, flying through wilderness valleys and landing on lakes.
We spent several days camping in Katmai.
To see the grizzly bears in their natural habitat was incredible.
We took hundreds of photographs of salmon trying to climb up the Brooks Falls, most of the salmon being inevitably doomed to end up in the claws of one of the enormous grizzlies.
It is a time that we will never forget and and experience that was possible only because of my OU Beneficial Visa card.
Richard Andrew studied with the Open University obtaining firsts in Mathematics foundation and Pure Maths modules, before becoming a full time student at Manchester University. There he studied mathematics, graduating in 1993.
He is now a teacher and middle manager at a state school in Manchester, where he teaches mathematics and ICT.
There is no annual fee for the OU Beneficial Visa Card. To apply for one, or for more information, please call 0800 161 162, quoting reference 1001.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
Life & Style blogs
iPhone 6 'catches on fire and burns man's leg after bending in pocket'
Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Lynda Bellingham death: What is bowel cancer and what are the symptoms?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...