Sunday, August 4, 2013

Alaska 2013, Day 55, Juneau Day 3

 Friday July 26, 2013

Mendenhall Glacier

We drove up to Mendenhall Glacier this morning.  I hadn't planned on going but Cheryl wanted to go and the fly shop said the sockeye are in so there may be bears.  We walked the Steep Creek trail.  Part of it was closed due to bears.  There were quite a few sockeye in the creek and some trout (don't know what kind; brown with black dots).  We saw 1 big porcupine sleeping in a tree, 1 baby porcupine eating right at the boardwalk and 1 adult on the ground.  You could see bears had been here, the grass was matted down and there were fish carcasses here and there. On the way back around some people said there was a bear and I got a glimpse of 2 cubs (1 year olds) going into the woods. We walked down to the lake and to the visitor center, good view of the water fall to the right of the glacier.  We'll come back tonight and look for bear, I am sure they are in there heavy.

Orca Whale Watch

We went on a 3:30 Orca Whale watch. There were only 20 people or so on board.  He stopped at a rock island on the way out, covered with oyster catchers and gulls.  Saw 4 seals there too.  Just beyond that, maybe half way to Shelter Island we saw a group of  whales off in the distance.  They said they had been bubble net feeding over the last couple days.  Sure enough 9 humpbacks came up right near us as we were coming in.  We watched them come up a dozen times, it was really something.  We could hear them blow and groan. They were fishing shallow so they didn't stay down too long, no more than 5 minutes. You could watch the gulls circling, they would dive down when they saw the bubbles and herring come up before the whales.

Mendenhall Glacier

We stopped at Safeway on the way home then drove back to Mendenhall again to walk Steep Creek for bears. Before we got to the lot there were people looking into the one creek crossing clearing.  There was a black bear right close to the road.  We stopped and a couple minutes later 2 small (this spring) cubs came out too.  Eventually she crossed the road and we got some good video and pics.


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