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 one of the whales, and I am hoping to get an ID on the second whale. The whale I was able to identify is #2006, aka Magma (juneauflukes.org). Apparently Magma has frequently been seen with #924, aka Crater. The whale I observed Magma with was not Crater. 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.
The whales were fairly active as one of them breached very close to a whale watching boat, while another slapped its tail several times.
A bit of a frustrating sighting due to the water conditions, the behavior of the orcas, and the position of the sun. The pod was on the move and difficult to track. There appeared to be five whales in the pod including one calf. These orcas have been identified as the T064s.
We also saw two humpbacks, Dall's porpoise, and harbour porpoise. No photos.
We spotted a lone orca near Auke Bay. The encounter was a bit frustrating due to the water conditions, the elusive behavior of the orca, and the large number of whale watching boats jockeying for position. The orca has been identified as T087. This is the second time I have seen T087 (November 26, 2016, was the first time).
The humpback encounter was equally as frustrating with the water conditions and the whale watching boat traffic.
I did not get very good photos of this whale, but I believe it was whale number 1879, aka Sasha. This is the second time I have seen her. The first was on April 9, 2017.
I believe the orcas are from AG pod of the Alaska residents (fish eaters).
We spent several hours in our boat, and saw at least 10 humpbacks while we were out.