Humpback soup in North Pass
We spent some time on our boat and found many humpbacks in North Pass, including a group of bubble net feeders. There appears to be a calf following the group of bubble feeders around. There is some thought that the calf belongs to Stamp. Also, we have not seen bubble feeding for two years. We saw only one bubble net session and then they continued to swim around the area. Perhaps they were not finding what they were looking for. There was another calf in the area as well. We stopped and watched it while it played with some kelp.
Humpback and orca double header
We spent time in our boat and saw five humpbacks near north pass, including #1538, Flame and her calf along with #1447, Juneauite and what appeared to be a calf. This is the first time I have seen Juneauite this year. There also appeared to be a couple of humpbacks near Favorite Reef.
As we were heading in, we spotted a pod of orcas (approximately seven) near Point Retreat. The pod of transients were moving quickly and diving for long periods of time, making them extremely difficult to track.
I have submitted photos to happywhale.com and am waiting to hear back from them as far as ID's go.
Humpbacks near Favorite Reef
Observed four or five humpbacks near Favorite Reef, including Flame #1538 and her calf.
Humpbacks throughout the day
We spent some time in our boat and found a mom and calf pair in Saginaw Channel south of North Pass. Although I did not get a good fluke photo of the mom, I believe she is #1703, aka Bullethole. The calf spent time playing at the surface. We also saw whales in Icy Strait, Chatham Strait, and near Favorite Channel.
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.
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.
Two humpbacks in Saginaw Channel
We spent some time in our boat and saw two humpbacks near the southern end of Shelter Island in Saginaw Channel. One of the whales turned out to be #2070, aka Barnacles. I was unable to get photos of the second whale.