Tag Archives: Alaska

Travel: Alaska Whale Watching

Several whale species migrate off the majestic coast of Alaska between late March and September. Gray whales are first, followed by humpbacks, belugas, and orcas. Uploaded by eaglewingtours.com.

The Alaskan coast is an amazing place for viewing America’s most spectacular marine environment. You can see porpoises, sea lions, seals, walrus, and sea otters as you navigate past magnificent glaciers. But the greatest attraction is seeing the majestic whales that swim along the coast on their way to and from their feeding and mating grounds.

Uploaded by dailymail.co.uk.

Which whales you can see depends on the season you visit. Gray whales come up from Baja California in late March through May on their way to the Bering Sea. Humpback whales make their way along the southeast coast of Alaska between May and September. Orcas (killer whales) aren’t actually whales at all; they’re the largest member of the porpoise family. Even so, they’re thrilling to witness off Alaska’s coast in the summer months. It’s also possible to see humpback and beluga whales in Alaskan waters.

If you’re taking an Inside Passage tour (Great American Things, June 10, 2009), during these seasons, whale watching will definitely be a featured part of your itinerary. To make a visit just to see whales, head for the southeast Alaskan towns of Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, and Skagway. Or visit the south central region, including Homer, Seward, and Kodiak. It’s not hard to find a reputable tour operator who can be sure you see these spectacular animals up close. Just don’t forget your camera!

Americana: Bald Eagle

I wouldn't want to cross him, would you? National Geographic photo uploaded by fatfinch.wordpress.com.

I wouldn't want to cross him, would you? National Geographic photo uploaded by fatfinch.wordpress.com.

Can we all take a moment and be grateful that, for all his contributions to our nation’s founding, Ben Franklin didn’t get his wish that the turkey become our national bird? I mean, I like turkey at Thanksgiving as much as the next guy, but for majesty and stature, it’s hard to match the bald eagle.

The bald eagle is the only eagle unique to North America. It’s no longer on the list of endangered wildlife, I’m happy to report, though it’s still protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. (As is the chimney swift, as I found out all too well this summer.)

Uploaded by pwlf.org.

Uploaded by pwlf.org.

For today’s lesson in Old English, we find that the word “bawld” originally meant “white,” not “hairless.” And as you can see in these pictures, the bald eagle is crowned in white, much like Steve Martin or James Coburn. Or me, for that matter.

About half of the population of about 70,000 live in Alaska, and another 20,000 reside in nearby British Columbia. One of the primary reasons for the concentration in the Pacific Northwest is the presence of salmon, the favorite food of bald eagles. I doubt if Ben Franklin ever tasted, or for that matter, ever heard of salmon. No wonder he thought the gobbler was nobler.

Travel: Denali National Park

Uploaded to Flickr by NaturalLight.

Uploaded to Flickr by NaturalLight.

I’ve not been to Alaska yet to see Denali National Park, but I’ve just been overwhelmed by the beauty I’ve seen on video and in photos. Today’s video does an excellent job giving you the Park’s story, so here are some of those gorgeous pictures of this national treasure.

Uploaded to Flickr by 4xthewildcat.

Uploaded to Flickr by 4xthewildcat.

Uploaded to Flickr by JLMphoto.

Uploaded to Flickr by JLMphoto.

Uploaded by softpedia.com.

Uploaded by softpedia.com.

Uploaded by wallpaperme.com.

Uploaded by wallpaperme.com.

Uploaded by dijitalsanat.com.

Uploaded by dijitalsanat.com.

Photo by Dave Showalter, uploaded at daveshowalter.com.

Photo by Dave Showalter, uploaded at daveshowalter.com.