Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sept. 2, 2008: Humpbacks, Stellar Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, Puffins, Mountain Goats

We started the day observing a bald eagle sitting on a stump just the other side of the road from our hotel. Over an hour later, when we had our cameras with us, he was still there, so we got some decent shots. Later we saw several more from the water, but we were nowhere near as close.
Today was our last chance to do a marine wildlife tour in Seward, so we did so, in spite of the weather (rainy and windy). Turned out that we ended up with "the best humpback sighting of the season," according to the crew on our tour boat. The final encounter was very close to the boat, as the larger of the two whales we were following sounded right next to us. She was so close that I could not get the whole scene with my telephoto zoomed in as it was (see close up photo of humpback's humped back)! We also saw a good assortment of other wildlife during the five hour trip, but mostly from inside the cabin. During the time the whales were nearby, the water was quite rough, it was raining, and the wind was blowing close to 50 mph. Outdoor photography would have required an underwater camera and safety straps! Anyway, I am certainly not complaining. In addition to the whales, we saw a large group of huge stellar sea lions resting on an improbable rocky hill protruding from the ocean, eagles (as mentioned above), many puffin, and a couple of mountain goats way up a sheer cliff.

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