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Showtime for Alaska's Orcas


By Nicholas Warner, Sous Chef

It’s barely past four o’clock and I just finished shaping the loaves of bread which will be freshly baked for dinner on the Wilderness Explorer this evening.

They’ve been fermenting since last night and still have an hour of proofing in the steamy galley until they’re ready to be sent into a scorching oven. This morning has been especially busy and I’m thinking that the current work is finished and it’s time for a rest until the bread is ready.

There isn’t even time to leave the kitchen when off in the distance I see a splash of black and white. I’ve seen this enough times to know that we’re in the presence of orcas.

Outside and up on the three hundred level, I can see that the guests and crew are as excited as I am. Nearly everyone is gripping their cameras in anticipation for what will come next.

The orcas seem curious and make their way over to the Wilderness Explorer. For the next forty minutes they play and splash and breach with the enthusiasm that makes us think they might be putting on a show.

If there’s anything that can replace the sight of fireworks lighting up the night sky, this is it. An audible “awww” can be heard from the entire vessel as one particularly active female jumped completely out of the water.

A few more splashes and they seem to lose interest in our boat and move on. In my head I was miles away from the galley but as I snapped back it had been exactly one hour from the start of the excitement and the perfect time to send the bread into the oven.

What adventures will breakfast bring?

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