Whale Watching in Alaska
Whale watching is fast becoming one of the most popular activities in Alaska. Most of us have seen whales on TV, but it is not until you get up close to one of these huge creatures in their natural habitat that you can truly appreciate their size and remarkable grace.
To see whales visit Alaska between late May - early September for Humpback and Minke Whales, Orcas, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Dall's and Harbour Porpoises. June - early July is best for bubble-netting Humpbacks. August is the prime month for weather, seas, and whales. Whales can be seen multi-day cruises on small and large cruise ships, however, the best opportunities are on day trips from whale-watching boats that are available from Gustavus, Pt Adolphus, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, Juneau, Petersburg, Elfin Cove, Wrangell Island, Sitka.
Whales can be witnessed from all of the waters in Alaska, but the real whale congregating spot is Southeast Alaska where as many as 5,000 humpback whales (50% - 60% of the world’s humpback population) migrate each summer. They come to Alaska to feed, to meet other whales, and mate. The 30 to 40 ton humpback whales start arriving in Alaskan waters in April and are seen until the first part of October.
Above water whale antics include:
Spy hops, breaches, fluking, tail slaps and pec slaps.
Frederick Sound, south of Admiralty Island and just a few hours from Juneau and Petersburg is humpback whale heaven. Humpback whales congregate here to feed on massive schools of fish and krill. With some luck, you may see these endangered giants as they use bubble nets to execute their cooperative feeding attacks.
The Best Whale Watching Locations
Prince William Sound and Kenai Fjords National Park also offer prime whale watching opportunities and are accessible by small whale watching boats.
Scan the horizon watching for a cloud
of "smoke" that rises 10-20 feet above the the ocean. Be
patent and watch the general area of the "smoke" for a few
minutes. Whales need to breath every seven to fifteen
minutes and the "smoke" is water vapor exhaled from their blow
How do you spot a whale?