Tuesday evening's entertainment began when Larry S (aka Larry the Pizza Man, local Boston Pizza owner ) rushed down the dock, pausing only to report that whales were traveling north in Discovery Passage, just outside the marina. Several small pods had joined and formed a "super pod" as they cruised together. Spring (king) salmon fishing in the area is hot right now, bait fish are plentiful too, and Orca will follow the feed. Our skiff was in the water, so we set out to do some whale watching right here in town (well, close to town).
WOW, there were too many whales to count but 20+ is my best guesstimate. I alternated between the camera viewfinder and real-life viewing, constantly amazed at the number of animals and their activity. Large adult whales, small calves, and a couple of really big guys all gave quite a display. We saw leaps, tail slaps, and some organized herding and feeding as the pod traveled along a current rip line. Humpback whales are more plentiful along our usual Alaskan cruising routes, so this orca sighting was a special treat.
For an hour of whale watching I don't have many photos to share. The dinghy bounced around a lot so stability (blurring) was an issue. I needed to use an extreme zoom, so motion (blurring) was an issue. The low light meant a slower shutter speed, so there are many shots of splashes where whales used to be... or maybe I was just so excited I forgot to concentrate on taking pictures.
A very long lens and some Photoshop work makes this orca seem really close to us and to the small charter boat beyond, but we kept our distance and still enjoyed the whale antics. The element of surprise, wondering where they would surface next, just added to the fun. The evening was a pleasant reminder of what's ahead of us on the 2010 cruise.