Whether sifting through sand, or scrambling over a rocky shore, it's about finding treasures in every day. 

Bubblenet Whales

Underway on a sunny day, freedom from the harbor feels like an escape well made. I am still stowing stuff an hour out of port…not that we would stay out the month we are provisioned for, um, but we might.

Unusual calm sunny day at the end of October.
Unusual calm sunny day at the end of October.

Whale spouts!   They’re near Anita Bay which we will pass by.

 Whale spouts in the distance.

Whale spouts in the distance.

As we draw nearer there are hundreds of seagulls milling around on the water. We slow to idle, and give them some distance. A few whales are surfacing, blowing, and diving.

 Humpback whales ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) in Southeast Alaska.

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Southeast Alaska.

Then some of the seagulls lift off of the water, and start to circle a bubbly disturbance on the ocean. Quickly, more gulls join, and then, great, black, gaping mouths of the humpback whales suddenly rise out of the water! The seagulls screech and dive, hoping to nab a small fish.

 Humpback whales bubblenet feeding.

Humpback whales bubblenet feeding.

The humpacks are bubblenet feeding; working together to trap krill and small fish in a net of bubbles that they blow underwater. Spiraling up to the surface, the whales open their mouths, taking in huge amounts of water and food, and then close their mouths and strain the water out through their baleen.

Humpback whales bubblenet feeding in Southeast Alaska.
Humpback whales bubblenet feeding in Southeast Alaska.

The whales settle back to the surface, turning, nostrils up, and breathe.

 Two humpback whales taking a breath.

Two humpback whales taking a breath.

After a few big breaths the whales dive, showing their tails.

 Humpback whale diving.

Humpback whale diving.

The markings on the bottom of each humpback whale’s tail are unique. Someone somewhere knows who this whale is.

 Markings on the underside of a humpback whale's tail.

Markings on the underside of a humpback whale's tail.

Hi Seagull! Can you tell us when the whales will surface again? No? Okay. I guess it’s time for us to move on.

 Seagull, nervously looking over his shoulder...

Seagull, nervously looking over his shoulder...

Just a note, this was October 27 but I could not publish from the bush. We ran back to town November 4 to avoid a storm, but it caught us on the way. Below is the 105 foot tug ERNEST CAMPBELL when the weather was just starting to kick up.

Some nights it is really, really nice to be tied to a stout dock.

 Tug  ERNEST CAMPBELL  towing a fuel barge.

Tug ERNEST CAMPBELL towing a fuel barge.

For more on humpback whales click here: Humpback Whales at Point Baker, Hardworking Whales

To view lots of different animals: Alaskan Critters