Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 5 afternoon, Juneau

We had been looking forward to our afternoon in Juneau for weeks. Arni, John's dad, had a former student who lived in Juneau. She and her husband owned a fishing boat, and gave fishing and whale watching tours during the summer months. They agreed to take us out for a fraction of the normal cost, and once we realized it would be sunny and warm that day...well, we knew we were in for a treat!

The boat was called "Fissues" and it didn't take us long once we were on board to spot whales. Picture 2 and 3 below clearly show the mama and baby whale we came across first. We learned that whales will surface three times (generally) where they arch their backs and you can see their fins. Once they take their third breath, then you will see them dive down deep. Once you see their tails come up you know it will be 5 minutes or so before you see them again, and by then they could be far away from you.

After we watched mama and baby into their deep dive, we turned around and headed for the good salmon fishing spots. But not before seeing another whale, even closer to our boat! He gave us a good show until he deep dove and was long gone!

So we settled in for fishing. It was so relaxing to just bob along the open water, it was about 60 degrees, sunny, and the air was so fresh it was intoxicating. Not long and Nina (John's mom) got a bite on her line! We reeled it in, and it was a flounder (picture #8). Since we weren't looking for flounder, and Nina felt pretty bad for disturbing it and piercing it's lip, we sent him back home. Hopefully he learned his lesson.

It was getting close to time to pack up, and we hadn't caught anything else. We noticed around 5 bald eagles in the trees around us, and had been watching their show for a while. So we tossed our extra bait, one by one into the water. WHOA! Almost immediately, the Eagles began sweeping in and picking the fish up out of the water. I mean almost immediately. Before we knew it, we had 9 Bald Eagles circling our boat above our heads. They would glide down so easily and grab the bait...close enough to touch (but we knew better). At one point, we threw a piece of bait out and an Eagle sailed in and grabbed the fish in mid-air, before it ever hit the water. Of course, no one got pictures so you'll just have to take my word for it!

As we were getting ready to head back in, we finally got another bite on Matt's line. He reeled in a gigantic (in my book) Wild Kind Salmon. It weighed 25 pounds, and we had no choice but to get him ready for dinner. The hook had caught him in an artery, so he wasn't going to make it...which was fine with Matt who had the fish filleted and sent back home for later consumption.

Of course that morning after Endicott Arm I realized my camera battery was doomed. Luckily Matt and Robin had two camera and they let us borrow their little point-and-shoot. So, most of these pics (especially whales and eagles) are Matt's. Some are from the disposable camera I purchased (high tech!). Luckily the next day, we were back to digital but I will never, ever forget our battery charger again!

Did I mention Day 5 (Juneau) was my favorite day?!


Pam said...

So, which place did you like visiting best... Hawaii or Alaska???

Jessica said...

Well, gosh, everyone's asking me that! It's hard to even compare because the experiences were so different, climates so different. I loved each one equally, for different reasons. I'd go back to either one.

If I had to choose one to go back to first, it would probably be Hawaii. Thought the temp in Alaska was much better!

John would choose Alaska in a heartbeat, but he's seriously not a beach person...

Dana said...

Well, I for one am getting pretty sick of all this fabulous vacation talk. I'm really going to be sticking it to you in a couple of weeks when I start blogging about SeaWorld. You just get ready!