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Whales, Whales, Whales!


We continued to reap the benefits of the messed up flight on Alaska Air.

Remember we had a flight delay that threatened to wreak havoc with our vacation plans? If not, you might want to catch up with the story here in “A Lesson Relearned.”

Well, we traveled from Skagway to Juneau today with the same ferry line that we missed a few days ago (when we were going from Juneau to Skagway.) Even though we told them that it turned out well, they felt bad that they had to leave without us. So, once we arrived in Juneau, they were going out to scope out whale sightings for their afternoon whale watch, and asked if we wanted to stay onboard and join them. Ha! That was a no-brainer – we jumped on it!

But before I go into THAT story, these guys were waiting for us when we pulled in to let off the “regular” passengers.

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Then we were off on our whale adventure!

We were hoping to see Orcas. The girls have seen the Humpbacks in both Hawaii and Alaska, but they hadn’t seen the Orcas yet.

The Captain heard that another boat had sighted a pod, so headed out to that area. And there they were, not one, but two pods, each very active. We were surprised to learn that they have behaviors very similar to humpbacks, including pec slaps, tail slaps, spy hops, and breaching (we saw the breach and spy hop, but too far away to get photos.)

Their fins are magnificent!

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There was a lot of tail slapping going on here!

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And lots of pec slaps like this…

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And of course, blows.

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We could have stayed for ages, but the Captain needed to get moving to check out a possible sighting of Humpbacks “bubble net fishing.”

This is a term we had heard of, but never seen.

A pod of Humpbacks will hunt together. When they find an area rich in herring, they surround them, blow out bubbles to herd them all together, then the head whale lets out a high pitched scream saying “GO!” and all the whales at the same time head for the surface with their mouths open and gulp big mouthfuls of herring. It is an incredible process and even more incredible sight to see.

The first sign of a potential bubble net is when a flock of birds start flying around and ’round an area. They are watching what is happening and will swoop in to catch the fish the whales miss. The Captain threw a microphone overboard, and we could hear the whale’s “go” scream, and a few seconds later we’d see them break the surface as a group.

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Then they would dive down…

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…and do it again, and again. He had time to let us watch four times, but then had to get back and pick up his paying customers. We SERIOUSLY did not want to leave, but were so very grateful that we got to see what we did! It was amazing beyond belief, and not anything any of us will ever forget!

And once again, it only happened because Alaska Airlines messed up our flight so badly. WOW! I NEVER in a million years would have believed so much wonderful would happen because of a huge mistake that felt so awful at the time!

 

 

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

3 responses »

  1. I agree… could watch that magnificence for an hour. When we got back last summer, I read a dozen books about orca and their intelligence.

    Reply
    • They are pretty amazing. The first time we were in Alaska, we were on a small plane returning to Homer after watching the bears feed on salmon at Brooks Falls, and the pilot spotted a pod of Orcas herding a pod of Humpbacks trying to separate a baby from the pod to eat…I hate that part of nature, but it was pretty fascinating to watch their coordination. We flew around and ’round watching, and fortunately for the Humpbacks (and me!) the Orcas were unsuccessful and swam away…

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Ultimate Whale Watch (REALLY!) | Tattered 'n Worn

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