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.
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.
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.
There appeared to be two females and one juvenile. The pod was elusive and was being followed by ten whale watching boats. Between the elusive behavior of the orcas and the constant waves being produced by the whale watching boats, getting decent photos was impossible. It was a frustrating sighting.
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 believe the orcas are from AG pod of the Alaska residents (fish eaters).
I happened to look out the window and noticed an orca breaching. The weather was terrible, making it extremely difficult to see them. If I had not seen the breach, I do not think I would have noticed them at all. It looked like there were three or four in the pod. They appeared to be traveling south so I drove down to sandy beach. I watched for 20 minutes and briefly saw one of them surface.
My photos are extremely blurry to due weather and distance.
A large pod of orcas were observed in the Gastineau Channel directly across from downtown Juneau. The pod was spread apart and moving very quickly. I was quite far from them, therefore, my photos are heavily cropped. The orcas appear to be part of AG pod of the Alaskan residents.
A pod of three orcas were seen in the Gastineau Channel close to Douglas Island directly across from downtown Juneau. They were moving very slowly. It appeared as though they were swimming in a circle or at least staying in the same spot. They eventually began moving south. It was almost dark, and they were at least a half mile away from me, therefore, the photos are grainy. The male has been identified as T087.