Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Juneau Day 4

OK, the big day....Whale Watching. After a local told us that the whales were in the middle of what is know as "bubble net feeding", we decided to use our 2 for 1 ticket and head out. They only do this for a few days at a time during the year. Conditions have to be right with the herring and the whales come together to work as a group to maximize their feeding effort.

When we came into the Juneau on the ferry and saw the pod, they were doing this type of feeding, as well, we learned later.

We thought in a whale tour we maybe could get closer, and we did. My camera doesn't have the best zoom lens, but it was neat to see what we got to see, and hear, at any distance.
Notice all the gulls, they watch the bubbles rise to the surface and can give you an idea where the whales will surface. Easy pickins for them as the whales mass feed on herring.

Don't forget to double click the pics to make them larger!!

We counted 13 whales in this single pod. Here, most of them are coming up together, as they do when bubble feeding on herring.
The tour boat lowered a microphone in the water and cut the engines. Connected to a speaker on the boat, we could here the whales "singing" as they herded up the herring and pushed them to the surface. After a time or 2 I could guess when the whales were going to surface by the pitch and volume of the singing.

A whale's pectoral fin on the far right. They use their fins to help make their bubble net tighter around the herring.
See the whale's mouth/head?
We also saw single humpy's. After 30 minutes we had to leave the pod, as mandated by law, so we cruised around to find others. A single waving "good bye". In all, we saw 18 whales in less than 2 hrs. Nice!

Also saw an Orca (Killer Whale).
And some Stellar Seals hanging out on a buoy. One got up to the penthouse level somehow. Even the tour boat guide was impressed with that.

2 minute vid on the whales once they surfaced from a bubble net feed.

We visited the Alaska State Muesum. It was very good. It covered the native history of the local people. From kayak building, to totems, to how they did their art work. Also, Alaskan sailing ship history and some wildlife.
Taken through glass, so kinda blurry.

To finish the day we went to a salmon bake and tried white (ivory) salmon.

Fires in Whitehorse and wind direction caused the haze to move in. Mountains right next to the city were mere shadows by evening, but the sunset was neat.

Looking across the channel to the mountains.
To top it ALL off, the guy who owned the Salmon Bake place took us up to a creek to look at some spawning salmon. Yes, you just about could walk across the backs of the fish to cross the stream.

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