Yesterday morning I woke to sunny skies despite predictions from the night before. I could see whales spouting in Eastern Channel. This looked like a good day for an Allen Marine wildlife cruise. Although the weather was fine I checked my weather app and found a weather advisory predicting unusually heavy rain and two storm fronts bearing down on Northern Southeast Alaska. I looked at the radar and decided that, although it was sunny and warm I would take my Gor Tex. It was a good decision. We started out in shirt sleeves enjoying the sun and watched as the front moved in. The sun breaking through dramatic clouds creating shadows and sparkles on the surging sea.
We saw our first sea lion while still inside the breakwater. The whales were not much further out. The first pod was in sight of my house. There was a mother humpback whale feeding with her calf. We moved further along and found another pod. There where whales all around us. The naturalist was calling “12 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 8:30, 3 o’clock, dead astern.” We were surrounded.
As the seas built the captain decided to duck behind the shelter of islands and head toward Redoubt Bay We passed some rocks where we saw harbor seals and, on the way out, sea otters in a kelp bed. One customer was mad because we didn’t go to St. Lazaria. The naturalist tried to explain high seas and the coming storm. The visitor was having none of this. She thought we should go. This is the type of visitor who also hikes to the “Magic Bus” in Denali Park and either gets killed or risks the lives of others trying to rescue him. People come to Alaska and just do not understand the power of nature. I posted a picture on facebook last week that said “Get Lost in Nature and You will find yourself quite possibly die.” And possibly take others with you.
Everyone else was very happy. With several pods of whales, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles who wouldn’t be happy? Well at least one woman. On the way back, as we crossed open water with the rain coming in and building swells we ran into another pods of whales. We, of course, stopped for a while, rocked in the waves, and took some final pictures. We arrived at the harbor a few minutes late. A sea lion greeted our return.
It’s Sunday now and the storm has well and truly come in. I am watching the rain on the sea and squalls making moving patterns on the surface.