Fall is in the air. The day light hours are getting shorter and shorter and the end of our cruising season is rapidly approaching. Our last week of cruising is spent enjoying the whales of Frederick Sound. This nutrient rich ecosystem is a popular hangout for the humpback whales. Whale researchers from around the world travel to these waters to study the whales. We have photographed many whale tails this year which we forward on to happywhale.com. From the photos, they can ID different whales and track their movements. We were happy to learn that Ikabaud and Norio, two whales that we Identified last year, have been spotted here in Alaska again this year after spending the winter in Hawaii.
While fishing one day, we watched as the whales were feeding in the distance. Several whales were breaching and doing the tail slap.
As the tide changed, we noticed them getting closer and closer to the boat. There was one pair of whales feeding together. It may have been a mom and calf. They were obviously working in tandem as they dove, lunged, and filtered their catch through their baleen. They repeated this several times. It was thrilling to watch.
Our attention soon turned to a lone whale who was also busy gorging on herring and krill. On several occasions he approached within feet of our boat. Whales are federally protected and we try to stay at least 100 yards away. But in this situation the whale chose to come to us. Our engine was off and we were just drifting. It appeared that he knew exactly where we were as he dove under our boat. He was so close that we could see the pink skin between the pleating of his chin.
When he turned sideways to filter we could see the baleen inside his mouth.
He repeated this feeding sequence of lunging and then turning sideways to scoop up the herring several times. It was amazing to watch but your heart skips a few beats with these massive creatures so close. They are just about as big as our boat.
With a scheduled haul out date approaching, we reluctantly point the bow towards Petersburg. We spent one last night at anchor enjoying the beauty of Thomas Bay. While setting out our crab traps we noticed a group of seals congregating on a rocky ledge.
We tried to approach quietly but the lookouts soon spotted us.
It didn’t take long for word to spread and there was soon mass exodus into the frigid waters. These guys are extremely shy.
That wraps up our cruising for this season. Tomorrow we will haul out at Piston and Rudder for some new bottom paint and zincs. We will let you know how all that goes shortly. Thanks for following along.