What was I doing while Husband plied the waters of Prince William Sound in his buddy’s boat for 4 days? It was a trip to make repairs on the first operation of the season. You see, it’s necessary to do a lot of hidden maintenance and removal of bugs on that first shakedown cruise, and the only way to discover hidden issues is to take her out for a multi-day spin around the block…
and of course, on the way, you view sea lions lounging on rocks, stunning mountain views, Dall porpoise crisscrossing the bow, and lots of whales…whales “summering” in the Sound, sort of like how New Yorkers “summer” in the Hamptons.
Humpback whales journey to the islands of Hawaii in the winter, and have their offspring there in the spring. Sometimes we too, vacate there, not to have babies, but for relief from Alaska’s dark and cold winter months. Last year Husband and I paddled inflatable kayaks into Maaelaea Bay on the island of Maui and witnessed a humpback whale breeching way, way, way too close to our boats BACK-PADDLE, B-B-BACK-P-P-PADDLE!
So it was interesting for him to view the whales that have returned to Alaska for the summer, returning to breech and twist and roll and spout and splash down with the greatest aplomb. Fact: Humbacks are baleen whales, which means they filter their food through baleen plates. They eat krill, anchovies, cod, sardines, and mackerel…all the stuff you like to have on your pizza.
While he and his buddy were out “fixing” things on the boat (uh huh), he took lots of photos. Today is a Share Some of His Photos Day, and a few facts about these magnificent creatures.
The humpback is one of the most easily recognized whale species, weighing in at up to 48 tons, and measuring 40-50 feet in length. That’s about a ton a foot…a helluva lot of blubber. They are differentiated from other whales by their large fins, almost a third of their body size, and the hump on their backs. The white markings on the underside of their fins are like fingerprints, allowing researchers to identify specific individuals who return to the Sound for the summer.
I wonder if the one that breeched in front of us in Maui is the same gal or fella photographed here? Could be. They’re relatively small in numbers, the summering population less than a couple hundred.
So what if it takes 4 days of halibut fishing, shrimping and whale watching to figure out all the boat’s bugs? Seriously, they got a lot of work done too. They replaced a stove and oven unit that was inoperable, put in a new water pump, did a thorough house, er, boat cleaning, replaced a propane shut-off valve, discovered a bad battery bank, changed out defective mooring lines, and while doing all this work, simultaneously test-ran the shrimp pots and fishing reels (just to make sure they worked OK…hehe).
a trio of spouts
I stayed at home and power-washed the front of the house, sanded the deck in prep for painting, and constructed planter boxes out of old 2 x 6’s. Maintenance and gardening operations, you might say.
On Mother’s Day, I sat on the newly sanded deck in the sunshine, and ate ice cream with son #2. And it will be skewered spot shrimp on the barbie tonight, fresh from the sparkling waters of Prince William Sound.
*All photos by Kent Devine