For two years in a row we have had amazing experiences with whales on Halloween. In 2016 we watched humpbacks feeding near Ketchikan. In 2017 we watched a pod of orcas feeding near Juneau. I was hoping we would have a similar experience this year. We spent several hours and covered a lot of ground in search of whales. From point retreat, through north pass, to Benjamin Island. We decided to check Fritz Cove before heading in and finally spotted a lone humpback just outside of Auke Bay. I missed getting a fluke photo, but it was exciting to find that there is at least one humpback still in the area. *Photos taken with a 600mm lens*
This summer has been a bit frustrating as far as whale watching goes. We have spent less time on our boat, and when we have been out the whales in the area were typically surrounded by several whale watching boats. Rather than join the chaos, we chose to stay away. The cruise ships stopped coming this week, so we decided to head out and see if we could find any whales still in the area. We got lucky and found three humpbacks in North Pass. We also saw two more spouts off in the distance. I was excited to see they all have not left the area just yet.
Two of the whales in the area appeared to be together, while the third whale was off by herself. The two that were together would surface and dive together. At one point, the two surfaced and seemed to be resting (logging). They did this for five to ten minutes. They remained side by side the entire time. Right before they dove, after logging, one blew a few bubbles then began to vocalize. I can only describe it as a groaning or growling sound. They then dove at the same time. This is the first time we have seen this type of behavior. It was very interesting and so neat to see and hear. I was able to identify both of the whales. One of the whales is #2006, aka Magma and the other whale is #1447, aka Juneauite (juneauflukes.org). I identified the third whale as #1538, aka Smudge or Flame. We have seen both Magma and Flame before.
We also encountered a pod of Dall's porpoise. They swam around our boat for a minute or two. This was the second time we have had Dall's porpoise do that. I was not able to get photos. They are too fast.