Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Humpback Whales

The busy season is upon us here in Alaska so it's going to be increasingly difficult to be able to keep up on the blog entries for awhile. The only reason I'm able to do it now is because it's raining outside. I've got the boat out of the water to do my annual maintanence and I've been painting it while the weather was good. It wasn't supposed to rain today- only a 20% chance of rain according to the forecast, but we do live in a rain forest and of course I'm using latex paint which is water soluble- go figure. If I wasn't trying to paint it would probably be sunny and dry as a desert. I can't really complain too much though. It has been pretty good weather-wise up until today, and so far no bugs. Hallelujah! Usually when I'm trying to paint it's either cloudy without a breath of wind and the gnats are swarming me like flies on crap or it's sunny and the horseflies are buzzing me looking for an opening so they can swoop in and take a chunk out of my flesh. I must be tasty. Obviously none of this has anything at all to do with the whales I'm supposed to be writing about, but that's the way my mind works. Anyway, the whales. When the boys and I were halibut fishing we ran up past the Narrows in Port Frederick and could see four or five Humpbacks working the area. There were quite a few porpoises and birds too. I think all the little herring that had been in the harbor moved on up into the bay. Dummies! They should have stayed in the harbor where they were safe. I read somewhere just how much one of these whales eats and it's substantial. It's a wonder that there are any herring left at all, but somehow enough manage to survive to keep the species going. Even though I see them all the time, it's still fun to watch a group of whales work when I've got the time. Usually I'm running out to the fishing grounds and can't take the time to appreciate them. Sometimes there are so many hanging out in an area that they are hard to avoid. One of the local fishermen is in trouble for "harassing the whales" out by Point Adolphus. It's a ridiculous charge and I hope he can get it thrown out. He was on his way out to the ocean and got too close to a whale according to the Feds. Like I said, there are so many it's hard to stay away from them. While you're trying to steer around one, another one will come up right in front of you. It's pretty scary actually. An encounter between a Humpback and a wooden troller wouldn't be very good for either party. However, on the day we were fishing, we were able to keep our distance. One of them decided to start jumping out of the water (breeching). He probably jumped six or eight times and I was able to capture it. As you can see, they leave quite a spash. There is an entire tourist industry built around whale watching and I've thought about getting into it myself, but my boat is too slow and I don't want to give up fishing yet. Some day though, when it becomes more of a hassle than I want to put up with, I may resort to running tourists around so they can enjoy for a premium what we enjoy for free.


  1. Very cool! Seeing a breeching humpback whale and that pod of Orca alongside your boat the day you took me out for a spin was one of the hightlights of my 1991 visit!!

  2. LOVE the pics dad, like I said before living in AK your really do take things for granted. Since I don't live there anymore I love to see all the pics you post on the blog, and even better I love to hear some of the people's comments when they see the pics to :)