whale of a tail

Auke Bay Travel Blog

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there was no bear on this path!

2:35pm: Our afternoon excursion was a "Photo Safari by Land & Sea" that included taking a shuttle bus to Tongass National Forest, Mendenhall Glacier and Auke Harbor to see wildlife and tips on photography. Liz was our guide and we also had a bus driver that took us on a shuttle bus 1st to the forest. When we were about to depart, it started to hail! Tongass Forest is a tropical rain forest which means it could rain everyday! We were provided with ponchos and yellow towels to cover our cameras and a walking stick if we chose. The walking sticks could also be used as a tripod if needed, I should have taken one. After a couple of minutes, the hail stopped and it turned to a steady rain. So, off we went into the forest for our guided walk. Liz instructed us on "Bear Rules" like if we were faced with one on the trail, don't scream or run, just back up! If it gets aggressive, back up quickly faster! Well, we were not faced with one, darn it anyways!

Liz gave us tip on taking close up pictures like raindrops on the trees, waterfalls and and moss.

scenery from Tongass
Yes, one tree had 15 different types of moss growing on it! Markers throughout the forest showed where Mendenhall Glacier used to be at different years. It was very interesting to see how far the glacier has moved since 1920! The end of the hike led us to a view of Mendenhall Glacier which is about 105 stories high and 1 mile at its widest point! Such an amazing sight it was from the viewing platform where we stood for a few minutes marveling at it. The scenery was WoW with a lake in front and the mountains behind it.

Then we were transported to Auke Harbor and boarded a boat to view wildlife. There were more snow covered mountains surrounding the harbor as we cruised past Shelter Island which has no electricity and people have to be ferried over which takes 15 minutes.
moss of Tongass
 I got excited when Liz and the driver got a notice that humpback whales were spotted just a few minutes ago. Soon enough, a small black area appeared above the water, making noise and blowing water out with its blow hole! I wasn't sure if any pictures would turn out, so I also did a video. Even the people in our group stayed quiet long enough to hear the whale blowing the water out. It was a Humpback whale! We were close enough to get decent shots but still need a big optical zoom. Then one humpback jumped out of the water and showed off his tail! We were all in AWE, including Liz. She was really excited for us, as she yelled "what a great shot that was!" For 2 hours we watched about 6 whales and also got to see a buoy with an eagle sitting majestically on its top and sea lions basking on the bottom! They must be used to the boats and people being close because they paid no attention to us.
river going through Tongass
I did get some good pictures of the eagle and sea lions, compliments of Liz. She let me out on the deck 1st so no one could block me. She saw that I was not a pushy person and how I kind of stood back.  The weather had cleared up by this time and the sun was glistening down so pretty on the water. Liz was a great guide and gave us tips for photography and viewing the whales which made it was my favorite tour.

Back at the ship, we had missed our 6pm dinner seating, so we ate at the Bordeaux room which is really for anytime dining. It was Italian night and Lourdes had told us not to miss it but Bernie and I were actually a little disappointed with the choices. I ended up with an appetizer of shrimp, mussel and calamari, vegetable minestrone soup, an entree of fettuccine alfredo and a dessert of spumoni ice cream with raspberry sauce and chocolate shavings.

marker shows where Mendenhall Glacier was in 1920
It was pretty good. We sat and listened to a couple from New Zealand who told the story of how were detained by security because the husband had the same name as a suspect on the "list". What an experience he went through!

For the nightlife, we went to the lounge where a country & western "hoe down" was taking place. The male host yelling "You're Dead, DED dead!" got to be very monotonous! There wasn't much music and/or dancing, mostly a shoot em up thing. We had like one drink and left.

Quote for the day: Bang, Yer DED, dead!

Aditu says:
Am I missing the video?
Posted on: Jun 26, 2008
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there was no bear on this path!
there was no bear on this path!
scenery from Tongass
scenery from Tongass
moss of Tongass
moss of Tongass
river going through Tongass
river going through Tongass
marker shows where Mendenhall Glac…
marker shows where Mendenhall Gla…
fog
fog
approaching Mendenhall Glacier
approaching Mendenhall Glacier
lovely scenery
lovely scenery
Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall
Mendenhall
what a view
what a view
lovely!
lovely!
whales tail
whale's tail
so exciting
so exciting
Shelter Island
Shelter Island
love the reflection of the water
love the reflection of the water
eagle atop a buoy
eagle atop a buoy
sea lions on the bottom of the buoy
sea lions on the bottom of the buoy
they like the buoy
they like the buoy
leaving
leaving
Aude Bay
Aude Bay
lighthouse
lighthouse
majestic
majestic
blowing whale
blowing whale
trying to get the raindrops on the…
trying to get the raindrops on th…
Tongass Forest
Tongass Forest
Auke Bay
photo by: euphemy