Alaska Wandering Part 3 – Fun With Whales – Bartlett Cove, Alaska

Alaska Day 4

Another early morning rise for me and a planned trek to see a moose. The one animal I have never seen in the wild that is local to this area.  A problem with the dingy (motor not starting) and I was stuck on the boat watching the Humpbacks go back and forth feeding.

Early Morning Views- Bartlett Cove

Early Morning Views- Bartlett Cove

 

Whales feeding in Bartlett Cove. The breadth is 10-13 feet in height and usually the first thing you notice. It is also quite loud!

Whales feeding in Bartlett Cove. The breadth is 10-13 feet in height and usually the first thing you notice. It is also quite loud!

Well I was meant to stay close as after a few hours the Humpbacks decided to put on a major display next to the boat.  I mean really close – within 20 feet.  While my Dad was nervous for his boat, I was snapping away trying to catch all the activity.  Yelling to wake up Dave who started filming and caught a little of the activity.   I got off some incredible shots and missed some great activity.  It was amazing as the humpback was obviously feeling a bit feisty and wanting to show off his flexibility.

Someone is starting a show next to the boat -- my lens is too big to capture the entire thing!

Someone is starting a show next to the boat — my lens is too big to capture the entire thing!

Whale Series-3

Taking a little breadth – did you know that the Humpback exhales every 2-3 minutes when at the surface resting. Makes it a little easier to find.

Whale Series-5

Beginning to show that wonderful ‘hump’ back

Whale Series-7

Taking a BIG breath out of those double blow holes

Humpback Flip Near Boat2

Hi! Do you see me now — waiving at you to get some attention.

Humpback Flip Near Boat

See my pretty tummy – those lines help my throught expand so I can swallow all that water and filter through for the good stuff.

Whales Bartlett

Could almost reach out and touch this one!

Tail Lob-5

And now I am going to do some Tail Lobs and make sure everyone else in the bay can see me!

Tail Lob-2

And so I just toss my tail up and down and up and down and side to side! See isn’t that great. It makes a terrific loud noise and is thought to stun the fish and make my fishing easier.

Tail Lob-1

See how flexible I am!  I just backed out of the water like this so tail only – keeping my big nose down while doing some synchronized swimming.

Within 10 minutes we could not see across to the dock, let alone more than 10 feet off the boat. Had the whale gotten frisky a few minutes later it would have been pretty scary – hearing it and not able to see where he was.  Had I made it to shore for my walk, I would have missed all the excitement and possible been stuck at the dog due to fog.  It was so thick we couldn’t even tell which direction the boat was pointed.

After a wildlife show like that, I can’t imagine what is next.  Our on board joke is ‘Hey Dad, where are the unicorns?’

We headed over to Elfin Cove with a plan to stay the night there.  We departed Bartlett in heavy fog and thankfully came out of the fog after just an hour or so.  The currents and tides made for some slow seas (4 knots). A tiny port that didn’t turn out to have any room for us.  That meant another 5 hour run to Hoonah.   Mother Nature helping us along at 9 knots we made record time.  We arrived in Hoonah earlier than planned thanks to the extra push.  It was a rocking and rolling trip where we moved all loose items (like fruit bowls and coffee makers) down to the floor for safety.  Nothing serious (like Deadliest Catch) but compared to our perfectly calm seas it was a small roller coaster.

Wildlife spotting was at a minimum.  We saw a few otters, seal lions and whales in the distance.  Both Orcas and Humpbacks.  After our previous encounters, I am hesitant to even pick up the camera unless they are next to the boat doing something spectacular.  Spoiled!

As we pulled out of some rocking and rolling seas into Hoonah the layers of clothing had to come off.  We came into 70 degree weather at 6:30pm!  Suddenly 70 is HOT weather and requires shorts and flip flops.  Yes my endless pursuit of flip flop weather may even be possible in Alaska!

 

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