Which are the best ports for whale watching tours? I've read about Captain Larry in Juneau, but where else? Icy Strait Point? One guidebook I've looked at mentions Victoria/Vancouver as being great for seeing orcas (our cruise stops at those posts also). What have been people's experiences with whale watching? Thanks for any info.
Our experience was that whales - at least humpbacks - were all over the place in southeast Alaska. Juneau would be an excellent port to go whalewatching - probably the best out of the major ports. Not familiar with Icy Strait Point as the facilities there were built after we were there (it's very new), but Icy Strait itself is good for wildlife.
This won’t answer your question, but we were at Icy Straight Point last year. We were delighted when walking along the stone beach we spotted a pod breaching several times.
On our tender back to the ship, The whales decided to start breaching right near us. In the interest of safety, the launch crew decided to stop, and we experienced a true show that would be hard to match on any excursion.
One of those “experiences of a lifetime”. The moral is, enjoy your trip, and there are always unexpected events, sometimes great ones.
It is really quite amazing. The reason for the breaching was they were fishing. One or two of them swim in a circle and round up the fish. Then the others come from beneath and shoot through the surface, eating their meal. It is awesome the power they have. Imagine a dolphin jumping out of the water, but being larger than several large elephants. Just amazing!!!
I am not trying to put you down or start an arguement, however a whale breaching is a whale that is leaping out of the water. It is truly not known why a whale does a breach, but there are several theories.
When humpbacks are in a pod and one starts to circle food and the others come up through the middle to feed this is called bubblenet feeding. They are two totally different things.
Humpbacks do not normally go in pods unless they are feeding. Normally humpacks stay by themselves unless they have a baby calve with them or they are mating. Mating is normally done in warmer waters and feeding is done in the colder waters such as Alaska. You can see humpacks breach regardless of where they are you will only see them bubblenet feed in colder waters.
Again I mean no disrespect to your post I just wanted to make it clear on the difference between breaching and bubblenet feeding.
I did a lot of research on this because we had a not so good experience in the Caribbean and were reluctant to do another whale watching cruise. After looking at scientific websites about whales, reading what others had experienced, and reading reviews of different tour companies I came to the conclusion the the best port is Juneau, the best time is in the morning, and a highly recommended tour company is Harv & Marv (http://alaskawhalewatch.com/).
We went that route because a small boat (max 6 occupants) allows for a more tailored trip, better service, and more opportunities to see whales.
Living in Victoria and Vancouver, I can tell you that whales run up and down the large strait all the way to Alaska, so any port is good. In Victoria...Prince of Whales tour guarantee sightings because they keep in contact with Marine Stations. And really, you will see a few along the way without even going on a tour. Just relax, go with the flow, and have fun!!
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