Monday, May 28, 2007

Day 3: Frederick Sound

Whale Breaching, Alaska

Around 6:30 am, I noticed the engines had been cut which is usually a sign that a) the captain has spotted something interesting or b) they’ve run out of petrol. Thankfully, in this case it was a). In the distance a pod of humpback whales were spouting. However, within a few minutes a whale surfaced much closer to the boat and proceeded to give us a display of fin-slapping, calling, blowing and finally breaching. Even the professional photographer guiding us (Mark Kelley) said it took him years to find a whale that he could legally get close to and see that kind of behaviour and have it be sustained for any period of time. It was a once-in-a-lifetime event that all of us on the ship will remember for ever. Indeed, apart from a couple of more distant and more fleeting sightings, that was the only breaching whale we saw that anyone could photograph.

Afterwards, we continued southwards past a sea-lion basking point towards a wilderness area where we were allowed ashore (with Federal permits only) for a bit of a stroll. Alaska really does seem to do a very good job of protecting its wilderness and park areas, as well as in game and wildlife management.
(BTW, I'll have another go at this shot when I have a moment. The crop doesn't work that well I think.)

Back to the ship to head off to the next destination. And to have dinner, of course!

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