Alaska Whale Watching
Compared to other baleen whales, the humpback whales that inhabit the Pacific coast of North America are unique. This population is characterized by a variety of remarkable feeding behaviors that include the production of loud, trumpet-like feeding calls. which are apparently used to herd schooling fishes such as the Pacific herring. These whales also demonstrate a type of tool use by deploying large bubble nets around fish schools or krill swarms. The prey is then devoured in a spectacular communal lunge as the whales come rocketing up through the center of the bubble net. Up to two dozen whales may take part in these lunging events, which turn the surface into a boiling caldron of bubbles, baleen, and bait fishes.
These co-operative humpback pods possess a social complexity that is rarely observed in baleen whales. For example, individuals within these groups may develop long-term associations that may last for many years. There also appears to be a division of labor, with particular whales constantly leading the group, deploying the bubble nets, and producing the feeding calls. Furthermore, on each lunge, each whale in the group maintains the same position, indicating that this is an intricately choreographed feeding maneuver.
Donâ€™t miss your chance to view these spectacular giants as they pass through the magnificent glacier-carved fjords of Alaska. Alaskan waters host the largest concentration of Humpback Whales, Orca Whales, Gray Whales and Beluga Whales in the North Pacific, with populations reaching over 400 Humpback Whales and over 1000 individually identified Orca Whales in the summer months.
When To Go
Visit between June-early September for Humpback and Minke Whales, Orcas, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall's and Harbour Porpoises. June-early July is best for bubble-netting Humpbacks. June-September is cool to cold on the water and subject to extreme changes, including fog and rain. August is the prime month for weather, seas, and whales.