The plan was to visit the fishing village of Pelican, but weather had a different idea. To reach Pelican you need to cross Cross Sound. (On some of the older English maps it is called Croff Sound, but Captain Cook named it for the feast of the Holy Cross.) The weather was such that Captain Eric decided on an alternative. We left Orca Point and rounded the Mansfield Peninsula at the top of Admiralty Island and down Chatham Strait (lots of names left by Cook and Vancouver.) We anchored near Freshwater Bay in calm waters. After Breakfast we headed south to where Tenakee Inlet joins Chatham Strait. There were a LOT of whales feeding. One whale looked like it had a double dorsal fin. According to Captain Eric the fin may have encountered a boat prop splitting the fin.
Right near the beginning of our watch we saw a double breach, two whales in tandem. I missed that with my camera but the memory is still with me. Later I got a nice breach series “on film.”
The whales congregated, blew and made dive after dive, for hour after hour. There is something special about seeing the whales at just a few feet above sea level. You can normally hear their breathing out (followed by characteristic whale breath), but we could also hear the breath intake and some of the squeaks they made as they prepared to launch upward, mouths agape, to fill their accordion jaws with herring while brave seabirds dove into the maw to catch the leftovers. It was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time and one we could stick with rather sticking with a schedule. I wondered if it could get any better. Late in the journey we would find out.
After lunch Captain Eric said we had early permission to enter Bartlett Cove, the park headquarters for Glacier Bay, and we headed there with whales on our port side traveling and feeding at a distance during most of the trip.