Bubble Net Feeding Frenzy

09-18-2017

John Pachuta, Expedition Guide, Wilderness Adventurer

It was bubble net feeding galore.

Guests on this week’s expedition aboard the Wilderness Adventurer are going to think that bubble net feeding humpbacks are a regular thing in Southeast Alaska.

Alaska Whales Feeding

At sunset last night we watched a group of about a dozen whales feeding near Tenakee Springs.

That was right after watching a small pod of orca whales slowly cavort just past the bow of our ship.

Orca pod Alaska

Then this morning, our breakfast was interrupted by two groups of humpbacks bubble net feeding, one just in front of the Tlingit Village of Angoon and another just north at the entrance to the Kootznoowoo Wilderness.

In case you didn’t know, humpback whales are normally solitary creatures that usually feed alone or with one or two other whales.

A couple of decades ago, researchers began noticing a dozen or more whales working cooperatively together to corral schools of fish such as herring into a frenzied mass that they would then trap at the surface in a net of bubbles they had blown in a spherical fashion around the fish.

Feeding Whales in Alaska

They would then vertically lunge at them in unison, raising their massive 30 to 40 ton bodies out of the water with mouths agape before closing again and trapping the helpless herring inside.

Bubble Net Feeding in Alaska

This was the morning mayhem we witnessed today while finishing off our last bites of pastries and sips of coffee.

What a way to start the day! I can’t wait to see what else might be in store for our exciting adventure here in Southeast Alaska.



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