What would an Alaskan trip be without whale watching?
On our first day in Alaska, we took a whale watching tour out to Stephens Passage in Juneau, Alaska. Since our tour was meant to be a photo safari, our tour guide was a professional wildlife photographer who lives in Juneau.
How cool of a job must that be? To take people out on wildlife watching tours and take amazing photos at the same time?
We took a boat out on Stephens Passage where we spotted humpback whales, sea lions and harbor seals. Since Stephens Passage is a protected wildlife area, the whales are federally protected here.
We also learned a lot about humpback whales, especially considering I went into this knowing nothing except that the whales are huge and eat krill and other small fish. You usually find the whales by looking for their spout of water and mist when they come up for air. After that first burst of water, the whales will usually come up two or three more times, before retreating far down into the water to search for food.
The “final retreat” is when you will see that magnificent tail, or if you’re lucky: a partial or full breach from the water. We weren’t so lucky on our trip out to see the whales. No partial or full breeches, but we did get to see a quite a few tails.
Including this humpback whale calf who was traveling with its mother.
There were also quite a few bald eagle sightings by the harbor:
After the whale watching, we got off the boat and hiked to Mendenhall Glacier: