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Surface Whales

Whales surfacing in Auke Bay, near Juneau Alaska, after bubble net feeding.

Usually humpback whales feed alone.  Occasionally, several whales organize "fishing parties" where  whales surround a school of small fish with bubbles and surface together with mouths open swallowing huge number of the smaller fish. This type of feeding behavior is known as bubble net feeding and is relatively rare.  While whale watching in Auke Bay, near Juneau Alaska, we found a dozen humpback whales bubble net feeding.  It is quite an extraordinary sight.  First, just seeing twelve whales next to each other is remarkable.  Seeing them dive together, hearing them communicate via the boats sonar and on their own signal surface in unison is memorable.  When they do surface the whales cause quite a commotion- splashing water, blow from the whales and lots of birds frantically scavenging.  It is a difficult photo to capture.  Somehow the elements came together is this image- the majestic mountain background the dominant whale with its mouth open, the birds randomly flying around the whales and the overcast sun reflecting off the water- to give you a feel for the excitement of the moment.

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