Sunday, August 27, 2017
For some reason pacific white sided dolphins have always been one of my favorites. Their beautiful markings and contrasting coloration make them stand above other dolphins. Their tall falcated dorsal fin with its telltale patch of off white is like a beacon to identify them with. But despite their outside beauty trying to steal the show, it is quite often their acrobatic ability and fun loving nature that quickly wins over the crowd. This pod was no exception.
To start out with the pod was huge. They had found an even bigger school of bait fish that was congregating where two currents met, creating ripples on the surface of the otherwise smooth water. Some took minutes out of their busy eating schedule to come bow ride our boat, periodically turning in the water to look up at all of us. Others showed off by racing along side the boat and catching fish at the same time. Another performed a head over tails front flip while bowriding which I had never witnessed before.
The pod was probably 200 dolphins strong. It coincided with the first good weather we have seen yet this trip. The passengers seemed born again with revitalized energy and excitement. We have had a lot of good encounters this season. I didn't expect B.C. to provide another top pick but here you go, check out this pictures and see for yourself.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
|A little too close|
|Ice berg sculptures|
|My intrepid group of explorers|
|'Looking thru the ice'|
|Never one to miss an ice encounter|
You can check out some of my high resolution ice garden and glacier pictures on my photo website here: www.daimartamarack.com
Friday, August 18, 2017
|Like a painting|
|Climbing the old salmon ladder|
|Mom and cubs|
|Eyes on me|
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
|Capable teeth of a Steller's Sea Lion|
Often when we see Steller's Sea Lions they are acting as the top dog. However, there is always something bigger out there...as the old saying goes. And we found that something today. I could see it from far off, a large black fin cutting through the surface. This could mean only one thing...orca!
Finally we confirmed that there was a sea lion in the vicinity when it darted right under our ship. The orca didn't seem to mind or want to follow it. They were getting very playful by grouping up together, spyhopping, and even breaching a few times.
|Playful Orca near the boat|
The orca continued to play not too far away from the boat before slowly moving off the way they had originally been swimming. That is when one of my coworkers rushed up to the bow saying that the sea lion was all the way up on our swim step poking its head through the back gate.
|Guests and crew with the sea lion|
|Sea Lion on the back deck|
My best theory was the orca were either playing with the sea lion, holding it under water, which would explain the weird splashing and the heavy breathing of the animal. But another theory would be that there were two sea lions. I can't imagine the orca would have let this one get away that easily if it was the only one.
Friday, August 11, 2017
|Discoveries along the way|
|Through a patch of devils club|
One big aspect of bushwhacking or hiking in Alaska is that you are walking through bear country. Luckily humans are not on the normal menu so it's not like bears are stalking you as you walk. If anything they want to get out of your path or just hunker down and hide until you are gone. I make plenty of noise so as not to startle any bears, and to make sure that moms with cubs are able to regroup as I do not want to come between them.
|Black Bear stand off|
|Racing Across the River|
|Walking away from the bears|
Thursday, August 10, 2017
In my Alaska experience I've only ever seen the Aurora Borealis in late April or September. Those months are the very beginning and the very ending of our Alaska cruising season. My boat this year is running British Columbia trips in those months and Alaska only from late May to late August. So I had accepted the fact that I wouldn't see the northern lights this year. But here you go, northern lights in early August!
This was at 12:30 in the morning when the sky is at its darkest. During the peak of the summer season it is still too light to see the northern lights even at this hour. But each day gets a little shorter so if everything works out...a solar storm, no clouds, a dark night....and Aurora that reaches this far south...then the impossible suddenly become possible. Thankfully we have someone up 24hrs a day on the boat to keep everyone safe...and to make sure we don't miss anything like this!
Check out all my other encounters with the famous Aurora Borealis, aka. Northern Lights, on my past Alaska trips.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
|Breaching whale in sunset colors|
It has been unusually sunny and clear these last few days and we have been lucky with some pretty amazing sunsets. This night combined breaching whales with that magical sunset hour light. Usually once a season I get a whale here in Alaska that breaches over and over and over. This was that whale. All around the boat it breached as it made its way off into the golden setting sun.