Friday, June 21, 2013

Alaska Cruise: Juneau (WHALES!)

The second stop on Regent CruisesSeven Seas Navigator sailing the Inside Passage was Alaska’s capital, Juneau. It was a gorgeous 75 degrees and sunny. The shopping here is more extensive, and the prices may be better plus there’s an IGA in town if you want to pick up some tuna and salmon to bring home.  Red Dog Saloon is a little corny but have a beer there anyway. There are a couple of trail heads just a mile or so from the Port or you can take the aerial tram up the mountain to see the Raptor Center, etc. After a little hike on Perseverance Trail, it was time to head back to the ship for the Whale Watching cruise.

The Evening Whale Watching cruise booked through Regent Cruises (Regent Choice tour operated by Allen Marine Tours for $169 per person) guaranteed whale sightings and was recommended by Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society, so it was bound to be good.  The lower deck was toasty and the buffet spread looked good, but I needed to be up top on the Observation Deck no matter how chilly. The scenery was beautiful, but OMG- the whales!

Humpback Whales usually feed alone, but occasionally they team up to surround a school of krill with bubbles forcing the little fish up to the surface where they are gobbled in epic mouthfuls. This is called Bubble-Net Feeding. We witnessed this incredible spectacle several times, whales leaping up in unison with their mouths agape, and then splashing down with a collective crash. To see so many swimming in tandem was incredible.  

Oh yeah, I almost forgot- we passed Mendenhall Glacier on the way to the boat. It was pretty. Here's a link to my photos of Juneau.