South East Alaska Island Roamer

These galleries record the wildlife seen on a trip taken down the Inside Passage of South-East Alaska, made on board the 69 foot long sailing ship "Island Roamer".

Key locations visited are identified on the map below (courtesy Google).

For the story of the trip, by location, click on the thumbnails to open each gallery in turn.

Once you have opened the gallery, click on an image to see a larger version of it. You can then scroll through the rest of the gallery.

To get back to this page from an individual photo, click on the cross in the top right of the photo window, then click on the link next to the gallery title in the top left of the gallery window.

Home Page  An arbitrary collection of 20 of my favourite photographs from this expedition   
Humpback Whale Flukes
Scroll through the first 13 images rapidly, to obtain a quasi-moving image of a whale's fluke as it dives. The following three images illustrate the variations in markings between whales, which gives a handy way of identifying individual animals.
       Humpback Whales Bubblenet Feeding
A group (or pod) of six or seven humpback whales will work together to entrap a shoal of herring and drive them to the surface. The pod will then rise up vertically with their mouths open to engorge themselves on as many herring as they can.
       Breaching Humpback Whales
Humpbacks will sometimes swim rapidly to the surface and leap right out of the water, in behaviour known as breaching. The reason for this is not known - suggestions include: for pure fun, to dislodge parasites, or to stun fish near the surface to make them easier to catch.
A pod of Transient Orcas
We encountered and followed two groups of orcas (killer whales) near the Glass Peninsula. Orcas are actually the largest of the porpoise family and not whales at all. Eventually the orcas put on a show of playing within view of our yacht.
       North and South Sawyer Glaciers
We sailed up an inlet known as Tracy Arm and spent time at each of two glaciers, observing calving, icebergs and harbour seals.
       Pack Creek for Brown Bears
There is a viewing area for Brown Bears at Pack Creek, on Admiralty Island. While there is no physical barrier between the bears and the humans the bears are habituated (used to the presence of humans) and neither species is seen as a threat to the other. Rangers from the USDA Forest Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game ensure that viewing rules are enforced. Visitor permits should be purchased in advance and are limited to 24 per day.
West Brother Island
We anchored between West and East Brother Islands and set out in our Zodiacs in search of playful Steller's sea lions, and also bird life, on an adjacent rock. We also witnessed a bald eagle swimming with a Salmon (see next gallery). The following morning we encountered an impossibly "cute" sea otter floating on its back.
       Swimming Eagle
While near West Brother Island a bald eagle was seen to skim the surface to take a salmon, but rather than take off again with the fish in its talons it started the laborious process of swimming the 500 metres or so to shore. Once there it hauled its catch up onto a rock, where it was later joined by another bald eagle, who stole what remained of its catch.
       Anan Creek Black and Brown Bears
There is an observation platform at Anan Creek, ideally placed for watching black and brown bears catching pink salmon. This gallery displays photos of the bears. A seperate gallery displays pictures of the many bald eagles that also frequent the area.
Anan Creek Bald Eagles
In addition to the bears there were many bald eagles, both adult and juvenile, feeding off salmon discarded by the bears, or possibly catching fish themselves.