Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
(click on any photo to enlarge - especially on the whale and bear shots)
Radiance of the Seas, with a background haze of smoke from the Yukon fires.
I wonder how comfortable those fishermen are, sitting in a small boat so close to such large whales?
Nat'l Geographic info: In Alaskan waters, humpback whales work as a team to catch their meal by blowing a net of bubbles. The endangered mammals actually herd herring with a ring of bubbles, trapping them. Then, the whales rocket to the surface, mouths open, to capture the fish.
Here's the bear watching the bear-watchers.
Excursion Inlet originally held an Alaskan native village. Oral history reports the Huna Tlingits occupied Glacier Bay for thousands of years until glacial advance forced them out into Icy Straits, Excursion Inlet, and the Pacific coast. During World War II Excursion was used as a prisoner-of-war camp, and a strategic base for the Aleutian Campaign. The inlet has had a fishing cannery since 1891. The current plant, constructed in 1918, still functions today. processing pink and chum salmon, as well as salmon roe, salmon caviar, halibut and sablefish. It is located near the mouth of the inlet, about 40 miles west of Juneau. Its seasons run from late June to mid-September. Excursion Inlet Cannery is one of the largest fish canneries in the world and was acquired by Ocean Beauty Seafoods in 2003.
We kept one halibut and enjoyed it for dinner, topped with tapenade and wrapped in prosciutto. Really big halibut are a fun challenge to catch, but I think the little guys make the best eating.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Then it was time to check out the boats in the harbor. This vessel caught our attention with it's unusual design for NW cruising and the small chopper on top.
Then we were invited aboard the Miss Corrine to check out it's automated baiting system. Now that's a whole different approach!
We kayaked again in the morning and then we all cruised south in Chatham Strait aboard the big boat for another wonderful wildlife day.
A pod of six humpback whales breeched and showed lots of fins and tails around Lindbergh Point. Pacific white-sided dolphin and more humpbacks showed up in Chatham Strait. A pod of orca (killer whales) worked the Takatz Bay entrance and pink salmon were jumping like crazy inside the anchorage. The bay was packed with dozens of seiners - whose crews are occasionally known for their wild life between openings.