Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Humpback Whale

Thousands of humpback whales spend their time in Southeast Alaska during the short summer. They give birth in the South Pacific includes of Hawaii and also travel through Mexico during winter, and then migrate 2,800 miles north for feeding in Southeast Alaska.

I've been seeing many humpback whales since I arrived in Glacier Bay. I was paddling a kayak in a cove one afternoon and I saw a mother whale and a calf sleeping on the surface. Slowly, I was paddling toward the whale but they never moved. The huge smooth bodies were floating on the water...I could almost touch them! They were much larger than the double kayak which I was in! It was a peaceful moment for a while. Then, mother whale suddenly blew water, and the calf slowly woke up too. They gradually swam in the other direction... Then, the calf showed it's fluke and disappeared into the deep.
On another day, when I was on a small boat, a humpback whale came close to the boat. Suddenly, it breached in front of me! The whale's whole body leaped above the water with a roaring splash! It was only a short second, but a magical moment. I couldn't believe what I saw, but I caught the moment in my camera. Breaching can be for communication amongst the whales, but the true reason is still a mystery.

Humpback Whales often feed in groups in Southeast Alaska. When they swim together, it is like watching "synchronized swimming."