Monday, August 13, 2012

Alaska Vacation: Whales

Our first excursion was a whale-watching tour in Juneau on a boat just like this one:

Jon, our naturalist, had lots of good information to share, along with a few funny jokes.  He was good.

You first spot a humpback whale by the blow -- the spray/mist of water from when the whale comes to the surface to breathe:

And then sometimes you can see the whale's back/body, and eventually the whale's tail (called a fluke) as it flips up and dives down below the water.  See it here?  Really tiny in the middle of the photo:

Coop walked around the boat and proudly announced that he had seen 27 whales.  I'm guessing the total number was about 13, but his count went up each time he looked out at the water.  The boat captain was impressed and let Coop come sit with him for a bit:

And then.  AND THEN.  We saw a pod of whales feeding, a process called bubble net feeding.  It's complicated.  Just google it for a description.

But the upshot is that there were about 13-15 whales all in one area.  It's tough to see in the photos, but they're there.

And the boat crew were all really, really pleased.  Apparently it's a rare sight.

As was the weather, by the way.  We only had one day of rain on the whole trip, and the locals were always commenting how lucky we got on the weather.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

I saw some grey whales, a mother and a calf specifically, when we were on a cruise to Jamaica about 6 years ago. It was maybe the one time I didn't have my camera on me, so I'm a bit envious! They are very magnificent creatures..amazing in many ways. This might be my favorite of portion of your trip as I experience it in pictures!