Day 4 ~ Juneau

Up early for our shore excursion, we headed to the Horizon Court for breakfast. As we sat by the windows looking out at the side of Mount Roberts we spotted 2 bald eagles soaring almost at eye level! They would fly around a bit and then land in the trees and sit for a little while then take off and do the whole thing again. I wondered if we could see any of the eagles from our balcony.

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Breakfast over we hurried back to get ready for the shore excursion and check out the balcony view of the mountain. Sure enough there was a bald eagle perched on a tree top right across from our balcony.

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Frustrated I put the telephoto away because it was time to meet our guide for our shore excursion.


Today we are going whale watching and visiting the Mendenhall Glacier. If the weather clears after our morning we might take the tram up Mount Roberts.

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The announcement that we had permission to go ashore finally came and we headed out to meet our guide. To our surprise Phil, our guide, said we were going on the whale watch first.

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That was ok just a surprise based on the tour description. Still it probably all has to do with what the weather is like. When we left the ship there were some clouds but it looked like we might finally see some sun as the day progressed.

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We piled onto the bus and were soon on our way to the marina at Auke Bay where we spotted another bald eagle perched on a pole. As we waited for directions from Phil another bald eagle swooped down toward the water then right back up and over our heads. Breath-taking!

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I kept one eye on the eagle on the pole as we approached the whale boat. I was fascinated that It hadn’t flown away.

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The Whale boat was enclosed so the passengers would be protected from the cold wind but it made pictures impossible through the scratchy, cloudy glass. The captain was in touch with other boats to make it easier to find the whales. Once we spotted a spout Phil promised to open the windows and hatches to the bow and stern.

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As we cruised out into the open water Phil gave us a lesson on whales using little plastic models.

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We saw a pair of eagles perched on some rocks.

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Other eagles soared over the boat the way sea gulls fly over them here at home. Off in the distance we could see 2 glaciers.

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One was identified as Herbert Glacier, the other one as Eagle Glacier.

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All eyes were on the waves looking for that first blow but so far nothing. Then we spotted a buoy. Something was definitely on it.

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Obviously it couldn’t be a whale. As the captain maneuvered the boat closer to the buoy Phil opened the windows and we looked at some big guys…Stellar Sea Lions, no little harbor seals here.

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There were some in the water too but no room for anymore on that buoy. We took our time watching the sea lions until the captain got a call that some whales had been spotted  out by the lighthouse.

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Phil closed the windows and those of us standing outside came in to take our seats and we were off to try to catch up with the elusive humpbacks.

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  1. How exciting. We only saw 2 or so bald eagles, actually saw more golden eagles than bald. I was surprised and disapointed, but folks said that the eagles stayed around the waterways and rivers, and we were in the interior, so, not so many bald eagles – but more moose than eagles. A fair trade, I was happy. I can’t wait to see if you saw any whales – I’ve never seen one.

    • When we got to Denali the told us the same thing…no bald eagles only golden eagles. Bald eagles eat fish and need the open water while the goldens eat small animals and rodents. I have never seen so many bald eagles in my life. They were everywhere!…OOPS! I almost answered your question about seeing whales but I don’t want to ruin the story. 🙂

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