Sunday, October 20, 2013

There Be Whales Here!

Back on our Alaskan cruise in September when we stopped in Juneau we had the chance to go whale watching as our shore excursion. We chose a tour from Allen Marine Tours and they certainly did deliver.
We had been whale watching once before but had never had the chance to see humpback whales and were very much hoping to get a good look at some this time around. I even wore a Star Trek shirt hoping that it help to bring out the humpbacks. I don't think that the shirt made any difference but the whales certainly did cooperate.
On board the whale watching ship they had a poster of whale tail (aka fluke) photos from NOAA's Juneau Fluke Identification Catalog. I was hoping that some of my whale shots might allow me to one from the list and, sure enough, I bagged whale #2258 (above). The shot above is cropped from the full frame, but many of the shots to follow were not.

There is, of course, a limit as to how close the boats can get to the whales, but no limit as to how close the whales can come to the boats. On this day the whales decided to come nice and close. 

It was a good day. As we wrapped up the tour our captain reminded us that the cruise ship that were were returning to was also out in the wilderness and a great platform for observing wildlife. Boy, was she right.

Later that day, I took this shot of a humpback whale from our cabin:
On a later day we were able to watch some humpbacks in the distance as they were bubble net feeding. (Yeah, the pics that follow are all cropped from the full frame.)

Later, we even saw what looks like an orca:
It was wonderful to have a look at these wonderful creatures. We also had some wonderful views of dolphins and I'll put those in another post.

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