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A Whale of a Day!
Birthday Alaska Cruise!

(Julia Kocubinski)
This morning we decided to go on a skiff ride with Vanessa before breakfast. It was just three of us and our naturalist guide, so we were able to see quite a lot, including another brown bear wandering along the shore. He gave us quite the show, and the kayakers were able to get pretty close to him. As we ate breakfast, we were heading back out to go north towards Glacier Bay. A fellow ship radioed our captain to tell him that there were a pod of humpbacks just ahead of us. And they were bubble netting! There were at least twenty of them and they would swim around in circles while letting out air - small bubbles. The bubbles would look like a net rising to the surface and essentially corral the fish. Then the remaining whales would swim straight up with their mouths open and eat. We witnessed this by a dozen or more humpbacks coming above the surface, mouths' wide open all at the same time. Then they would blow air out repeatedly as they cooled back off. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Amazing how they all work together to each like this. We even were able to put the underwater microphone below the surface and listen to them communicating. We saw whales breaching off in the distance. This was our "OMG" moment. My Alaska cruise could have ended right then and there, and I would have been more than ecstatic!. After a couple hours watching this pod, they began moving south, and we were heading north so we parted with the whales and headed out into the more open channel. Unfortunately, the part that the Safari Spirit had left on shore for us the night before was not the right part, so we were still motoring a little slower today. It was a beautiful day though, so most people took advantage and sat on the upper decks, looking for more whales. And whales did we see! They were everywhere! The scenery and sky were both beautiful, so I took the opportunity to work out on the top deck, did some yoga with some of the other passengers, all while keeping my eye on the horizon looking for whales. As we were motoring along, our captain told us that we would be getting a special delivery from Juneau - the part needed to fix the engine! It was to be delivered by float plane somewhere along the channel. Sure enough, as the plane approached, the captain called over the speaker that it was landing and we all went out to watch it land, watch JD take the skiff to meet it, and cheered as the pilot delivered the precious box! With a victory lap around the boat, JD returned with the bolt - literally one bolt - that was needed to fix the engine. By dinner, we were up and running full power again! That evening, we had yet another amazing dinner, and the crew surprised my mom and I with a special birthday cake made for each of us! And they presented it to us in full, silly, costumes. It was hilarious, and a verb special way to ring in our birthdays!

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