Our first real shot at sea-life viewing from a boat turned into a very rewarding day of marine mammal sightings! It also revealed how tough it is to shoot moving wildlife photos from a moving boat, on a rocking ocean. I need to work on my photography skills!
Haley was here and the six of us took an overnight trip to Seward. I splurged and booked a boat ride with Kenai Fjords Tours. I’m reviewing the trip in a week or so, but wanted to share some of the photos we took.
It was a little rainy and cold, but that’s common for coastal Alaska. Undeterred, we climbed on board for a 3 1/2 hour sail with dinner.
The tour left the harbor where we were treated to a couple of bald eagles hanging out on a mooring.
As we made our way through Resurrection Bay, the misty mountains and glaciers dominated the views. In the distance we could see a flock of birds chasing a bait ball. I was hoping to see a humpback whale feeding frenzy, but no such luck this trip.
Another captain called our ship and said that a pod of orcas was lurking near the mouth of the bay. We immediately high tailed it down the channel.
On the way down, we passed some bird rookeries. Cormorants and gulls tended nests along the jagged coastal cliffs.
At the mouth of the bay where nothing but open ocean lay beyond, we all searched the waters for the tell-tale black dorsal fins of an orca pod. They didn’t disappoint!
About 150 yards off the stern, we saw the first one. Then a Mom and calf appeared, then another pair and in the distance, we could see the massive dorsal fin of a male.
That was the first time I have seen an orca in the wild. What a thrill!
The pod went down for a bit and while we waited for them to resurface, we spotted some sea lions hanging out on the rocks. No doubt they bailed to avoid the predators!
Finally, the orcas came back up on the bow of the boat and headed out to open water. No breaches, but I’m not complaining! I’m having to expand my bucket list as I just keep ticking them off!
The kids were absolutely mesmerized. So much more rewarding to see them in the wild than in a tank.
As the orcas departed, the captain turned the boat around to head back to port. On the way, we were treated to puffins flying alongside the boat.
They were a little hard to capture sitting still! About half way back, the captain veered the boat slightly to check out a floating object.
It turned out to be a an otter floating on the surface eating a meal. He was so cute, and Saige wanted to adopt him. I almost conceded.
With his good-bye, we celebrated the end of a very rewarding day.
I love that there are still wild places like Alaska where orcas, otters, moose and bears roam free in their natural environment. I feel blessed to be a guest in their world.
Now if we can just get us a boat so I can go out practice my photography skills and check out the sea-life any time I want! Anyone want to join me?0