From shore I watched a humpback feeding on newly released salmon fingerlings. The whale was skim feeding. I like to call this method of feeding the side lunge super scoop. I have not seen many whales in Juneau skim feeding, but it is a common feeding method in Ketchikan.
As we were heading back to Juneau from a camping trip, we spotted a large pod of orcas near Howard Bay in Chatham Strait. The pod was spread out over a large area. It was difficult to determine how many individuals there were. We did manage to get photos of two large males. This pod has been identified as AG pod (Alaska resident orcas). As we watched the orcas we spotted two humpbacks in the area as well. I managed to get a fluke photo of one of the humpbacks.
We spent some time in Icy Strait and saw many Dall's porpoise. They seemed to be in every direction that we looked.
I happened to look out our window and saw a pod of six to eight orcas going by. They were heading north. Although it was late in the evening, I was able to get a few photos. However, they are grainy due to distance and lighting issues. It has been determined that these were resident orcas, likely part of AG pod.
We spent some time in our boat looking for whales and found three near North Pass. The first whale was about 1/2 mile north of the pass. It was traveling alone. We did not spend much time watching it. As we entered North Pass, I immediately spotted what looked like a mom and calf pair. The calf was small and behaving like a young one. It stayed very close to its mom. It would surface a bit before she would, but would quickly rejoin her mom once she surfaced. I had heard that Sasha #1879 was spotted in Maui with a calf, so I assumed it was the pair. After a few dives, I was finally able to identify the mom. It turned out to be Flame #1538. I was shocked, as Flame had a calf with her last summer. I reached out to a few people, and the thought was perhaps she was still with her calf, Bunsen, from last year. The last few times I saw Flame last summer, Bunsen was nowhere to be found. I also saw Flame on December 24, 2019, and Bunsen was not with her. It did not make sense to me that she would be with Bunsen now. I also have never seen Flame associating with other whales. She might be in the same general area as other whales, but she is always off on her own. I have always felt she is a loner.
After posting a photo of her on Facebook, someone mentioned that she had been spotted in Maui this past winter with a new calf! It is a bit unusual for humpbacks to have a calf every year. Generally it is every two to three years. I hope to see them again soon. It would be neat to confirm that it is indeed a new calf.