July 20: Boat Trip!

We took a boat trip out of Seward today. The trip went out of Resurrection Bay and out to Aialik Glacier, then out past Cape Resurrection to Driftwood Cove, and back into Seward. We were on a very small boat — a 43 footer — with only 16 people. It was a great trip.

The weather was cool, overcast with occasional mist/rain, but we had good visibility when we needed it. I spent a lot of time in Captain Shelley’s little booth and enjoyed talking with her and her deckhand, Orion. We saw lots of charismatic megafauna: harbor seals, sea lions, minke whales, humpback whales. We saw birds, too: tufted puffins, murres, rhinoceros auklets.

The trip had two highlights. First was the view of Aialik Glacier. Our boat parked 1/4 mile away from it, and we were able to see and hear it calving. The sound is incredible — it’s like being under 4th of July fireworks.

The second highlight was — after motoring for almost two hours in the fog — watching six or seven humpback whales engaging in bubble feeding. When they do this, they work cooperatively by blowing bubbles around groups of fish. The fish all swirl together in a clump, and the whales form a circle around them and then come up all at once with their mouths open. We saw whales doing this only 15 feet away from our boat — their mouths all appearing out of the water at once, in a giant ring, with birds flocking all around them to catch the extra fish. And our captain had a hydrophone, so we could hear the sounds of the whales organizing their feeding. We could even hear them blowing the bubbles. It was amazing! Unfortunately, I don’t have great pictures of this, because I was focused on watching the events, but I do have a few whale shots.

One response to “July 20: Boat Trip!

  1. Marianne told me about your site. It is great! It’s like going on your own trip (Horseheads does not look like this). Thanks for sharing this adventure with all of us. Lew (papaduzer)

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