Whale fountains!

How many “whale fountains” can you see toward the upper right portion of the picture?

It’s now a sunny Wednesday afternoon and Braesail is anchored near Angoon, a village of about 500 year-round residents on Admiralty Island; its name in Tlingit is Aangóon, meaning roughly “isthmus town.” We motored here from the even smaller village of Tenakee Springs over the course of about 4.5 hours, and as we were approaching Angoon, we were treated to a wonderful whale show: at least five humpback whales, who were probably “bubble net fishing,” spouted and dived and spouted and dived again, singly and in groups, and came very close to the boat as we motored very slowly along! I was too fascinated by their proximity and sounds and movements to use my smartphone camera as I watched their dark arching backs, fountains of blown spray, and splashing fan-shaped tails and listened to their hissing and huffling when they spouted and their occasional grunting, but I did take the pictures above and below in which you can see the whales (four or five) being observed by two people who were following them at a safe distance in a small boat. Excellent whale watching without paying for a formal tour!

More whale “blows.” We first noticed a cluster of four or five spouts when we were perhaps two miles away, and observed the rule: “See a blow? Go SLOW!”

To back up a bit to Tuesday, August 9:

Over the course of about five hours, we motored from Hoonah, whose name in Tlingit means “protected from the north wind,” to the tiny, beach front village of Tenakee Springs. It has has about 90 year-round residents, no cars, a general store, an “open” (door-less) public library/thrift shop, a museum (weekends only), a chapel, an “open” community cafe and greenhouse, a ferry dock, a harbor, hedges of thimble berries and salmon berries lining the main walkway, colorful beach houses on one side of the narrow dirt road and larger houses with MANY stairs up the hillsides on the other side (many of the houses have wonderful flower/vegetable gardens, small waterfalls tumbling down wooded slopes, and a sulfur hot spring in a small bathhouse (wearing clothing in the spring is not allowed, and men and women have separate bathing hours).

View of the Tenakee Springs shore and the houses along it from the harbor’s dock

During our journey to Tenakee Springs from Hoonah, we saw several seals, a dolphin or two riding Braesail’s bow wave for a short time,” AND a humpback whale spouting and diving at a distance–splendid!

After docking, we walked nearly all the way to the end of the road and back, and were greeted by people working in their yards and riding bikes and ATVs. As we finished eating dinner in the cockpit, some sun sparkles finally slid down long shafts of mist above the mountains in the late evening, and hinted at a brighter day to come.

[I have added pictures to my previous post about the town of Hoonah, so visit that entry to see them.]

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