While glaciers may be the focus of Glacier Bay National Park, wildlife is abundant and exciting to watch. Fortunately, most of the wildlife became visible after the glaciers were well in the rear view mirror so a decision on what to watch was not required. For some time whales were surfacing with some regularity with a spout over here or the back of a humpback off in the distance. A highlight was when you would see a tail reach out of the water. After a little while of whale watching we observed several spouts together indicating a number of whales close together which was abnormal with every other whale we had seen up to this point.
Zeroing in on this group with binoculars confirmed a group of whales until one of them came out of the water further. The distinctive white oval on the nose of this whale told of a pod of orcas coming our way. I had really hoped to see killer whales while exploring Alaska and couldn’t believe this was what I was looking at. In the picture above, several dorsal fins of these orcas are seen swimming together. Very exciting! Fortunately there were two more pods of orcas which could be seen from the cruise ship during the short time near Alaska. Unfortunately there where no real great pictures of these to show here. Especially since one of the killer whales came up out of the water creating a spectacular sight. It will have to live as a memory.
Another creature that became plentiful near the entrance to Glacier Bay were sea otters. They almost look as though they are just out for a casual swim enjoying the day. Maybe they were. Fun to watch as they troll along in the water not really paying attention to this huge cruise ship passing by. Probably have seen plenty of these ships throughout the summer as this was the last week in August.
Our most impressive memory from the wildlife in Glacier Bay National Park was seeing a humpback whale breach. I understand that this photo below is not all that spectacular but seeing in unfold with your own eyes is. Keep in mind that this photo was taken about 13 stories up using a wide view since you never know where something will happen. While cruising along in Glacier Bay we decided to set up a GoPro using the time-lapse function which allowed us to catch this event. Some of that time-lapse follows below.