Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kenai Fjords National Park: The Wildlife

I made this quick photo after we departed our tour.  The boat was comfortable with large windows on the upper and lower decks with cushioned booth seating for the lunch and snacks they served.

Our 8:30am departure time meant low clouds and fog..again.  Here are some of the interesting landforms we observed while we traveled through Resurrection Bay and the Gulf of Alaska towards the Northwestern Glacier.

Yes, that red dot is someone in a sea kayak.

This is an example of just how close some of the nature tour boats can get to the wildlife.  That's a North Pacific Humpback Whale's back and a "blow".

Our tour boat captain expressed his delight in seeing so many different types of wildlife on this particular day.  We were excited too!  Most of my photographs were taken with my telephoto lens and then I cropped them down a bit to get a closer view of the detail. 

 The boat captain called this pod of orcas "resident", they eat mostly fish and sometimes squid.  We were told they are very social and swim a little closer to the tour boats.  This particular group swam right under our boat.
The next 3 photos I lifted from my video footage.  I just happened to be running the video setting on my camera when they swam right towards me!

This next particular pod of orca whales are known as the "Kodiak Killers".  These orcas are called "transient", eating mostly seals, sea lions dolphins and other whales.  They employ more coordinated tactics to hunt their prey.

We saw 2 different colonies of sea lions.  Zooming in, I could see some arguing and bickering between them for position.

This is the Black Oystercatcher. Its long bill is used to pry meat out of shellfish.  This bird had its baby chick out for a stroll.

The puffins were my favorite!  These are Horned Puffins, they nest in colonies in rock crevices and cliffs.
These are Tufted Puffins.  They nest in burrows in the cliff faces.
The Tufted Puffin, the largest of the species, can dive up to 250 feet under water for its food.

We saw several North Pacific Humpback Whales. Below is a photo of a fluke dive, when the tail goes up like this, it's propelling itself straight down.

We saw many whales where a portion of the body broke the water's surface.

We also saw several "blows". When a whale is exhaling or inhaling before a dive it will blow water from its lungs.

While we were out sight-seeing, the fishermen were busy catching fish.
A scene from the Seward small boat harbor.

This was a long tour, taking about 9 hours, traveling about 120 miles total. However, the boat was comfortable with provided snacks and a simple meal.  We had our own snacks too and we had dressed for the weather.  It was one of many highlights of our memorable time in Alaska.

More Later.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank You Gail for your kind comments, I appreciate it.

  2. Excellent ... ours was a great scenery tour with calving glaciers, but few in the way of wildlife. But then we were there at the end of the season. Just have to go back again.