Sea Lion

Simple story around whale watching

whale of a time

It was way back in 2015 that I went on my first cruise. It was all the more exciting as it was an Alaskan cruise. Cruising is a fantastic experience the initial few times and after that it depends on the person you are, you can drink a lot, eat a lot, watch shows, attend parties and have a good time relaxing. It may not be such a good idea to go cruising right now as you may end up being on the cruise for a long time, if you know what I mean.

There are lot of onboard activities and on shore activities offered on the cruise. I was going through the list and selecting things to do, there was a whale watching tour that caught my eye. I had to select it of course. How can you not go wildlife viewing?

I had been on earlier whale watching tours in other places and you ended up either not seeing a whale or seeing a solitary whale for the whole tour. One rare trip got me a mother and calf and that was it.

On Day 1, I noticed something unusual on the cruise it was 11:30 pm and it was bright daylight outside, I fell asleep and woke up around 2 am it was still daylight, I thought it was all the free drinks I had onboard the ship. Later on after reading online I learnt you only have 2 hours of darkness during the summer months in Alaska.

Also earlier that day someone shouted whale on the main level of the ship, I ran to my room to grab my camera and priced new Nikon 80-400mm lens. By the time I got to the ships main level the whales had gone and all I spotted was a distant spurt of air. This happened a few times that day. 

On Day 2, we got to a place called Juneau, Alaska. A tour bus picked us up and after a 30 min drive we reached a dock where there were smaller whale watching boats waiting for us. We set out on our whale watching tour. 

As we were heading out I noticed a pod of whales in the distance, but the boat was heading somewhere else to see some fur seals. I though in my head why are we wasting time, anyway we still went where the boat captain took us.

Fur Seals on an Island

After this we turned around and what unfolded next is something spectacular. We suddenly saw huge pods of Humpback whales, I can easily say over a 100 whales.

Blow from the Whales

The whales were very close to our boat. I took out my camera and started clicking like there was no tomorrow.

Whales near the boat

We were surrounded by whales they were swimming all around.

Pair of Whales

Then I noticed something new a pod of whales would all come together.

Pod coming together

This would drive all the fish together and make them jump, the whales would then catch them. This is called Bubble Net Fishing.

Whales against the forest and mountains

The backdrop of the forests and snowcapped mountains make for a breath taking sight.

Whales close to the shore

Many pods were very close to the shore.

Breathtaking Scenery

The scenery is breathtaking.

The  1 hour we spent is truly unforgettable. We also saw sea lions and briefly stopped to see the Mendenhall Glacier, it has shrunk in size over the years and you know why.

Sea Lions
Mendenhall Glacier

Last but not the least we also saw whales breaching. I have been on other whale watching tours after this but have never quite had the same experience. May be this is once in a lifetime experience.

Breaching Whale
Humpback Whale Diving

Naveen Naidu

Data Engineer

I am a passionate wildlife photographer, interested in conservation and creating awareness about nature.