Yesterday the biology professor at Kachemak Bay Campus came through the faculty hall inviting folks to head out on her boat for some whale watching. I happened to be getting off at that time so I jumped at the chance. Apparently orcas and humpbacks have been seen in Kachemak Bay in the last day and they were active at the moment. We were hoping to see orcas, but ended up seeing at least 10 humpbacks, which was still quite cool. They were feeding, so they would come up and then roll on their side.
There were a number of boats out watching the whales, and the whales were spread out over a few miles. For the two hours we were out there, there was a whale within a few hundred yards of us, but if we looked off in the distance we could see more whales surfacing and blowing. The closest a whale got to us (we did not attempt to get this close to them) was 20 feet, when it surfaced unexpectedly off our starboard side.
We lucked out with some gorgeous weather; just a whiff of a breeze made it comfortable, and having two biologists on board assured that we knew more than we might want to know about what we were seeing. What was cool though was that with experienced whale viewers they could tell us exactly when and where the whales were going to surface by watching the water and their patterns.