Posts tagged: whale watching

Quiet Thrills

By , November 12, 2012

Our homestead is usually pretty quiet, but lately, it’s been downright silent. As far as we know, we’re the only people on our side of the peninsula right now. On top of that, everything’s muffled by 3 or 4 inches of snow. Our recent high winds have calmed.

Yesterday, Michelle sighted a humpback whale about a mile out in Lynn Canal. We watched carefully for it to reappear as it swam slowly south, barely disturbing the calm water.

About half an hour later, I glanced out the cabin window just as a whale, possibly the same one we’d seen before, surfaced a few feet off our rocky beach. It passed close at an angle, almost as if it were intent on ramming nose-first into the cliff. It blew, but not too loudly. We ran outside and watched it surface again a few yards up the beach, still close to the rocks. This is the first whale we’ve seen since September.

It’s hard to convey the shock we feel when a 40-50 foot long animal appears suddenly within a couple yards of the breakfast table. It’s quite electrifying, no matter how often it might happen. Even more so in November, when we rarely see whales, and aren’t expecting them.

winter day, Haines, Alaska

Our quiet coastline. Of course there’s no photo of the whale; we didn’t have time to snap any photos of it (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The Herring are Here. Now What?

By , May 1, 2012

For the last couple of days, we’ve suspected that the herring have arrived, but because of the choppy conditions, we haven’t been able to confirm this by looking in the water and seeing the shoals. Still, it seemed fairly obvious because of the increased activity among the herring eaters that have been gathering in recent weeks. Sunday afternoon, three humpback whales cruised along the edge of our beach, literally shoulder-to-shoulder.

Yesterday, I heard a whale approaching our bight, and went down to the beach to watch. The water had become quite calm, so I knew it would surface shortly when I saw the surface erupt in thousands of herring trying to swim past it into the sky. The whale’s nose burst into the air in the middle of the fish. Seconds later, a second whale did the same—two whales lunge-fed within 50 feet from where I stood. They worked their way up the beach to the neighbor’s land, then circled around and came back by. On their return, I managed to get a couple of photos.

lunge-feeding humpback whale

One of the two whales lunge feeding off our beach yesterday (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Pretty dramatic proof that the herring have arrived. Now what? Continue reading 'The Herring are Here. Now What?'»

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