Since Keith only has one day off per week, we decided to do some sightseeing on Thursday since it was our only day to hang together.As he is a seasonal worker here, he has not seen much of the area himself.Prior to my arrival, he mentioned whale watching as an option which I was totally excited about.As my flight had got in late the night before, we both slept in a little and then finally wandered out and about around .
We opted to do the AukeBay whale watching trip which is about a 3 hour tour.
Mountains and partial view of the glacier
The next tour was at which was only a little bit away so we wandered around the area a bit and kinda checked things out. What a contrast to the night before when we were walking around - it was like a true ghost town the night before and today, there were about 4 cruise ships in so the streets were filled with people.
On this particular tour, you take a bus from the downtown area to AukeBay where you board your boat which travels to various spots looking for both humpback and orca whales.The boats are pretty well designed for maximum viewing while inside and then you can run up top in the cold once a whale is spotted.And since the windows actually open, many of my shots came from right in my warm seat! LOL.
Finally a glimpse of their faces!
Our group was pretty small which was nice - I believe there were 10 of us on this large boat so it was like a private tour and the Naturalist had ample opportunity to speak with everyone and answer any questions.One of the first questions was the type of whales we expected to see. Obviously humpbacks were number one but the whale on everyone’s mind was the orca.She explained that the Orcas are very hit or miss in sightings.Sometimes they can go a week or two without seeing any.
We were only out a short time and low and behold - the captain spotted a family of Orcas! We stopped for quite a while and followed the family around.Of course, I had not brought the big camera with me on this trip (stupid me) and having a camera with even the slightest of delays caused me to lose most of the pristine shots of the whales.
Close up of one of the Orcas
I did manage to get a couple pictures, although they look more like shark fins! HA HA.In any case, it was magnificent to see the Orcas in their natural habitat versus the Shamu shows I am used to at Sea World.
After moving on from the Orca whales, we made our way down the channel in search of the humpbacks.It seemed like we had barely traveled any distance and we spotted the first of three.What a contrast from the Orca whales which were visible on the surface much more.The humpback whale can stay down for 7-8 minutes at a time and usually when you see their tail, they are on a long dive in search of food.Our naturalist advised that food is somewhat scarce so the chance of seeing any whales breaching (or playing around) is pretty slim these days as they are mainly on the hunt for their food sources.
After we finished our whale watching trip, both Keith and I were already getting pretty tired.
Finally a whale tail!
We decided to head down to the waterfront and grab some lunch/dinner at a popular locals place called the Hangar.It’s right on the water where the float planes and other charter boats dock.Since it was before the main dinner rush, they were not completely packed yet and we hopped up to the bar which has an amazing display of various tap handles!!They featured about 20 beers on tap but had the whole window area decorated with additional handles.Having a kegerator at home and collecting tap handles, I was in heaven looking at all the breweries represented!
Everything on their menu looked fabulous and seeing other peoples’ orders, it appeared some things were large portions.One thing to note about food prices in Alaska (at least Juneau anyways) - don’t expect to find seafood cheaper even though it is local.
Beautiful humpback tail as he dives for food
Holy cow!Both Keith and I ordered the Halibut Fish and Chips which was three filets of halibut - I opted for the beer battered one since I assume it is in Alaskan Amber beer and Keith ordered the tempura battered one.And no trip to Alaska would be complete without enjoying a cold Alaskan Amber beer with my fish!Yummy for my tummy! :)
Since it is pretty much light all night, Juneau does a big 4th of July fireworks celebration at .With the fireworks is the apparent crazy partying that follows it.The Hangar was setting up for a live band for the evening - “Lulu and the AquaNets”.
Yeah…interesting name.Prior to seeing the banner for the band, I saw the two cans of Aqua Net on the amplifier and wondered what that was all about! LOL.There was two people setting up and the one lady appeared to be Lulu. I seriously doubt the older gentleman was one of the Aqua Nets but you never know I suppose! LOL.
By this time, we had scarfed down our fish and consumed a few beers and I was thoroughly exhausted.It was like 7pm and we had planned to watch the fireworks at midnight so we opted to go back and relax/nap a little in hopes of getting our second wind for the evening…….