A lunge feeding Humpback whale and so much more!

IMG_1730IMG_1734IMG_1737 June 20th

Today we were gifted by the weather gods. The zero visibility fog and the light drizzle had dissipated by the time we picked up our last passengers in Alder Bay. From that moment on, the clouds cleared, the sun enveloped us, and the seas remained quietly calm.

Again it was at low tide, and we initially searched for Black Bears, watching keenly along the beaches. Although one was not sighted, numerous Bald Eagles were seen sitting on the shores where they appeared to be much larger than those seen in the trees.

We explored nearby islands and were astounded by the abundance of eagles that had taken up residence on at least three of the islets. We counted over 60 adults and juveniles, some in flight but most were standing like guardians looking over their ocean domain. The sea was so calm it made easy our encounter with surfacing Dall's Porpoises and two Stellar sea lions who foraged in the same vicinity.
After seeing a Humpback whale blow in the distance, we investigated. This foraging whale did the occasional deep dive, bringing its fluke high to the sky. While observing this mighty whale, a radio call from another vessel informed us of the feeding behaviour of another Humpback whale in a different vicinity, and we headed in their direction.
For nearly an hour we watched a single Humpback whale lunge feed and at times linger to trap feed on a ball of schooling fish. At times different whale anatomy came out of the water - first a fluke, then a pectoral fin and finally, most surprisingly the large head with the jaw wide open. We were mesmerised. At one stage we could actually see inside the whale's mouth.  Rhinoceros Auklets waited on the surface alongside the whale, hoping to pick up left-overs floating by.
It was a stunning look into the wilds of nature and how privileged were we to witness to it all!