Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cruise 4 -Whale watching

Day 3 of our Alaska by way of the Inside Passage Cruise
Beautiful morning with fog here and there.  The water is like glass.

One of the perks of having a suite is that we can eat breakfast in Sabatini's, a specialty restaurant, every morning.  We always had the table by the window and it was lovely to watch the scenery go by as we were eating.  At this point in the trip we were cruising on the Inside Passage which is probably why the water was so calm.  We could see the forested land as we glided by.  By the way the ship goes about 25 knots most of the time.

We are all excited because we are docked at Juneau, Capital of Alaska and we are going on a whale watching excursion, then off to see the Mendenhall glacier.  We got all ready for the cold and wet with coats and scarfs, umbrellas, and binoculars for the trip.

The only time we could really tell there were a lot of people on this ship is when we disembarked anywhere.  Then there were all the people in lines to leave the couple of doors with the ramps.

When we disembarked at Juneau we went straight to the buses leaving for the whale watching.  They were well organized, had the buses waiting and off we went.  The buses were very nice and clean and comfortable with large windows.  We had a great guide/driver.  She was funny and knowledgable.  She was one of the many people that came up to Alaska from the 48 to work with the tourists.  She was from Georgia.  Some of the information on Juneau was that since the town is hemmed in next to the water by mountains the town spreads lengthwise along the water, and that in winter they can get over 100 inches of snowfall in a winter.  There certainly wasn't any snow on the ground in July.

We were taken to the bay where the humpback whales frequent.  The whales spend winter around Hawaii, have their babies, then make their way back to Alaska to spend summer.  In the meantime, they don't really eat on the trip back so they are REALLY hungry.  They then spend about 2 weeks feeding in this bay to put the fat back on after their trip.  We were lucky because they really put on a show for us!

Sea Lions on Vacation

An Eagle - about 3' tall
And then the whales were spotted!
The spouting spray from the whales goes up about 20 feet!
 And the show begins!

The whales were bubble-netting, a fishing technique where several (11 in this case) get together to do fishing.  One dives deep where there are lots of fish and he goes in a large circle and blowing bubbles in the process.  He makes the circle smaller while the other whales gather around the circle bubbling to create a net keeping the fish in.  The fish start heading to the surface to find a way out.  The the first whale comes up from the bottom of the circle, chasing the fish up.  All the other whales gather in closer and all come up with their mouths open scooping up the fish on the way up.  They take in about 1.5 swimming pools of water on the way!.

They would take about 10 min to set up and come flying up with open mouths again!
It was all quite impressive and beautiful!  Jen went up on the top deck of the boat and took these beautiful photos!

As the whales went down again they slowly arched and went under with their tails waving .

From the whale watching, we boarded the bus again and headed off to the Mendenhall Glacier.

Note:  You can book an excursion on your own or through Princess Cruise Line.  I understand you may be able to get an excursion far less on your own but we decided to go through Princess and were very pleased with the trip.   The whale watching excursion is more than worth what you pay for it.  The skipper of the boat gave tons of time with the whales.  He gave way more time than I thought he would and the trip was not rushed at all.  The employees on the boat seemed as excited as us, which was hard to beat!  There was food and drink available for sale on the boat. The boat felt roomy for the number of people on it.  It was enclosed so weather was not an issue.  We did not need our coats on this part of the trip....a light jacket maybe.  We had brought sandwiches from the ship for our lunch.

Tomorrow I will continue with Mendenhall Glacier!

1 comment:

  1. Correction: Jen didn't take anything but selfies - the pictures of the whales were just so exactly what we saw but not my pictures.