Friday, June 1, 2007

Day 6: Glacier Bay

Humpback Diving, Alaska

Sailed into the Glacier Bay area first thing and spent the morning whale watching. And what a morning it was! We literally saw more whales than we could count, though I only saw two breaches and those were off the starboard side of the ship, very early in the morning, and with no warning. After a while, though, you got to figure out the pattern of “standard” whale behaviour. Mostly, the whales we found seemed to be resting on the surface before heading down deeper to feed again. They would sit there for a bit and then, perhaps when we got too close, take off, diving and rising every minute or so to breathe. After three or so cycles they’d then decide to dive deeper, showing their fluke (tail) as they strive for extra leverage and momentum. Wonderful stuff to watch, and often you could hear them calling out to other whales in the area as the cycle went on.

Afternoon was spent ashore in Glacier Bay National Park hiking along the sea-shore. Found the carcass of a dead moose along with signs (read, “pooh”) of moose and bear having been around not long ago. Mark Kelley, the resident photographer on the trip, was kind enough to invite us along on this walk as he took a break from the ship himself. Mark has obviously photographed here extensively and it was great to spend an hour or two chatting with him about his experiences in Alaska and what it’s like to be a pro up here. (“Great” is the answer, if you can hack the climate.)

Another incredibly sunny day. We’ve been so lucky with the weather that at some point it will have to change. The locals claim last summer comprised three sunny days in total....

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