I really believe that you can never get tired- or bored- of watching whales. Anywhere. I see humpback whales often in winter when I surf in Puerto Vallarta, I looked for them in Taiwan and I saw orcas last year in Brtish Columbia- what a show! Yet as I learned I would have the opportunity of seeing whales again in Alaska there was no way I was going to say no.
It turns out that during the appropriate season it is very easy to spot and see whales in Juneau. As the waters in this area are protected by surrounding islands, the sea seldom gets too rough and whales can graciously swim around doing their business, which makes it very easy for us humans to speed over to them on a boat and observe them for a while.
Our tour conveniently started mid afternoon, and by 3:30 pm we were at the dock where we would hop on what looked like an very old boat- yet was surprisingly fast. It was a double hull (with large windows and a front and back outer deck for better views) which made it more stable, and at the same time allowed for higher cruising speeds without as much bump and jump as you’d get with a single hull boat. In any case, just 20 minutes after sailing at full speed we spotted the first humpback whale. It was slowly swimming with a calf, yet despite us being so close it didn’t seem to care too much and simply continued to swim. So we left and looked for more, expecting to see some action.
It didn’t take long. The captain and aide (who kept making everyone laugh by the way) quickly spotted another whale and this time we did get to see a full on show of a few whales breaching, much to our excitement. We were not very close, but in any case were able to take great pictures and enjoy the show.
About two hours later it was time to head back. The boat sped back to the dock (saw another whale on the way as well as some sea lions soaking up some sun) and we hopped off, happy with the tour, the mood, and the pictures we had just taken on a weekday morning. Interestingly, these same whales migrate to Hawaii, Los Cabos or Puerto Vallarta in winter. Had I perhaps already seen these exact same whales more than 3000 km away a year before?
Yet we were not done for the day. Next stop was a salmon bake, and as a big salmon fan that I am I was ready to eat like there was no tomorrow.
How about an all-you-can-eat salmon bake to follow?
Once we got off the boat though things did not go as planned, as somehow we got on the wrong van and made our way back to Juneau, instead of heading straight to the bake. We ran in circles hoping to find someone who’d help us find the correct yellow bus that would take us to my beloved salmon that were baking on a grill, and eventually a friendly driver who happened to be driving yellow van was kind enough to take us (turned out he did work for the same company, but was off on that day).
By the time we got there almost everyone was gone, but fortunately the salmon were still waiting for us: fresh, carefully baked, beautiful. Hallelujah! There was a salad bar too, beans, rice and a specially made sugary gravy, dessert, coffee, water and lemonade. Absolutely delightful.
It’s a great tour. As mentioned before nobody ever gets tired of seeing whales, and if it’s your fist time you’re going to have a blast. The captain and the crew are friendly and funny, the boat suits its purpose without it being luxurious, and following the whale watching tour with a salmon bake such as this one is a great way of wrapping up a day of travel; the food is really good and there’s plenty of it. At 169 USD/ person the price is very fair, and seeing a whale is guaranteed- if you don’t Alaska Travel Adventures will reimburse you 100 USD. How’s that?
I was a guest of Alaska Travel Adventures, however all the pictures and opinions in this post remain entirely my own.
Are you a whale fan? Would you like to see whales sometime in your life? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below and this post too if you liked the pics!