Monday, July 29, 2013

My Usual Long Overdue Blog Post :)

The past month has been AHHHMAZING! I love my job. I love being out on the water every day and seeing such beautiful creatures in their natural state. SeaWorld can suck a big one! I've gotten a few decent photos that I want to share with you guys. Before I start with the photos, I want to share this amazing experience that we are lucky enough to hear on occasion. On our boat we have a hydrophone we can drop in the water to hear the whales and orcas. The resident orca pods are usually pretty talkative and we've been able to hear them a few times. Humpbacks are a little more tricky, since they really only make vocalizations in Alaskan waters when they are bubble net feeding. And that was just what they were doing yesterday! We were on our way back from Excursion Inlet when we stopped at a group of bubble net feeding humpback whales that were a little south of Shelter Island. We dropped the hydrophone and this is what we heard!!

The sound you just heard is the call the whales make as they bubble net feed. In a nutshell, bubble net feeding is when a group of whales swim in a circle creating a 'net' of bubbles around a school of fish, then a whale (or whales) dive underneath and make that sound to sorta stun the fish, which drives them to the surface. Once they are at the surface, still trapped in that net of bubbles, the whales swim up and lunge out of the water eating all those little fish. Pretty cool huh?! And to top off all that, as we were leaving we saw four, yes FOUR different humpbacks whales breach one right after the other! Seeing a single whale breach is kinda rare around here, but FOUR?! I was speechless. Well, I take that back... I was yelling OMG, HOLY SHIT the whole time! Haha. It was the most amazing experience I've had all summer with these whales.

Now to the photos... 

Orcas in Stephens Passage

Humpback calf breaching
Silly sea lions!
Something spooked them and they jumped in the water
Humpback calf tail lobbing. Photo cred goes to Katie Harms!
This whale is nicknamed 'Spot'. Can you guess why? haha
Sea lions on a bouy. One guy is a climber.
Humpback fluke

Now some non-wildlife photos. A few days ago my friend Alex and I hiked up Eaglecrest and out Pittman's Ridge a little ways. It's so crazy seeing the slopes with no snow. Most of the blacks that we ride on a daily basis are huge, jagged rock cliffs in the summer. A few trails I looked up at and thought, "how in the hell did I ride this on my snowboard?!" haha. 

Mt. Ben Stewart looking mighty fine :)
Looking off the east side.
Looking west towards Stephens Passage and Admiralty Island
Mountaintop ponds :)
Pittman's Ridge
Had to take a selfie :) haha
Looking towards Juneau.
A few snow patches were still hanging around.

One last thing, the thing that has me so stoked for this winter and has gotten my snowboarding withdrawals at an all time high is this thing...

Yes, Dustin got me a SPLITBOARD! Woohoo! I'm so excited! It's the Burton Spliff 148. I know that sounds short for a split, but it has 'Nug Reduction' tech which is supposed to make it ride like a 158. Now I can explore all kinds of new backcountry spots this winter. I still need to get the hardware, bindings, and skins, but I have plenty of time until the first snowflake falls. I have the best boyfriend in the world! He's so thoughtful :)