Life's a beach for this pair of unlikely sunbathers.
Frolicking in the surf without a care in the world, these bear cubs are inseparable as they play together in Alaska's Lake Clark National Park.
Rambling along the waterfront hunting for food, these beach-loving brown bears provide an intimate record into the families of bear which frequent the area.
Laughing matter: Two brown bear cubs playfight on the beach at Lake Clark National Park near Port Alsworth, Alaska
Tiring work this: The two cubs rest side by side on the shoreline as photographer Doug Merrick was able to get within 12ft of them
British photographer Doug Merrick spent two weeks at Silver Salmon Creek observing the playful cubs mirroring the hunting techniques of their mother during the salmon spawning season.
Mr Merrick, 75, from Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, completed a lifelong ambition to photograph the animals up close.
He said: 'I have been planning the trip for 12 years. I have always wanted to get really close to bears in their native wild environment.
'Most places have raised observation platforms which I've used in the past and I wasn't happy with the results.
'This time I was determined to be on the ground with them and take the kind of shots I love, kneeling down in front of them as low as possible.'
Taking a private plane from Soldotna, Alaska, Mr Merrick landed on the beach at Silver Salmon Creek - a premier holiday destination for fishing, bear viewing and wildlife photography.
Mine! The two cubs share a salmon after copying their mother to catch the fish in the water
He was able to creep up to within just a few feet of the bears.
'It was important for me to get as close to the bears as I could and to do this I had to travel the bears' territory independently on foot,' he said.
'At one point, I was only 12ft away from the mighty female, but I knew as long as I remained out in the open I would be safe.
'Bears are so powerful they could decapitate a person with a single swipe of their huge paws - but only if they chose to.
'Both solitary bears and families gather during the low tide of the early morning because salmon battling to reach their spawning grounds upriver become stranded.'
There are more than 200,000 brown bears in the wild, which can grow up to 10ft tall and weigh more than 100 stone.
Mr Merrick plans to revisit the area in June for the mating season.
He added: 'They usually live in the hills beyond the tree line in dens and the trees themselves.
'There have been no recorded attacks on humans in the 15 years that Silver Salmon Creek has been accessible.
'Only in the tree line would I have been a bother to them as the cover adds the element of surprise.'
Watch with mother: The two cubs sit next to each other as the adult bear catches salmon in Silver Salmon Creek
Read more: Beach bears: Two cubs are inseparable as they play together in Alaskan national park | Mail Online