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-   -   When is Whale season in Alaska? (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/alaska/356644-when-whale-season-alaska.html)

ferrangi September 26th, 2008 04:48 PM

When is Whale season in Alaska?
 
Is it whale season all year in Alaska?
I was just wondering if I were going to try and find a cruise to Alaska it would have to be during whale season. :D

Donna September 26th, 2008 07:23 PM

Hi Ferr,
The whales come up to Alaska in the spring to feed and then head south around October and stay down by Hawaii for the summer. So, usually when you do an Alaska cruise in the summer, you'll spot some Whales. We did see humpbacks in Juneau this past Aug and then in Victoria, we saw tons of Orca's...

A few times, we spotted Humpbacks from the ship, but they were a distance out.

thinfool1 September 27th, 2008 07:32 AM

Re: When is Whale season in Alaska?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ferrangi
Is it whale season all year in Alaska?
I was just wondering if I were going to try and find a cruise to Alaska it would have to be during whale season. :D

Alaskan whales winter (makin whoopee) in Hawaii (pretty smart!!) and summer (havin babies and eating tons of fresh seafood) in Alaska.

While you will see humpies from a cruise ship, booking a whale watching excursion in Juneau or Icy Strait Point will get you much, much closer.

There are independent operators in both ports in relatively small boats and there are excursion operators that the cruise lines use. These have boats that hold approx 100 with snack bar, clean rest rooms, inside and heated viewing or on deck if you prefer.

If you do a one way, north or southbound, in August, you also have a good chance of seeing Belugas in Turnagain Arm on your trip to/from Anchorage to either Seward or Whittier where the ships dock.

Phil&Liz September 27th, 2008 12:43 PM

We just got back from Alaska RT from Vancouver September 17.

Saw whales right from leaving port in BC, just after sailing under the Lions Gate bridge. The naturalist Michelle even commented "Who are you people that you get to spot these whales !"

Spotted many all along the route up to Skagway. 630am was a good time it seemed. We were on our balcony that early and always spotted some.

We are in the process of gathering the pics etc to post a report here soon.

Phil & Liz

KellyW September 27th, 2008 11:01 PM

We just got back from Alaska on the Carnival Spirit...Saw a lot of whales...I was told that the older whales and sometimes juveniles will winter in Alaska instead of migrating.. Ferrengi Alaska cruise season is may though Sept..May can be a bit early for wildlife..We have been in July and Sept..I think we saw more wildlife in July but saw plenty last week..I have downloaded somephotos in the Cruisemates Gallery under Alaska 2008 if anyone would like to take a peek..

Kelly

ferrangi September 28th, 2008 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KellyW
We just got back from Alaska on the Carnival Spirit...Saw a lot of whales...I was told that the older whales and sometimes juveniles will winter in Alaska instead of migrating.. Ferrengi Alaska cruise season is may though Sept..May can be a bit early for wildlife..We have been in July and Sept..I think we saw more wildlife in July but saw plenty last week..I have downloaded somephotos in the Cruisemates Gallery under Alaska 2008 if anyone would like to take a peek..

Kelly

Thank you for sharing your pics, I loved them. I want to see whales so bad. You know in their natural inviornment. I've seen the 8 min show they have at the amusement parks, but I want to see them naturally. That would be the coolest!! :-P

Karen16 September 28th, 2008 02:34 AM

For clairfication, there are humpbacks that do winter in Alaska, migration actually happens later than October, as stated above, in fact Sitka has been holding their annual Whale Fest for many years, always first weekend in November. Through about the second/third week of May, you can also see the migration if you take a round trip Seattle cruise. Also for clarification, Belugas are NOT common to see, in fact overall pretty rare in Turnagain Arm. They can be anywhere in the Cook Inlet, and no way to predict where they will be from year to year.

Orcas are also rare on the inside passage, these are transients, which have a huge range. Pure chance to see them. A better chance for sightings from a cruiseship is southbound Inside Vancouver Island, and a ship that detours by Robson Bight, HAL, Carnival, sometimes Princess does. You again, might get lucky if you are up very early, 1/2 hour before dawn on the northbound.

I have had excellent sightings from a cruiseship- to increase your chances, a good pair of wide angle binoculars are necessary. Forward viewing is also necessary, so to track them from ahead. Proper attire absolutely is needed. A large amount of invested time, and knowing the areas will increase sightings. IF you happen to be on a ship with a naturalist, use them and inquire where the sightings were the week before. Many times, you can get time estimates from the bridge on potential areas, but you have to know them to ask. You can't just request, "when are you going through a whale area" :) .

I have been whale watching for over 20 years and on well over 100 tours. I always spend most of my sailing time out on deck, but you will also always see me on whale watches. Superior for extended close up viewing. From a cruiseship, you have to be happy with perhaps 2 minutes of viewing, with being out for hours. :)

Donna September 28th, 2008 10:38 AM

Wow Kelly,
Those were some amazing whale photos and Glacier. We never got that close to whales, great shots! Thanks for sharing.

KellyW September 30th, 2008 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna
Wow Kelly,
Those were some amazing whale photos and Glacier. We never got that close to whales, great shots! Thanks for sharing.

Donna,
Whale watching with Adventure in Alaska and Capt Jack was awesome..The weather wasnt the best but boy he found the whales..I bet you got just as close...I had a great zoom lense for my Canon...The lense made it seem like we were alot closer..

Kelly

katlady October 1st, 2008 09:55 AM

Princess has a cruise leaving from San Francisco to Alaska it's a 10 night. It's a nice short drive to port saves on airfare. :D It leaves May 24 you should saw whales are this time of year. We did when we went.
Cruise Itinerary:

Day 1 San Francisco, California -- 4:00 pm
Day 2 At Sea -- --
Day 3 At Sea -- --
Day 4 Ketchikan, Alaska 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Day 5 Juneau, Alaska 8:00 am 10:00 pm
Day 6 Skagway, Alaska 7:00 am 8:00 pm
Day 7 Cruise Tracy Arm 5:00 am 10:00 am
Day 8 At Sea -- --
Day 9 Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 am 2:00 pm
Day 10 At Sea -- --
Day 11 San Francisco, California 7:00 am --

katlady October 1st, 2008 10:03 AM

This is interesting on July 3 Princess does a cruise from San Francisco but with some different ports. I wonder which cruise itinerary is better for seeing whales?

Fri San Francisco, California -- 4:00 pm
Sat At Sea -- --
Sun At Sea -- --
Mon Ketchikan, Alaska 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Tue Haines, Alaska 11:00 am 9:00 pm
Wed Juneau, Alaska 8:00 am 11:59 pm
Thu Cruise Tracy Arm 5:00 am 10:00 am
Fri At Sea -- --
Sat Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 am 2:00 pm
Sun At Sea -- --
Mon San Francisco, California 7:00 am

Karen16 October 2nd, 2008 09:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by katlady
This is interesting on July 3 Princess does a cruise from San Francisco but with some different ports. I wonder which cruise itinerary is better for seeing whales?

Fri San Francisco, California -- 4:00 pm
Sat At Sea -- --
Sun At Sea -- --
Mon Ketchikan, Alaska 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Tue Haines, Alaska 11:00 am 9:00 pm
Wed Juneau, Alaska 8:00 am 11:59 pm
Thu Cruise Tracy Arm 5:00 am 10:00 am
Fri At Sea -- --
Sat Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 am 2:00 pm
Sun At Sea -- --
Mon San Francisco, California 7:00 am

Humpback tours out of Juneau, Orca tours out of Victoria, but these have about a 75-80% chance of sightings vs 100% out of Juneau. You are past the migration sailing July.

katlady October 2nd, 2008 12:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by katlady
Princess has a cruise leaving from San Francisco to Alaska it's a 10 night. It's a nice short drive to port saves on airfare. :D It leaves May 24 you should saw whales are this time of year. We did when we went.
Cruise Itinerary:

Day 1 San Francisco, California -- 4:00 pm
Day 2 At Sea -- --
Day 3 At Sea -- --
Day 4 Ketchikan, Alaska 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Day 5 Juneau, Alaska 8:00 am 10:00 pm
Day 6 Skagway, Alaska 7:00 am 8:00 pm
Day 7 Cruise Tracy Arm 5:00 am 10:00 am
Day 8 At Sea -- --
Day 9 Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 am 2:00 pm
Day 10 At Sea -- --
Day 11 San Francisco, California 7:00 am --

Thanks Karen for the help so based on your reply this May 24 cruise would be better for seeing whales and Ferrangi would want to take the whale watching tour out of Juneau. I didn't see the cruise my hubby and I took in 2006 it was at the end of May, it included Icy Strait Point and that is where we whale watched. We loved it and saw tons of whales.

Donna October 2nd, 2008 07:54 PM

We were extremely lucky in Victoria, saw tons of Orca's and we didn't even dock there until 5:00, excursion at 5:30. The day before, nothing, so you just never know.

Karen16 October 3rd, 2008 01:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by katlady
Quote:

Originally Posted by katlady
Princess has a cruise leaving from San Francisco to Alaska it's a 10 night. It's a nice short drive to port saves on airfare. :D It leaves May 24 you should saw whales are this time of year. We did when we went.
Cruise Itinerary:

Day 1 San Francisco, California -- 4:00 pm
Day 2 At Sea -- --
Day 3 At Sea -- --
Day 4 Ketchikan, Alaska 7:00 am 3:00 pm
Day 5 Juneau, Alaska 8:00 am 10:00 pm
Day 6 Skagway, Alaska 7:00 am 8:00 pm
Day 7 Cruise Tracy Arm 5:00 am 10:00 am
Day 8 At Sea -- --
Day 9 Victoria, British Columbia 6:00 am 2:00 pm
Day 10 At Sea -- --
Day 11 San Francisco, California 7:00 am --

Thanks Karen for the help so based on your reply this May 24 cruise would be better for seeing whales and Ferrangi would want to take the whale watching tour out of Juneau. I didn't see the cruise my hubby and I took in 2006 it was at the end of May, it included Icy Strait Point and that is where we whale watched. We loved it and saw tons of whales.

Actually your date has the migration most likely, completely over.

Karen16 October 3rd, 2008 02:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Donna
We were extremely lucky in Victoria, saw tons of Orca's and we didn't even dock there until 5:00, excursion at 5:30. The day before, nothing, so you just never know.

Yes, very lucky. Just about all the orca watches have to be ship tours, since they get in so late, and these tours are shorter than the regular runs offered independently. So even less distance the southern resident pods can be from Victoria. When, I'm in Victoria, I always double book, at least, so to be sure I'll have sightings. Last time, I spent 4 days on Vancouver Island, and went on three trips for the northern residents.


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