Humpback Whales are some of the most promised wildlife sitings of Alaskan cruising. With my job I’ve been in and out of Alaska 20 times and never have I ever seen a spectacle like this. It often takes effort to find the whales. They can be spotted off the side of the ship sometimes, but to really get a feel for it you need to get on a whale watching tour. The locals really know how to find them and they often provide a naturalist to share knowledgeable information not just regarding the whales, but about everything seen throughout the tour – bald eagles, sea lions, mountains, glaciers, etc.
The following photos and video are from a tour Rob and I took just outside of Juneau, Alaska. The naturalist told us that groups of humpbacks don’t often travel together. I’ve heard otherwise before, but whether that’s true or not I am very thankful that they did for this occasion. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. They were using a method called bubble net feeding as to where the mammals swim in a circle surrounding the school of fish, shrinking with each lap, causing the fish to consolidate to a smaller space. The humpbacks then leap through the center, mouths open, catching hundreds of fish at a time. In order to track where the whales would come up each time, we watched the seagulls. As the whales would begin their ascent, desperate fish jumped out of the water, attracting the birds, who gave it away for us allowing our cameras to be pointed in the right direction to catch the show. Amazing!