Juneau

Ellen Hall
We met our bus driver, Larry, who took us on a 15 min ride to Auke Bay, where we boarded a boat operated by Four Seasons Marine. The boat had two decks, the lower one was completely enclosed and it had large windows. The upper deck had a small area that was enclosed and an area on both sides and the back that was outside. We stayed inside on the 15 min boat ride, because it was going fast and it was cold. The tour guides pointed out a land-locked glacier in the distance but I don’t remember the name of it. We saw a colony of Stellar Sea Lions on a tiny island, there were probably 200 of them sunning, swimming and growling. The boat stopped and got close for viewing, then it moved on. Not far away the captain found 2 humpback whales that were sleeping, the guides called the behavior ‘logging’. They spouted air and moved slowly thru the water. The whales were estimated to be about 30’ to 40’ long. Then the boat moved again and we found a whale that was feeding. We stopped for close viewing. The guides identified the whale from his tail fluke markings as the one they nicknamed “Hercules”. He would bob to the surface 5 or 6 times, and then he would submerge for a deep dive to feed. During the beginning of the deep dive, he would flip his tail up in the air and leave a tail shaped mark in the water as he submerged. He would stay under for anywhere from 2 to 10 mins, then resurface and start over. One time he surface about 20 feet from the rear of the boat and I was right there! I could have stayed watching the whales all day! After that, we took a 15 min boat ride to the Orca Point Lodge where we had a meal of grilled fresh Coho salmon. The food was delicious and the lodge was beautiful with wonderful views. We were there about an hour, and then we took a 15 min ride back to the dock in Auke Bay. As we boarded the bus for the ride back to the cruise ship dock they gave us a DVD about whales. It was an excellent excursion and the whales were awesome!

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