Juneau was probably the best part of our trip. We had a fabulous excursion with Gastineau Guiding. The trip was a hike to see the Mendenhall Glacier and a whale watching tour. Our guide Samantha was terrific, very informative and she interacted well with both the kids and the adults. The hike through the forest to see the glacier was nice.
We ended at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.
After the glacier, we headed to the boat to go whale watching. Be prepared for lots of photos!
After a bit of a boat ride, we saw our first whale. Very exciting, but it was pretty far away. Good thing for telephoto lenses.
After awhile the captain heard from other boats of a spot with 3-4 whales. We joined the other boats to see what was there. Sure enough, we soon saw multiple whales.
They were diving one after the other
So cool. The last tail is the whale they call Spot. We stayed in here quite awhile. Our time was running short and Samantha said we could stay for them to come up one more time. The humpback whales come up to breathe every 10 minutes or so. Soon the whales came up next to a boat close to us.
At this point our time was up, but the whales were too close to our boat and the captain couldn't start the engines. We had to wait for the whales one more time. It turned out to be the best sighting ever. The whales came to the surface and circled around our boat. A juvenile whale flipped on its side and lifted its pectoral fin for us.
After swimming around the boat, the whales turned right toward our boat and dove underneath us.
It really was an amazing experience. They were so close to the boat, a matter of feet. The lens on my camera was almost too tight. I'm a little disappointed that the pictures are cut off a little bit. I basically set my camera, held the button and then lifted up my head to watch with my eyes instead of through the viewfinder. Just going through these photos brings back the excitement. A has video of it and you can hear the guide in the background shouting about she can't believe it and she does this multiple times a week.
Definitely, it was a worth while tour. We'll never be able to go whale watching again because nothing can top that trip.