Whales Galore

Two groups of humpback whales were bubblenet feeding behind Douglas Island. This is a technique used by a group of whales where they blow a tornado of bubbles around a school of herring, forming a net of sorts. Then the group of whales comes up from below herring with their mouths open.  The group of whales break the surface with mouths open and it’s a sight to see.  Sometimes the gulls shadowing the group starts to dive to where the whales come up and you are ready when the whales break the surface.  Other times, the birds don’t see the whales coming up, and they may come up where you don’t expect them.  We also put a hydrophone – a microphone that can go into the water – overboard.  Just before the whales reach the surface, there is an eerie screeching sound that sounds like the whales will surface within arms reach, but when they do surface, it might be a quarter mile away – sound really travels in water.
 
Also saw one whale “lunge” feeding north of town near the beach where the road is close to the shore.  People were watching from their cars, too.  A single whale was coming up under schools of herring and breaking the surface with its mouth wide open.  Just before it broke the surface, fish were flying out of the water like the sea surface was coming to a boil. 

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801
http://www.goodsalmon.com/