Juneau, Alaska is a great place to go whale watching during the summer months if you are hoping to catch a glimpse of humpback whales.
We recommend booking with a company like Harv and Marv’s who offer smaller boats, giving everyone on board a comfortable amount of space to move around.
Our tour departed from Auke Bay, about a 20 minute ride from the cruise terminal.
Before we even left the harbor, we were already spotting some local wildlife!
It wasn’t long before we came upon a pod of humpbacks.
Our experience in Juneau could not have been more perfect…
…the sun was shining…
…the whales were breaching (Photo Credit: Mike & Jessica Epp)…
…and we got to experience bubble-net feeding, a synchronized ritual where a pod of whales work together for optimized feeding. This technique is unique to whales in Southeast Alaska.
One whale will dive down and release a ring of bubbles from its blowhole beneath a school of herring. As the bubbles rise to the surface, this creates a barrier, trapping the school of fish. Another whale in the group will sing, an additional technique used to frighten the fish into a tighter clump within the bubble net.
The whales then orient themselves beneath the clump of fish and lunge toward the surface, mouths fully open, to capture as much herring as they can!
It’s such a surreal visual spectacle! It all happens so fast and you never know where they’re going to pop up!
Throughout our tour, we followed this particular pod of whales as they played, fed, and swam around the bay. We saw more tail flukes than we could count!
Whales show their tails as they take a deep breath, arch their back (the trademark technique giving them their name- humpback), and make their terminal dive, heading beneath the surface for anywhere from 10-15 minutes.
On our way back to Auke Bay Harbor, we came across other local marine wildlife!
It truly was a picture-perfect day in Juneau!
Check out a quick video of our whale watching adventure below!