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A Whale of a Day!

Our scheduled for today was titled "Cruising for Critters" meaning we'd spend the day in passage from Glacier Bay down to Sitka and hopefully find something in between to keep us content as guests onboard.  There were several items on the schedule.  Yoga was in the morning followed by our scheduled massages.  Then a poker tournament with Captain Dano in the Pesky Barnacle Lounge.  And in the afternoon more yoga and then a few of the deckhands would teach us all how to tie the ship knots.  In the moments between we expected to stare out the window and just cruise along - a book in one hand and cappuccino in the other.

Apparently the WHALES had another plan in mind!  Our crew informed us that they hoped to see one or two but the majority had already migrated down the coast to warmer waters.  Little did they know. . . .

Our first sighting happened just before lunch and the Captain came over the loud speaker, calling us outside from the poker tournament.   We all hussled to the railings and watched in awe as far in the distance, we saw a humpback breaching the water's surface.  As we sailed slowly forward the pod emerged from the water and gave us quite a show as they fed off the shore.  I cannot describe the awe that you have at this moment watching these beautiful and elegant creatures skimming along the water.  Then out of nowhere we see them begin to bubble net feed.   They created a cyclone net of bubbles that scares the fish to the surface of the water.  Then with all the fish condensed in a group you see four, five, six giant mouths piercing the surface gobbling them up.  Each feeding is about ten minutes apart and you never know where they'll end up when they surface.  We begin to watch the birds who swarm when then see opportunity rising below.  They dive to catch fish a split second before the whales breach.
Whales bubble net feeding
Whales bubble net feeding (Lynessa Nelson)


Hours passed and we weren't even aware.  We watched them feed along the inlet and you could hear the soft puff of air as they exhaled reaching the waters surface and spouting mist into the air.  We hear shouts from the aft of the ship as another humpback was spotted coming into the cove.  He was on a mission for food and we could not get in his way!  We speculated the reason for his coming to be the call of one humpback in the feeding group.  He seems to be sending out the message of abundant food in this little cove - Dinner, get it while it’s hot!
Humpback whales tail
Humpback whales tail (Lynessa Nelson)


Cocktail hour rolled around and we took a short break to refresh ourselves in the lounge.  The whales humored us by waiting another ten minutes before surfacing.  By that time we had grabbed a couple drinks and piled a plate with crab legs, fresh baked bread & artichoke dip and scurried back up to the top deck below the captain looking out from the bridge.   Cheers to you Whales, you magnificent beasts!  All in all not a bad day.  Certainly not the uneventful cruising day we had originally expected.
Cheers to you whales Nice work!
Cheers to you whales Nice work! (Lynessa Nelson)

 

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