A birdwatching cruise to Berners Bay with the Juneau Audubon Society this weekend turned into a whale spotting cruise instead, with 8-10 sightings of humpback whales over the 4-hour trip. We didn't see any breaching (lunging out of the water); mostly, they were just showing off their tails.
There was also a lot of spouting going on, the result of a stream of warm air being forced out of the whale's lung.
Many of the whales that inhabit this area are regulars, migrating each year between Alaska and Hawaii. They are recognizable by their tails, with nicknames like Hot Lips, Bubbles, and Chiquita. The boat we were on had a poster of over a hundred distinct whale tails.
The cruise was spectacular - great weather, gorgeous snow-capped mountains, calm waters.
Juneau to Berners Bay, Alaska