I think we saw at least half a dozen humpbacks on that trip, including one who was sleeping at the surface of the water. The captain killed the engine and we just hung out there for awhile watching the whale while it rested.
The company has been running these tours for at least a dozen years so they know the area well. The captain cruised to a popular haul-out spot for Steller sea lions. That big guy in the middle is the beachmaster -- the boss of this herd. I bet he weighs at least 1500 pounds.
One of the crew members told me that they hadn't seen Orcas in the area, that it was a little early in the season for this species. I guess the killer whales didn't get that memo. When we were close to the time that we needed to head back to the dock, the captain thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye. I turned my head and spotted the distinctive tall dorsal fin of an adult Orca. There were three small groups around the boat, including some youngsters. Absolutely gorgeous.
After a few minutes of observation, we really needed to head back, so we said goodbye, leaving wildlife and beautiful scenery in our wake. Please note the blue sky. These are rare in Juneau. Apparently it rains 300 or so days a year, so we were lucky.
After rejoining our bus driver/tour guide, we traveled to Mendenhall Glacier. We learned that glacier ice appears blue because the blue in the light spectrum is reflected back to us from the deep, compact ice.
Stay tuned for the next post on our visit to Skagway.