Holland America Amsterdam – Juneau Alaska Chapter 9

So we had booked a tour through HAL, it was called “Whales & Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari” cost $209 per person. What interested me about this tour was that it was a small group max 14 guaranteed, and that it had a professional photographer as a tour guide. Granted I did not exactly have $209 to spend on a tour, but my husband offered to pay for my share as my Bday gift =). That said, tours in Alaska are expensive, but I could not imagine going to Alaska and not doing something amazing like we did that day. My best advice is to look at your priorities, and plan accordingly. I knew what I really wanted to see, and I allocated the most money to that. Whales were a must for us! Thus, this was our most expensive shore excursion.

We had a little hiccup that day, we ended up having two key cards with my name when getting off the ship, and we were running because they would not let us get off the ship. It was chaotic, I highly suggest everyone checks their cards ahead of time. I think it had to do with mom losing her card several times, and when it got replaced they gave her one with my name. Anyway, we got it fixed and ran out, then we could not find the tour, lol, I was freaking out!!!

Eventually, we found it and we were on our way =)

Our tour guide was an awesome fellow from the lower 48, can’t exactly recall from where, Boston maybe? But he had a very successful photography business, but he was overworked and he just decided to be happy and do what he enjoyed. And that was nature photography. Sounds like thousands of stories, the only difference is that he had the balls to make the move and abandon all the $$$, family and security of a business for what truly made him happy.

Anyway, It was 11 of us on the tour. We boarded a nice bus down to a bay to board a boat. The bus ride was nice, our guide gave us some interesting facts about Juneau. While waiting for the boat, we saw a couple of bold eagles, and got a chance to go the bathroom.

They were just chilling there. (More on Raptors later on)

Our captain was Sandi, the boat could easily fit 40 people in it, however it was only 11 of us. It was awesome!!! The reason to pay more for privacy.

The initial boat ride was about 20 minutes, before we stopped around other boats. My best guess is that the whale had just gone down, and they were waiting for her to surface. We waited there for a little while.

Look at the amount of people on that boat. Ours, was about 6 times that size with about the same amount of people.

And then this happened.

She was right in front of our eyes!

After sometime there, the guide said she was most likely sleeping. She would float around breathing, none the less it was the most incredible experience ever! She was so close to us!

We then moved to another location, about 5 minutes aways and then this guy showed up! He was much more active.

She was just bouncing around, and showing us her hump =)

You can see her nostrils, is that what they are called? I never asked. Pretty cool how there are two of them.

Crap, I forgot to take a picture of their teeth. They had one on our boat, and I was poking mom with them. It was quite funny, lol, well not for mom. But everyone on the boat was laughing at it. Anyway, they look like a brush, but they were huge.

We tend to forget how humongous these creatures are.

And down she goes!!!

Amazing, just amazing!

By the way they all have unique tail patterns, like finger prints in humans.

Enjoy your dive girl, go get some fish =)

Then we waited for her to resurface. There were about 3 other boats with us there. Apparently she was a common whale, and the locals really like her, not sure what it was about her. I think she was playful.

Glaciers in the background

This tour looked pretty private as well. The lady on top seemed to be guiding the captain. Looks like she is wearing heels, lol, daring! And I will say one thing, since it was a smaller vessel, they got closer to the whale. Something to consider I guess. Our captain seemed to play on the safe side (its an old company), maybe more experience with litigations, lol. Who knows, just saying. So um, yeah. Anyway.

All the boats just waiting around.

Then out of nowhere, we heard her breath!!!

And then we saw her!

It was just an amazing experience, she actually surfaced really close to our vessel!

And just relaxed there for a little while

I bet she was tired after her deep dive

She played around us, just chilling for a few minutes

She started approaching out boat.

Other boats closing into action.

One last breath.

Arch the hump.

And there she goes!!!!!!! GOOOOO!!!!!! DIVE DEEP GIRL!

Words cannot describe how amazing it feels to see them dive!!!

The memories! Just incredible!

TAIL!!!

OMG, have I said why they dive? It is hard to keep track of everything I type. So they dive for food, that is why that they use extra energy to get there. Around this waters they dive for fish.

Stunning! Simply amazing!

After we saw her dive deep. Our captain move us to another location in search for more wild life, and our captain hit the mother load!!!! LoL =) SEA LIONS EVER WHERE!!!

They were super loud!!!!

And very active.

It was a small island, maybe a couple hundredth feet long?

And they where all concentrated on one end of the island.

Look at them, so cute!

I guess there is no need for personal space here, lol.

There were a few eagles there.

After a few minutes there were stared heading back. On the way back we saw more glaciers

They also stopped us by a cool rock formation that sometimes has harbor seals, and eagles. But in our case there were none, just a lone seagull.

 

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