Last week I promised some of the pictures I took of the whales and sea lions I saw. Now, I don't have a telephoto lens (one that can take great pictures from far away), but I did manage to get a few shots of the whales and sea lions here in Juneau that I wanted to share. They were coming so close to the shore! So here's what happened...
It was a gorgeous day, and for awhile those were few and far between, so Dave brought some sushi home for lunch and then asked if I wanted to drive him back to work so I could have the car the rest of the day and explore a bit. I was feeling a bit too lazy to walk around (working on this), and thought I'd just go home and finish my work for the day, but Dave pretty much wouldn't take no for an answer (love that man) and told me to take the car.
So, I dropped him off and headed out, I was about to head South (back towards home), but something was pulling me to head North instead. The further North I drove, the foggier it was and I decided I needed to turn around. Once I finally got to a turnaround spot (there aren't many up that way), I saw the view in the picture above and had to grab a shot with my phone. Of course.
I got out of the car to grab a quick picture and started hearing these crazy animal noises (which I later found out were sea lions). I couldn't see anything passed the trees, because it was so foggy, and I was a little freaked out. I mean, this is Alaska, you never know what's going to pop out of those bushes! So I'm frantically looking around, making sure some crazy creature isn't about to jump out at me...
And then, through the fog, I see a whale tale...slowly come up and back down...so graceful and peaceful. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced. The combination of the silence, the fog, and the calmness of this animal that you know is humongous...it was magical.
Once I was out of shock, my first reaction was to grab my Canon as fast as possible. I waited and waited, but of course it never happened again. I finally decided I had time to run down to the Shrine to get a bit closer. One of the men that takes care of the grounds out there told me he's lived here for a long time and it's very rare for the whales and sea lions to come so close to shore in the winter, but the herrings were out and so they were biting. I feel so blessed that we're here and able to experience it.
↟ whale tail!
↟ whale and air from it's blowhole ↡ another whale tail
↟ group of sea lions
↟ more sea lions, just hangin'
I sat there for an hour watching the sea lions and every once in awhile a whale. The sea lions were SO loud, it cracked me up. That weekend, Dave and I went back and the whales were much more active and both they and the sea lions were even closer to shore! So cool. We took our binoculars and climbed as close as we could, it still blows my mind that we live ten minutes away from an ocean full of these gorgeous animals. The Kansas girl in me is so impressed.