17 July 2015

A "Whale" of a Time!

17 Jul 2015--We decided to take our chances on the weather on Wednesday to go for a glacier tour and for at least half the day we were rewarded for taking the risk.  It was still cold out, especially when the boat was moving, but when we were sitting still and just checking out the sites it was warmer than most days, right up until we got to the Aialik Glacier.


 
 

We took the 6 hour tour to the Glacier, but unlike the trip Cathy and I took out of Valdez, we spent more time getting to the glacier than getting back.  We had a great show on the way there: to be honest, the animals would have been worth the price of admission all by themselves!

We didn't see but a couple otters, but this one was adorable!  In the 1st pic he looks like a kid laying in front of the TV, while in the 3rd he looks like he's saying "Hey, what the heck?".  haha



Although these birds look like seagulls, they are actually kittywakes.  They are smaller than a seagull, and when you look at the 1st pic you don't realize at first that there are thousands of them there.  In the 3rd pic, if you blow it up, you can see quite a few babies.



Here is the Common Murre, a bird that looks just like a penguin, but is far smaller.  They even have the same diet as a penguin.



And the Horned Puffin, more commonly known as the "Fruit Loop" bird.  haha




Still heading to the Aialik Glacier, we passed an old military lookout high on the rocks, heavily populated with Kittywakes, along with Bear Glacier and other beautiful scenery.  In the 2nd to last pic here in this group, you can see a whale's fin in the distance.


 


We saw some sea lions a couple times, but here it is pretty cool because 2 of them are sort of fighting.

video

And then the most incredible thing happened!  We probably saw 5-6 whales in the distance before this one, but this one was breaching over and over and over again...we probably watched it for 30 minutes before the captain of the boat said he had to press on.  Between the eagles, grizzlies and black bears, and then this whale, I don't know where it gets better than this!!!



This 1st video shows the whale almost on top of me coming out of the water...I missed a bunch of him just cause he surprised me!  haha


Watch the whale in these 2 videos...he comes out over and over, a behavior the captain said was very unusual.  He said this whale looked like a juvenile, (I don't now what age that is supposed to be), and that they are usually so interested in eating they hardly ever come up like this repeatedly. The captain told us that humpback whales go south in the winter to have their babies, and they don't eat the whole time they are there. They go south because the babies don't have enough blubber to survive the cold waters up here, so everyone is pretty hungry by the time they get here.



So we finally get to the Aialik Glacier, where you can see in the 3rd pic there was some "calving" going on...but not as much as the last glacier we went to.  But the ice was much bluer than the Valdez one, both in the glacier and in the water, too.  It was incredibly cold as we sat in front of it!




If you blow up this map you can see how many glaciers we are surrounded by here.  You pass one after the other, until it almost becomes old hat.



More ice in the water...so pretty!

video

And a close-up scan of the glacier...notice the blue!!!  The captain told us a glacier actually moves towards the water about 3 feet a day...isn't that almost impossible to believe?  I knew they were "active", but I was thinking more in inches than feet.


Heavy clouds can lead to beautiful scenery, huh?  We have 2 different glaciers on the way home here, Bear Glacier and another I don't know the name of.




Another pullout for sea lions...check out the 3rd pic where one seems to wedged between rocks, vertically!



We saw so many whales but only 2 were active like this...what a show!!! In the 1st pic it is hitting the ocean over and over with its flipper, and then up he comes, backwards!!!



Final scenes of the day...I love the overcast ones, they seem almost like you are taking them in black and white.



Between the hike to the glacier the day before and then this boat trip, we had an incredible 2 days.  At this point we don't even mind having to wear turtlenecks and hoodies in July!!!  haha

5 comments:

  1. This day was absolutely wonderful!!!!!! The whales were incredible and though we didn't get a video of the glacier carving it was a sight to see!

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  2. The whales are wonderful!!!!! Seeing them jump out of the water. The glacier were very pretty but the mountains in the background I like the most. Cathy's nose was really red.

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  3. Michael HartreyJuly 21, 2015 9:27 AM

    These pictures of all of the animals are absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!!

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  4. Hello Alaska!! Your video footage of the whales was outstanding. I felt like I was with you, seeing them live. How exciting for you...along with the other cool wildlife and vistas.

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  5. What a perfectly wonderful day !!!

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