Welcome back to Herm’s whale watching Hoonah suggestions. As you can see I really try to give the humpback whales lot of room. The humpbacks need an estimated one ton of food per day and gathering that up feed can be real work. I observe individual whales and try to see what and where they are feeding on. Most of the time they work the coastline and I can only assume driftnet the feed with their mouths roughly parallel to the outline of beach. There are lots of indicators that small fish is in the area, one obvious sign is small flashes of silver. I try to explain this by offering an example of skipping quarters into the ocean. The coins will flip and flash that bit of silver.
When I manuever the boat for above instance of humpbacks working the coastline. I slow the boat and stay my 100 yards or more away. The trick I mentioned in my earlier post is patience. Good whale watching rule, patience! It’s better to wait and go slow, rather than racing in one direction and disturbing the pattern. You end up heading on way while the humpack swims the other way to get away from you. Here is a good link to read about how noise affects the wildlife.
The whale watching for Hoonah or Icy Strait is well known for great viewing and most companies, guarenteed sightings. The other marine mammals are a side note. It’s a shame that sea lions, seals, dall porpiose, and killer whales don’t get the same prestige. Let’s not forget the balls of herring, various sea birds, salmon jumping, and the eagles.
Lots to see when you look and pay attention. Back to the patience of viewing wildlife.
The great thing about viewing the wildlife is the curiosity of the predators and abadunce of feed. Most whale watching or wildlife viewed around Hoonah are busy fishing and feeding. They don’t really care what you are doing as long as you are quiet and don’t disturb. Yelling, blowing kisses, or flashes don’t help. Though I have on several occasions had 120 or so people barking at killer whales to draw them in. The Dall porpiose like to swim by and take a look or surf the waves of the boat. The sea lions and seals have cruised right up to boat, just to take a look see. Most of the time if I just putt around or let the current take me. Good things happen and memeories are made. If you have sport shooting mode on your camera than you might just get some great photos to share your experience.