Airship Goes to Alaska
This morning we headed out of Snettisham in some light fog, weaving our way through only a dozen or so gill netters. The weather forecast for Stephens Passage was “Wind SE 20kt diminishing in the morning, then becoming N 10kt in the afternoon. Seas 4ft subsiding to 2 ft in the afternoon.” The fog lifted and the blue spots in the sky got larger, and by the time we reached Stephens (about 9:30am) it was flat and as smooth as glass.
We immediately found ourselves stuck in the middle of a bunch of humpbacks so we slowed up (and eventually stopped) to let them do their thing while we tried to be invisible (well, invisible, but with cameras).
There were maybe 20 in this particular group that was hanging together and they were amazing to watch. It’s hard up here not to be “too close” to the humpbacks, because they’re everywhere. Every. Where. All you can really do is just stop and wait, and we had to do that several times over the course of our trip down Stephens Passage on the way to Hobart Bay today.
One curious guy came over to check us out…um, too close too close too close too close WAY too close. Not much to be done but just sit there, shut down, and make sure you’re not bugging ‘em. I don’t think we were bugging ‘em. I think they kinda liked us.
Here are a bunch of photos, and some video….to give you an idea of what it’s like up here:
I was about to get the coolest photo of this whale's tail as it came up out the water (above) and this other whale totally photobombed my shot:
I think the photobomber (the one below with the bumps) is the curious humpback who came over VERY close to our boat later (you'll see…and you'll see in the video):
So many humpbacks:
And here was the curious guy coming over to check us out (eeeeeek!!):
Here's some video Kevin took with his iPhone (seriously, watch this video):
Oh yeah, and in the distance, a few breaches:
We continued on and near the entrance to Tracy Arm we had to slow down again for more:
Glacier with humpback:
Finally, a clear path:
We continued on down Stephens Passage toward Hobart Bay, and at no time were there ever not humpback blows in several spots on the horizon.
We tied up on the public float in the cove on Entrance Island, and then since it was still so gorgeous out, we decided to go for a little spin in the dinghy to explore.
Marker, marking the shallow reef:
Oh, and hey look, more humpbacks.
Wow, and not just humpbacks, humpbacks bubble feeding! I felt the need to keep reminding Kevin to stay way the heck back because did I mention we were in the DINGHY??
Also, we saw a couple breaches that I did not get photos of because…DINGHY!!
It was spectacular. The light was beautiful out and other than a few moments when we thought we were shut out of our little harbor by more humpbacks, it was a lovely evening ride in Hobart Bay.
Sea lions on their way out to dinner:
Another incredible day in SE Alaska.
Here's today's route, from the sockeye hatchery in Snettisham (which we'll be posting about next) to Entrance Island in Hobart Bay (about 50 nautical miles):