On Friday, May 12th I took a tour on board a Kenai Fjords Tours catamaran vessel that was very comfortable. I took the Kenai Fjords National Park Tour which is a 6 hour tour making a 100 mile round trip from Seward, Alaska. We made it out to Holgate Glacier, but along the way we were very fortunate to some close encounters with a pod of Orcas two separate occasions.
There appeared to be 8 or 9 Orcas in this pod. It wasn’t promised or even mentioned that we would see any Orcas or whales.
The weather was perfect, clear, sunny and very calm seas. Captain Steve brought the vessel to a stop as the Orcas were approaching us and kept their course to dive below us! I was able to capture these encounters with digital photos and video. The stability of a catamaran and having calm seas provided an amazing moment to observe these whales!
After departing the glacier and around the cape the captain slowed the vessel with out any immediate announcement. He got on the intercom and said “folks I can’t believe this, but I think we’re with the Orcas again”. He noted he wasn’t sure as there wasn’t any dorsal activity visible, but some splashing and thrashing about. He noted that maybe it could be some Dall’s Porpoises feeding. We all stood watching the stillness of the ocean anticipating something and it was immediately recognizable as Orcas when they surfaced for air.
I quickly raised my camera to capture what I could. Watching the Orcas surface for air they slowly rose up exhaling spraying water and air then reach a single smooth peak they dove again into the ocean to arise again on the other side of the vessel. Captain Steve had noted that they believe they are Northern Resident Killer Whales. What a day on the water!