We spent a couple of hours on our boat today enjoying the sunshine and calm water. While we were out we spotted three humpbacks near the backside (west side) of Douglas Island. Two appeared to be traveling together, while one was on its own. The pair disappeared before we could get any photos. While we were searching for the pair, the third whale surfaced right in front of us. I do wonder if these are the same whales we saw from shore yesterday and that we have seen out in the same general area for the last couple of weeks.
We also spotted a distant spout near North Pass.
Four humpbacks were observed (from shore) on the back side of Douglas Island. Two of the whales appeared to be traveling together, while the other two were alone. The two that were together were very active. We saw several breaches, tail slaps, and pectoral slapping. The whales were quite far from us, so getting photos was difficult. I was able to get a few fluke shots of one of the whales, and possibly a fluke shot of a second whale. Although it is difficult to determine due to extreme distance. One of the whales might be #1783, aka Tucker. However, I am not absolutely positive of this.
We spent a couple of hours searching for whales today and found four near Fritz Cove and the west side of Douglas Island. Two appeared to be traveling together. While we were watching those two, a third whale popped up in front of us. The water condition was very choppy, therefore, our encounter with these whales was brief and getting photos was nearly impossible. As we were heading in, we spotted a fourth whale just outside of the Fritz Cove/Auke Bay area. It was in the same general area that the whale we observed yesterday from false outer point was in. I did manage to get a fluke photo and positively identified it as whale #1879, aka Sasha. Although my photos from yesterday's sighting were shot from a great distance, I believe it was Sasha that we saw yesterday from false outer point.
One of the whales appeared to have some scarring on its back. On May 27, 2018, I took a photo of a whale that appears to have similar scarring. I cannot help but wonder if it is the same whale.
A lone humpback was observed approximately a half mile to one mile away from where I was standing on shore. It appeared to be feeding in a manner I have not observed since we left Ketchikan. I refer to it as the side lunge super scoop, although I am sure there is a more scientific term(s) used to describe it. While feeding this way the whale appears to slightly lunge out of the water, while on its side, with its mouth agape. A pectoral fin and half of the whale's fluke sticks out of the water. I have photos of whales doing this in Ketchikan on April 27, 2016, and October 31, 2016. Although I was a great distance away from this whale, I could clearly see through my camera that it was feeding in this manner. It was exciting to see as I have not observed this feeding style here in Juneau.
Based on an observation made on 11/12/18, I believe this is whale #1879, aka Sasha.
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 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.