We moved from a setting above the clouds to the water below. We embarked on a whale-watching cruise along the Prince William Sound. This was a one-day cruise that would bring us close to many different animals.
The shore along the waterway was made up of rocky cliffs. Those cliffs were covered by thousands of Black-legged Kittiwakes, Glaucous and Seagulls. The rock ledges at the bottom of the cliffs were covered with Stellar Sea Lions basking in warm air. In the water, the sea lions swam about close to shore, while the sea otters tended to come out to greet the boat. It was amazing to see this much wildlife along one channel of water.
As we traveled along the waterway, the scenery changed. We went from rocky cliffs with greenery to massive glaciers. Chunks of ice were constantly breaking off as the glaciers melted, causing the water to be clogged with ice. The beauty once again awed my whole family. However, we were still on the lookout for the sometimes-elusive humpback whales that we knew were hiding below.
My family is very much into photography, so the whole time we were aboard we had two cameras and a camcorder to try to capture the essence of Alaska. A few whales breeched in the distance, which we were all excited about. However, we were hoping that one would come closer. Just when everyone was about to give up, a humpback whale breeched and flapped its tale directly in front of the boat. Of course, we had all managed to leave our cameras inside. Despite missing it on film, it was awesome to see such a huge animal thrust itself into the air and then finish with a graceful flap of the tale before disappearing into the icy waters. The whole boat exploded with chattering and clapping as everyone marveled at what had just happened.