When I learned that a sperm whale carcass had washed up on shore near Juneau, I hoped that we would be able to go see it. The carcass is closer to Haines, but thankfully we had a low wind day and were able to get there with our boat. Sperm whales typically are not found in inside waters so this really is a rare occurrence. Here is a good article about it. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/alaska-noaa-team-examines-dead-endangered-sperm-whale
A pod of orcas were observed in the Gastineau Channel. I first noticed the pod near one of the cruise ship docks. They were very active while they were in that area. I think they were hunting something or had killed something. They were on the other side of the channel from me and heading south, so I drove over to Sheep Creek hoping they would pass right by me. Once I got on the other side of the channel, I found that they had moved back over to the Douglas side of the channel (which is were I started from). I watched as they swam past Sandy Beach. I eventually drove to Sheep Creek hoping that they would move over closer to me. They never did! They cruised along the shores of Douglas, sometimes lingering in one spot. I eventually had to leave and last saw them across from Sheep Creek very close to Douglas Island. Despite the extreme distance, I was able to identify T038A thanks to a unique white patch she has on her dorsal fin. She is a transient orca.
From the westside of Douglas Island near Admiralty Island. At times I thought I could see two spouts, but due to distance I could only confirm one whale.
From the westside of Douglas Island I could see a very faint spout near Admiralty Island. I can see the distinctive hump of a diving humpback whale in the one photo I managed to take.
A very brief sighting from our front window. The pod quickly went by as they headed toward the bridge that connects Douglas Island to Juneau. Approximately ten minutes later they went by again heading back toward Sandy Beach. It was early in the morning and the sun had not hit the channel, therefore, my photos are grainy due to lighting issues and distance.
These orcas have been identified as residents.
I spotted a spout from the west side of Douglas Island. The whale (assuming a humpback) appeared to be near Young Bay by Admiralty Island. I was standing on the shore and was only able to see the spout. I also spotted what I believe were Dall's porpoise. There were several sea lions in the area as well.
We spent some time in our boat and found a pod of orcas just outside of Auke Bay near the southern tip of Shelter Island. There appeared to be between seven and eight orcas in the pod. They were split up into three groups. Two of the groups eventually came together and headed south (I believe there were six orcas in this group including two calves. One still had a peachy coloring to it.) The third group (two orcas) headed north. Judging from the seagull activity, I believe the group of six had made a kill before they started heading south toward the west side of Douglas Island. We headed north and found the third group (with two orcas) in Favorite Channel near Shelter Island. I was able to identify one of them as T63, aka Chainsaw (his name in Washington and British Columbia) or Zorro (his name here in Alaska). I have hoped that one day I would get to see T63. It was a real treat to see him. We left the area and continued north. Approximately one hour later as we were returning to Auke Bay, we spotted T63 and his mom, T65 in Favorite Channel near Halibut Cove by Shelter Island hunting a sea lion. Although we have witnessed orcas hunting, this was the first time we were able to see what they were hunting. The sea lion spent a fair amount of time on the surface breathing and appeared to be stunned or injured. However, the orcas abandoned the hunt and left the area. The sea lion eventually swam away. I wish I knew why they abandoned the hunt. We were a bit shocked by it, as it seemed like a done deal.
These orcas have been identified as the T064s along with T035. T063, aka Chainsaw was with his mother T065.
I took many photos, and have more to upload as soon as I get around to editing them.
I found whale #2259 in the same location as on December 19, 2018, but this time he/she was not alone. Whale #1538, aka Smudge or Flame was with him/her. I have seen Smudge on a number of occasions. They appeared to be feeding, along with several sea lions. It is great to be able to see these whales so easily from shore.
I went looking for whales from shore today and found a humpback in Fritz Cove. It stayed in the same area swimming around in a circle between dives. It was accompanied by several sea lions. I can only assume that they were all feeding. This appears to be whale #2259. We saw this whale on November 23, 2018.