A Whale of A Day, Part 1

On the morning of our departure on the Photo Workshop that I was leading, we all met at the Delphinus around 9:00am. After a short talk by Captain Ronn on boat safety, how and what to do in an emergency, and correct procedures for moving about the boat, we got underway. Leaving the harbor at Petersburg, Alaska, we began heading north. Our itinerary began with a northward sailing, first in some of the finest whale waters on earth, followed by a stop to photograph brown bears on Admiralty Island, one of the largest concentration of brown bears on earth!

As we headed northward, we soon reached the waters of Frederick Sound, one of the richest whale waters we have. And it wasn’t long before we began seeing humpback whales … lots of them! They seemed to be many whales in our location, maybe hundreds. We were seeing whales everywhere, and most of them were in groups, or pods:


Pod of Humpback Whales


In the above photo, you can recognize the “humpback” feature, for which these whales are named. Actually, these “humps” are small dorsal fins. And you might notice that the two whales on the lefthand side of the photo are beginning to dive. The dive begins when the whales arch their backs, giving them some momentum for a deep dive, straight down. With these whales in a pod, the two on the right follow suit very shortly and they all dive down, looking for food that is deep in the waters.

A bit later, we had another pod of Humpbacks that were very close to our boat:


Pod of Humpback Whales


In this last photo, the color seems to be “washed out”. Our somewhat blue skies turned to a muddy, cloud-covered sky and seemed to drain all colors from us! Also, you can see some of the whales in this pod have just “spouted”, causing a mist to hang over the group. The whale that is at the top of this photo is just beginning to dive; you can see the head (to the left) is beginning to go down and the body is just starting to show a gently arching. Meanwhile, the whale that is just below that one, is lying on the surface and his head is clearly visible (note the “bumps” that are located on the top of the humpback’s head).

And just as we thought it couldn’t get any better, this humpback surfaced, just a few yards from our boat, with it’s head lying on the surface of the water:


Humpback surfaces, just a few feet from the boat


Here is a scenic that I took about the same time as the last two photos, showing how the conditions had changed so drastically in such a short amount of time!


Dramatic Light on the Sea


But Day 1 of our adventure was not over … it was just beginning! The next couple of posts will highlight more memories of this wonderful trip.





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