Monday, September 17, 2012

Alaska Adventure: Icy Strait Point

Oh, Icy Strait Point.  We thought you'd be a a disappointment, and then you went and surprised us.

It's kind of hard to explain exactly what Icy Strait Point is.  It's not a town.  The closest town is Hoonah.  It's basically an old fish cannery turned tourist attraction that caters specifically to cruise ships.  There are a few shops, restaurants, and a bunch of excursions, including a zip-line that has been billed the world's longest.  Because there are no docking facilities, our ship sent boats to and from every few minutes.  We headed over shortly after breakfast to check things out.

I'm going to be honest here.  This place seemed kind of boring.  Plus, it was gray and drizzly.  None of the excursions really interested us and neither did the shops.

  The lone photo I took at Icy Strait Point.

We asked around and found out there was a shuttle into town, so we decided to look into that.  After speaking with the nice girl who ran the shuttle booth ($8 per person, round trip), we came to the conclusion that it wasn't really worth it for us to go into town.  So, after about 20 minutes, it was back to the ship with us!

On our way back, someone on the boat said they saw a whale right nearby.  Lo and behold, she was right!  There were a lot of fish in the area and the whales were feeding.  As soon as we got back to the ship, we hung out on deck with our cameras for some unplanned whale watching.

Humpbacks blow bubbles in a circular motion in order to bring their prey together and force them toward the surface.  Fortunately this is usually a somewhat slow process, so we could watch for the bubbles and know that a whale would show itself in a minute or two.

A peek at the dorsal fin!

aaaand the tail.

A little video of a whale tail:

We stayed out for quite a while, and discovered that there were actually 3 whales feeding!  It looked like a mama and baby, and a third larger whale we assumed was mama's suitor.

Just popped up to say, "Hello!"

Probably my favorite video of the whole trip.  Rated PG-13 for language at the end.

I agree with Ed though.  It was pretty awesome!  PS - I am not the "Ohhhh my Goood!" lady.

The four of us stayed out for about an hour and a half.  Grandma, Uncle Randy, and I decided to go inside because ho hum, we were getting tired of looking at whales.  Actually, the drizzle was starting to turn into rain.  Ed stayed out for another hour and proceeded to take these AMAZING photos:



So, you see, what we thought was going to be a bust turned out to be a pretty amazing day.  Things are not always what they seem! We saw more whales at a closer range here than we did on our whale watching excursion in Juneau.

Just a couple of more posts left in my Alaska Adventure series!  It's taking me a little longer than I'd like to get them together.  Our upcoming move has been pushed up by almost a week (as in, a week from today, we will be leaving Chicago behind), so I've been working on packing, cleaning, and having mild panic attacks. However, I am determined to get all of my Alaska posts completed before our move!


  1. Wow!!! This is sooo cool!!! Miles and I are thinking about a trip to Seattle/Vancouver for summer 2012. It's not Alaska, but I've heard that it's possible to see whales there? Maybe?

    1. I'll bet you can see whales there. I've never been to Seattle, but Ed went earlier this year and really liked it!

  2. HAha! love that video, it was pretty awesome! along with the orkas above too!