Sunday, June 8, 2014
Steller's, Dall's and a Really Big Whale. A Grand, Grand Day.
Our first Grand Day lived up to it's name. Here Eric and Brie are joined by a curious seal. This was just one of our wildlife interactions.
As our boat chartered out to Aialik Bay we had a treat. Sunny Cove guide Matt (the whale whisperer) Barnes spotted an unusual whale spout. Tall and powerful the estimated 20 foot spout was from a Fin whale. Fin whales are the planets 2nd largest animal. They can grow up to 80 feet in length and over 70 tons in weight. Long and slender they are also one of the fastest whales able to sustain speeds of 20 to 25 mph.
We stopped by a Steller Sea Lion haul out. The western Alaska Steller population experienced a 70 to 80% decline in population since the 1970s. Our Steller population seems to have stabilized in recent years. We encounter Steller Sea Lions frequently in our paddles. They are curious critters who often check us out.
Dall purpoise joined us to surf the bow wake. Extremely fast, Dall purpoise can swim up to 55 km/h almost as fast as Orca whales who share a similar coloration. They are fun to watch as they zigzag just under the water surface often creating a rooster tail spray when breaking the surface.
Can't forget the birds... here we search for red faced cormorants. It's a day for smiles as SC guide Tess Tulley keeps an eye out for our feathered friends. We didn't see the red faced cormorants but did encounter horned and tufted puffins, pigeon guillemot, and double crested cormorants.
With all the wildlife we still had plenty of time to paddle to Holgate glacier. This was the first Grand Day for new SC guides Connor O'Quinn and Alicia Lacutone. We couldn't have asked for a better day.