Does anyone know about bubble net feeding and if/where it would be possible to watch this in Alaska?
Juneau every Mon, Wed and Fri between 11am and 11:30 am. They have weekends off. :)
Sorry, I could not resist that. Very good luck is required to see whales bubble netting as it is not commonly seen.
You can spend a lifetime on our waters and not see that special phenomenon. The feeding conditions have to be just right and a group of whales need to be passing by. Bubblenet feeding happens when a group of whales works together to capture large schools of herring.
Each whale has its own role in the process: one blows bubbles around the herring school to keep the fish from escaping, others vocalize to scare or confuse the fish and help bring them to the surface, and others herd the fish together and upwards. Once the fish are at the surface, all the whales lunge upwards with their huge mouths wide open and try to gulp as many herring as they can.
A friend of mine who got some great photos of bubble feeding considered it one of the best ten days of his entire life and it only took him 40 plus years of living in Alaska to see it.
We were lucky enough to see it on a Kenai Fjords cruise last weekend.
I agree that there is no way to guarantee that you will see it, but I guess I've been lucky in that I have seen humpbacks bubble feeding around Juneau at least four times in the past two years. I think it is just down to luck. Of course, the more time you spend on the water, the more likely you are to see it. If that is your main goal, I'd suggest dedicating at least a week's worth of effort to it.
I agree that it is pretty much pure luck. I have been on multiple whale watch tours in Alaska, multiple Kenai Fjords tours and even multiple Prince William Sound tours. I have also been on some boat tours out of Homer and a whale watch tour out of Gustavus. Though I have seen whales on a lot of those boats, I have yet to see bubblenet feeding. I might have come "close" in June during a 6 hour whale watch tour in Juneau. The captain had reports of bubblenet feeding by a group of whales in the area but they were moving away from Juneau. We tried to find them and ended up seeing them, but they were just swimming and moving not bubblenet feeding.
Take the longest whale watch tour you can in Juneau, Icy Strait Point and/or Gustavus.
Another phenomena that is hard to see is breaching, though I have seen that multiple times, twice in fact on my May/June trip to Alaska. Saw that once near Homer with a whale that breached no fewer than 10 times for us and in Juneau as well.
We were lucky enough to see this on a short trip out of Icy Strait Point in early July. At the time, we didn't realize how lucky we were!
You can always see it on Youtube :). That's where I saw it !! I do hope to see it for real next month. But if not, I always have my youtube experience.Edited: 23 August 2012, 10:02
I spent an entire day out of Gustavus into Icy Straits & only saw a few lunges by individuals. The next day in Juneau was one of the best days ever. Watched bubble net feeding over & over, while a baby breached & tail slapped.
I was lucky to see it (and have it explained to me) during a whale watching catamaran excursion in Juneau 2 weeks ago off HAL Westerdam cruise. The tour operators promise whale sightings or your money back. The tour is operated by a family business, guides are very knowledgeable. A pleasure all around.
aglow there really is no need for a "guarantee" to see whales on boats out of Juneau. EVERYONE sees them Now see if the same operator will give you a guarantee to see bubblenet feeding or your money back. Now THAT would be a true guarantee.