Signs of Spring: Bubble Net Feeding
With seemingly endless sunshine and reports of schools of herring in the waters surrounding Sitka, we were sitting on the edges of our seats eagerly waiting for the humpback whales to begin their impressive coordinated feeding behavior. In the past week, our clients and us have been fortunate to see and photograph some stunning shows, most consisting of 30-60 consecutive bubble net feeding behaviors!
Our first show happened just south of Sitka at the mouth of Deep Inlet. We spent 8 hours watching, listening to, and taking photographs of a group of 6-8 whales bubble net feed over 50 times. Once as we were drifting not under power, the group lunged so close, Lione got photographs of the inside of their mouths. You can see the detail of their tongues baleen plates, which they use to filter out water but keep the food in! And a lucky little herring that got away (this time).
We have enjoyed having a group of avid photographers aboard for 5 days this week. We traveled further south this time, through Dorthy Narrows into Windy Passage and West Crawfish Inlet, finding an even larger group of bubble net feeding whales. They have put on a beautiful display in the evening sun, and we counted them bubble netting 36 times today, with even more close encounters, tail lobbing, and a breach!
After an amazing day we didn't think could get any better, we were blessed with this brilliant orange sunset on our way back to Sitka. What a week it has been, and we are excited for more!