Kenai Fjords 2014
Such a beautiful trip today. Unfortunately, there were no orcas to be found this time. Looks like those sneaky buggers are going to keep me running around for another year! I was disappointed that I didn’t see any, but that’s the beauty of whale watching. You just never know what you’re going to see. Plus, they’re wild animals. They have their own things to do and I do not have a right to see them, regardless of how much I might want to.
But there were other cetaceans! Multiple groups of Dall’s porpoises stopped by to swim in the pressure wave of our boat, but today they simply weren’t as playful as the usually are. They stuck around for maybe a minute at a time before taking off. It looked like they were busy hunting fish.
The real stars of today’s trip were the humpback whales. I saw a total of three today; one lone whale, and a mother and calf pair. The lone humpback was quite shy and avoided the boat, so we quickly left him alone. Soon after that we came across the mother and calf, who were much more approachable. My absolute favorite part was when they lifted their flukes in the air. Today was the first time I’ve ever seen a whale tail in person! We stuck with them for about 10 minutes before the captain decided it was time to give them some space.
I threw in a photo of Barwell Island, mostly because I’ve always been intrigued by it for some reason. It’s a beautiful island, with some interesting WWII history as well. Plus, beyond that island is nothing but the open ocean and Gulf of Alaska. Once you go beyond Barwell Island you won’t stop until you hit Hawaii!
And to make the day even better, there was a gorgeous rainbow on the drive home.
Today was simply a great day.
No orcas, but this is what I did see!
Very happy to say that on Saturday I will be visiting the Kenai Fjords again to go whale watching! I went on my birthday in April, but sadly we didn’t see any orcas.
However, that was early in the season and now is the prime time to see orcas. I am very excited and I hope I will see them. If I do, you can bet there will be lots of photos!
Resident Orcas and a Moment
As we headed out to a remote area in search of bears, our guide mentioned that about one in every fifteen trips he sees killer whales. Only minutes after mentioning this to us an incredible event happened.
It’s not very often that I feel small. But that is exactly what I felt like as the twenty-foot boat I was one was suddenly surrounded by a pod of Orcas. As we bobbed up and down like a rubber duck in a kid’s bathtub, the kid in this instance being a twenty-foot male Orca, adrenaline, fear and excitement rushed through me.
At first the pod was a “safe” 100 yards away, but over the next forty minutes, the pod got within ten feet of our boat providing some great opportunities for shots and an unbelievable experience.
Our guide explained to us that this pod of whales is residential to Prince William Sound. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would get this close to wild killer whales, having been raised in Southern California. Somewhere inside of me my 5-year-old self died from happiness.
Ryan Hagen 7.16.2014
Beautiful video. And it’s nice to see that AK17 Lou is doing well in her new pod.
Orcas of Prince William Sound
Ryan Hagen 7.15.2014
The female with the chip in her fin is AK17 Lou! Not sure of who that male is.
Orca pod AD11 in Alaska. It took me a while to figure out what the distortion was in some of these … the mist from him exhaling quickly dispersed, but not quite enough;-)
Resurrection Bay. Kenai Peninsula. Near Seward. Alaska. June. 2014.
That’s AD27 Angiak :)
AD8 Aaxlu and her calf AD47 Vereshegan. September 2012.
Photo by AlaskaBums.
Check out the eyepatches on this orca in the Kenai Fjords!
Photo by R. Lasell
One time, in 2002, an adult male from AG pod attacked a harbor porpoise. He carried the terrified and injured porpoise around in his mouth and tossed it into the air, much like transients do, even though he was a resident male.
Nobody is sure whether or not the male decided to eat the porpoise.