Up early, at 6am, to go on our first official excursion.
Free room service is great.
Our planned excursion at Juneau is to see whales. We thought that would be our first chance to see them but while we ate breakfast in the room I noticed a humpback dive and show its tail not 100 yards off the ship. There were at least two because one immediately came up with its mouth open feeding.
After a quick breakfast, we had to be on the dock ready to go before 8:30am.
Well evidently, it’s Friday.
We met our naturalist who would be with us for our whale watching tour.
The boat was new, and we only had 12 instead of 20 on the tour so we all had great views of the whales. We pulled up a crab pot as part of the university’s study. The goal is to detect if an invasive species crab has migrated up from the lower 48 states. If it does it will decimate the Dungeness crab population. I pulled out the pot which is like a crab trap.
It had caught a dogfish, liar crab, 6 sea stars. The naturalist insisted on taking out the dogfish, but I took out the rest.
After mom documented the count and types caught, they were released. I re-baited the pot and threw it back out. She was looking at baleen which is what the whales use to strain out water and keep the fish to eat.
We found at least 5 humpback whales. Several blew/spouted and dove showing their tales at first from a distance.
Then a little closer.
One was lunge feeding along the shore. It was incredible because we were within 100 feet of the whale. We did not purposely get that close to them, but one whale came up close to us. We were able to identify 3 of the whales by their tale markings. All was recorded so the university can track the individual whales in the Juneau area.
Back to the ship for a quick lunch and next to the shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier National Park.
When we arrived, we were able to walk to the waterfall and see the glacier.
We could walk right up to the base of the waterfall. The glacier was in the distance but there were many icebergs in the lake.
As we walked to the bus stop along a railing, we heard a sound below us. It was a black bear.
It walked along the other side of the rail for about 50 feet before turning back into the forest.
When it first appeared from the forest, we were no more than 3 feet apart. We were on opposite sides of the railing, but it was not interested in us. I was very glad we had not brought any snacks to the park as we were warned not to.
After returning to the ship to change shoes and drop off the backpack, we went back into town for a little shopping.
Back to the ship to change clothes for dinner, then a cocktail at the crow’s nest bar at the top of the ship. Tired we returned to the suite to watch sail away from the balcony.
As usual we had a towel animal waiting for us.
Even though it was 10:30 pm it was not yet dark. On to Icy Point tomorrow.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...