Alaska is a great place to catch a glimpse of humpback whales in the summer months. Be sure to put whale watching in Juneau on your summer to do list and experience some unforgettable wildlife viewing! Looking for Juneau excursions for your Alaskan Cruise? Definitely consider whale watching in Juneau for an unforgettable experience!
Small Boat Whale Watching in Juneau
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!
Whale Watching in Juneau
It wasn’t long before we came upon a pod of humpbacks.
Our experience whale watching in Juneau could not have been more perfect…
…the sun was shining…
…the whales were breaching (Photo Credit: Mike & Jessica Epp, fellow passengers on our whale watching in Juneau excursion)…
…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 whale watching in Juneau 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 whale watching in Juneau! For a look at our entire day in Juneau, including our visit to Mendenhall Glacier, check out the video below!
Check out a quick video of our whale watching in Juneau adventure below!