Bubble-Net Feeding Humpback Whales: Sitka, Alaska 2022
Witness bubble-net feeding humpback whales!
9 Days / 8 Nights
Join me in Sitka, Alaska on board the M/V Northern Song. Witness humpback whales bubble-net feeding and lunge feeding right in front of your eyes.
With a maximum size of 8 guests, the experiences are intimate and wild. Bring your drone, and capture it from the air!
We will also see other wildlife, eagles, raptors, possible air tour, herring spawn/eggs, and of course the beautiful landscapes of Alaska!
Whale whale whale!
The widely distributed Pacific herring is an essential component of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem. As a “keystone species” in the food chain, the herring links nutrient-rich primary producers (zooplankton) to larger predators such as fish, birds, and marine mammals.
Between March and June, Pacific herring gather in the tens of millions along Southeast Alaska coastlines to spawn. In itself, it’s a sight to behold: silver bodies churn against the shore, and their eggs and milt lend the water a milky green hue. There is more, though. Because of it’s great ecological significance, the annual herring spawn is occasion for aggregations of hungry wildlife. Eagles gather by the thousands in trees along the shoreline, their urgent, piercing cries a constant refrain. For photographers, there are few more thrilling subjects than a bald eagle emerging from a dive with talons full of herring! Seals and Steller sea lions can also be seen diving through the massive schools of herring that ribbon the shallow waters along the shoreline. Humpback whales are drawn to the spawn as well, and these demonstrate a variety of feeding methods to concentrate and capture the silvery herring. Indeed, it is not uncommon to observe fascinating cooperative ‘bubble-net’ feeding behavior up close. For the lucky, there is even opportunity to see killer whales, cooperating in their own way to whip the herring schools into frenzied tight balls.
The annual herring spawn doesn’t just attract animals. People, too, eagerly await the spawn. Pacific herring is an important food staple for coastal communities in Southeast and elsewhere, and herring roe (eggs) have long been collected as a subsistence resource. Tlingit natives of Southeast Alaska harvest the roe by placing hemlock branches in the water; herring eggs are sticky, and a thick layer of eggs will collect on the submerged bows. The roe, often dipped in seal oil, is highly prized as a densely caloric and nutritious protein source.
Pacific Herring is also a commercially fished resource. Historically, the herring were caught and rendered for their rich oil, or reduced to make fish meal. More recently, uses for commercially caught herring have included a limited food market, bait for other fisheries, and food for captive animals. The largest current commercial herring fishery is for roe; the eggs are largely exported to Japan, where they are an expensive and cherished delicacy (called kazunoko).
Prices and Dates
Join me on this spectacular tour!
March 17 -25, 2022
2 Spaces Left
Per Person Cost, From
What you can expect
Jump on board MV Northern Song, and sail around the waters off Sikta, Alaska, in search of the bubble-net feeding humpback whales. The whales are the focus of the trip, with some attention given to eagles, otters and sea lions. We are on board for 8 nights and 9 days, with a private chef, that will leave you not wanting to leave.
Although herring will spawn in a number of locations and at various points through the Spring, the spawn that occurs in March along the shores of Sitka is one of the largest on the west coast of North America. Each year, Alaska Sea Adventures features a special Sitka Sound Herring trip to witness the subsistence and commercial fishery efforts in the area. Later trips, to Hoonah Sound and Seymour Canal, also highlight this seasonal abundance of herring. You don’t want to miss these popular seasonal events!
All meals on board, wine with dinner. Soft drinks and Alaska brewed beer complimentary. Boots on request. Ground transport to boat for boarding.
- 9 Days/8 Nights
- Accommodation on board M/V Northern Song
- All meals while onboard
- All nature activities
- Wine with dinner
What’s Not Included
- Travel insurance
While seas are generally calm on this expedition, it’s possible that we could encounter rough conditions, which may cause issues for travelers prone to motion sickness. Please consult your physician about medications that control motion sickness.
Your Tour Organizer: Nadia Aly
“I want to show you the extraordinary animals that call our oceans home…” – Nadia Aly
Nadia Aly is a wildlife photographer who specializes in underwater photography. She holds a master’s degree in digital media from the Centre for Digital Media in Vancouver, British Columbia and has had her work featured on National Geographic, Sony World Photo, Underwater Photographer of the Year and Nature’s Best Photography.
She is also the owner of ScubaDiverLife.com – an online news portal for scuba diving & ocean conservation enthusiasts.