With their vessel 150 miles away from the ice in Arctic waters, researchers aboard the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen were startled to see three polar bears suddenly appear. Then the bears started to chew on a $38,000 cable holding sensitive equipment and the surprise turned into worry. In a video captured last month by University of Victoria undergraduate Kathryn Purdon, scientists yell at the polar bears to back away."Not there, please. Please bears, go on. Go, go, go!" says one of the researchers in the video.Fortunately, the bears lost interest and swam away before the cable tethered to a seawater sampling device -- that cost around $90,000 -- could be damaged. The cord, made of Kevlar and plastic, acts as a sheath for a high-voltage wire carrying electricity to the device. "The fear was also that the bears could be harmed by the current," said Jay Cullen, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Victoria who supervises the research mission but was not on the expedition. The fibrous cord can carry immense weight but -- unlike steel alternatives -- it is sensitive to cuts and tears, he added.Cullen and the researchers aboard the Amundsen are part of the international GEOTRACES and ArcticNet programs that are studying how climate change is affecting the Arctic marine environment. Purdon, a student of Cullen's, and other researchers who witnessed the event are still out at sea and could not be reached. The polar bear video is not the only instance of curious bears scrutinizing equipment. Just a few days ago, a video was uploaded showing an Alaska kayaker trying to fend off a bear chewing on her boat. She was unsuccessful.