Whale Tales

20150725 9411 whale tail landscape rADVENTURES headed south towards Cape Fanshaw to anchor for the night, running later into the evening to stay ahead of a big weather front that was approaching.  Once again we saw at least 40-50 humpback whales, blowing and diving in every direction.  Some popped up quite close to us…20150725 9424 whale back very close r…which can be rather alarming since a humpback is about 45′ long and weighs almost as much as ADVENTURES does!  Whales were slapping their long pectoral fins on the water, making great splashes…20150725 9396 whale pec slap 2 r…and we saw some whales tail-slapping as well.  In one case, we noticed tail-slapping that was different – urgent and insistent.  The whale was a good distance from us, but we slowed the boat to watch.  Other whales began to converge on the tail-slapping whale, and we spotted a few orcas near them.  As we watched through binoculars, we saw the water splashing turn from frothy white to red, so we assume the orcas were hunting a young or sick whale.  It’s sobering, but it’s nature, and every creature has to eat.20150725 9387 orca close 2 rAs we continued to cruise along we spotted some humpbacks closer to us, breaching.20150725 9413 whale breach 1 rIt’s a tremendous thrill to see 30 tons of whale come leaping completely out of the water, though that first breach is such a surprise that it’s nearly impossible to get a photo of it.  Fortunately one breach is often followed by a few more, though each successive one is usually less dramatic than the one before.  It takes a few moments to gather enough composure to grab a camera and run outside.20150725 9417 breaching whale 5 closer rAnother whale was diving and blowing as we cruised into our anchorage in Cleveland Passage, putting a nice finish on a great day.20150725 9433 whale tail 2 rThe next morning we cruised a few hours to Petersburg, staying just ahead of the weather and enjoying flat calm seas.  Once we arrived and settled in, the rain started.  Petersburg set a record for a lack of rain in the month of May and now Mother Nature is making up for it with heavier-than-normal rain.  It’s a rainforest – we shouldn’t be too surprised.

Despite the weather we headed out to explore Mitkof Island and do a little hiking, to stretch our legs after so many days on the boat.  We spotted some grouse and a number of deer with their new velvety antlers.20150728 9515 young buck 2 rWe tried to hike on trails in the woods rather than the more open muskeg in the hopes that the canopy would help keep us a little more dry, but the rain managed to penetrate quite well.  Our friends are used to camping and hiking in the rain (it’s a family curse kind of thing), but the deluge eventually dampened spirits enough that we gave up plans for a longer hike.20150728 9497 soggy hike trio rI love the look of the woods in the rain – this far into the summer the skunk cabbage is huge and everything is green and lush.  The thick forest looks almost prehistoric, and you can imagine that a giant dinosaur might be around the next corner.  Instead we know that the giants are out there in the Inside Passage – leaping and splashing.

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