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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Whales, Alaska Vacation: July 22-29, 2015

Whales were spotted everyday, but our first long encounter with whales was with a group of humpbacks who were feeding in choppy seas.

The above photo is of two humpback whales feeding. Humpbacks are baleen feeders who consume plankton (krill). They are not meat eaters. What is seen here are parts of their mouths. The wavy portion is the bottom of a whale's mouth. The accordion-like structure of the mouth expands to hold the water and plankton. The top portion of the mouth interior is baleen which acts as a sieve when the whale closes its mouth to squeeze out the water leaving the plankton behind.

Because Dan and I have only previously seen whales in the warm oceans off Baja, Mexico, and Hawaii, we've never seen whales feed before. Humpbacks feed in cold ocean water where plankton is plentiful.

After watching the whale smorgasbord for about an hour, we moved on toward our night's anchorage. Along the way we spotted a group of orcas. Orcas are toothed whales and are meat eaters. The orcas were traveling not hunting. We saw only backs and dorsal fins in front of gorgeous scenery

As the days went on we saw many more humpback whales. We even had some very close encounters.

We saw humpback whales bubble-net fishing which means that an individual or group swims in a circle below the surface exhaling bubbles in a circle. As the bubbles rise to the surface they create a wall of bubbles that confines the plankton within the circle space. The humpback rises up within the bubble wall to gather the plankton in its mouth.

One beautiful day while watching harbor seals and sea lions, we spotted a humpback languorously feeding. He/she gracefully came up, palate first (the photo that looks like the tip of a surfboard), brought up the rest of its mouth, let the water flow through, and slowly closed its mouth to jettison the water and leave the plankton behind.

Amazing whales and also much less active harbor seals.