Juneau Whale Watching

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Juneau Whale Watching

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Juneau Whale watching trip - whale fluke!

Juneau Whale watching trip – whale fluke!The Juneau whale watching excursion one of the best moments of our Alaska family vacation.  We had heard that you are likely to see whales from the cruise ship and we were going to skip this excursion, but I’m so glad that we went ahead and did it!  The whales that you see on this excursion are up close and personal.  The whales that you see from the deck of the cruise ship are far off and in the distance.

During our excursion, we took a beautiful boat ride and saw bald eagles, seals, snow-capped mountains, and glaciers.  And while the whales were definitely the highlight…I probably took just as many pictures of the other wildlife and all of the amazing scenery!

The boat that we were on was very comfortable.  It had a snack bar with coffee, soda, water, chips, and candy.  It also had clean bathrooms.  You could choose to sit in the heated cabin on the cushion benches, or venture up to the upper deck for unfettered views and crisp air (I did a little of both).  They also provided guide books and binoculars which was really nice.

The humpback whales that we saw were immense.  They adult whales were approximately 50 feet long and can weigh upwards of 40 tons!  When they would surface, the excitement level on the boat would soar!  Seeing the fluke (when tale goes vertical and forms a ‘Y’) would get everyone cheering.  The captain indicated that the fluke was the sign of the whale diving for their next hunt for fish.

Seeing and hearing the water spout was also exciting, whether spotted in the binoculars or seeing right of the side of the boat.  When they were close – you’d get the mist and smell their bad fish breath, too (yuck!).

Juneau - Whale watching trip - whale spout!
Juneau – Whale watching trip – whale spout!
Juneau Whale watching trip - great scenery!
Juneau Whale watching trip – great scenery!

During the entire boat ride, we had a narrated tour of what we were observing along the way, including wild life, glaciers, light houses, and stories about the fisheries.

All of the Juneau whale watching tours have to abide by a time limit within close proximity to whale pods, as we were.  So after about 30-40 minutes, we departed the high whale activity and took a nice ride through the bay where we saw seals and bald eagles right off the side of the boat.  We saw Mendenhall glacier from a distance and Point Retreat Lighthouse.

Juneau Whale watching trip - Bald Eagles
Juneau Whale watching trip – Bald Eagles
Juneau Whale watching trip - seals
Juneau Whale watching trip – seals
Juneau Whale watching trip - seals
Juneau Whale watching trip – seals
Juneau Whale watching trip - Point Retreat Lighthouse
Juneau Whale watching trip – Point Retreat Lighthouse

I would highly recommend this excursion for anyone visiting Juneau or taking a cruise that stops in this port.  We were on the Star Princess and booked this trip through the cruise line for our family.  We could not have been more pleased!

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