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Old 10-16-2013, 02:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Harbinger[TG] View Post
Listessa is in Alaska, but not sure how active she is on MB lately.
I took a forum break from pretty much every forum I visit starting in the spring. It was a busy summer.


D3adpool, you mentioned whale watching. Other than whales, what do you want to see or do for a major vacation anniversary bash?
If you really ONLY want to see whales, save yourselves the $1000+ round trip ticket each and go to Maine during July or August. I've been on a bunch of excellent whale watches out of Kennebunkport area over the years with great results.
Multiple pods of Atlantic White Sided Dolphins, minkes, tons of humpbacks, porpoises, a basking shark feeding, right whales, finbacks, and sei.
That was all on one trip. The basking shark was a major sighting, as were three separate pods of dolphins (ships were on the radio so they knew they were different pods). Usually I'd catch some dolphins, tons of humpbacks, possible porpoises, a few minke, finbacks, maybe a right or a sei.
Much of it depends on the time of year. It helps to call ahead to different whale watching boats and ask when they recommend making reservations.


Polar Monkey summed up the whale aspect nicely for what I'm familiar with. I haven't been to Southeastern AK, or the Aleutians, or way up North. Kodiak might have something cool for tourists, but it will be another (expensive) flight in and out from Anchorage or Fairbanks to get there.

There is a lot more to Alaska than whales. If you want to do a TON of different wildlife, it's worth it. If you only want whales, seriously, go closer to NY. The East Coast has lovely whales and other sea creatures. Save your money. Everything up here is super expensive, especially during tourist season. It is fun, and an amazing trip if you can take at least two weeks off (more are preferable if you want to visit multiple cities), and Alaska is a place you will remember for a lifetime. Or you'll end up moving here.
Most of all, remember: The animals are NOT paid to show up for tourists. There are NO guarantees you will see diddlysquat if you go out on a whale watch. Sometimes it's easier to go halibut fishing!!!


I have seen humpbacks doing their thing out off Valdez. It's ok, but I have never seen as many in Prince William Sound as I used to in the Gulf of Maine. Granted, I haven't done a whale watch out there, but my boyfriend's family has a nice boat and they have taken me out fishing for the past few years.

You do see a TON of different sea lions, seals, and more otters than you can shake a stick at. Most of all, especially in August, you tend to come across pods of Orcas. They are really neat.

This past August we had quite an encounter with a good sized pod- between 9-12. We were anchored to do some hailbut jigging. Fishing wasn't great, we were only really pulling up cod and getting lines tangled from them. Then we spotted the black fins popping up here and there in the distance. I think they were bubble netting some silver salmon between the boat and the mainland. After a while some of them got bored or full or whatever, and swam way out so they could circle back and check out the boat.

I guess the whales were getting bored, since they ended up getting very curious. Mind you, we were anchored in the water. They cruised up and circled around and under us just looking. My guy has video that I took on his camera of orcas so close to the boat I could have reached out and touched them. They backed off for a bit, did their whale thing, then one came back after a while. My guy's dad was leaning on the rail relaxing in the sun while fishing. One orca just popped up and blew about 5 feet behind him. He was sort of dozing until the surprise whale nearly gave him a heart attack. If a whale could laugh, I believe that one would have.

Cool stuff.

I actually really like watching the orcas more than the humpbacks. Orcas play. The pod I mentioned had one mom with a baby. You could see she was teaching the little fin to do what she was. She would swim one way, stop, and hang out until it popped up next to her.

They pretty much ended fishing for that day, but it was a ton of fun to watch. If there are otters around, and they all vanish- there are probably orcas headed your way.

Valdez is huge for fishing (sport fishing as well as commercial) plus they do something awesome if your wife is interested. In the middle of August they do a special one day Women's Silver Salmon Derby. Only the ladies can sign up and they give us two special parties, plus the big fish winner on that Saturday gets a decent money prize as well as STUFF. If she's interested, get your trip booked, and find her a charter ASAP. They book up super fast for Women's Derby. Then you should let me know, the couple of ladies I fish with love bringing other people to the party, and it's way more fun if you don't just have to meet a bunch of total strangers.
Guys can fish the regular derby too. It's fun and worth a ticket if you visit. Plus there's halibut too. Tons of bald eagles randomly hang out around town. You also sometimes see stuff like goats or sheep on the cliffs. Valdez has a huge feral rabbit population, there are foxes around, LOTS of bears, etc. Grizzly bears have been known to swim from one island in the sound to another if you are out on a boat too.

Seward is a good spot- they have a sea life center there that it sounds like you both might enjoy. It's a cute town too. You can book a special Encounter with different critters of theirs to get up close and personal with a sea otter, sea lion etc. It's really a fun place.

Homer has to be my favorite coastal spot. They have a sand beach. People in Alaska look at you funny if you go running around on it without those stupid Xtra Tough waterproof boots though. Like it's really THAT cold. I was just thrilled to stand on a real beach with SAND for the first time in 4 years. They do a lot of fishing, whale watches, and the whole town really reminds me of many of the Maine coastal towns.

Feel free to ask about other specific stuff. I know and know of many people who do a trip to Alaska as a major life celebration type trip. So far I don't think anyone has complained.
I wouldn't come up here in the winter, since you seem like you want to do the ocean thing. There also is more to do in the summer- Denali park tours, hot springs, gold panning, historic stuff, just more services and all are open during the summer. Plus the whole snow thing can put a damper on traveling from one place to another sometimes. Not bad for those of us who live here, but it would suck to get stuck somewhere and have that eat up your vacation.


You might benefit from Travel Alaska - Official State of Alaska Travel & Vacation Information and requesting some info too.
I honestly love it here in spite of the cost of living and how obnoxious it is to go anywhere out of state.



ETA:
And since you like whales so much, whatever you do- do NOT eat muktuk if anyone offers you some. You just won't want to.
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Last edited by Listessa; 10-16-2013 at 02:14 AM. Reason: Mmmm... blubber. Tastes whaley.
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Old 10-16-2013, 03:08 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Wow. Thanks Listessa.

I need to fully re-read this thread later to be able to fully bdigest it.

Ill respond in full later on but my anniversary is in October. We were up in Nantucket and trust me when I say that whale watching was not at the top of my list. But after seeing these creatures, my curiosity is really intrigued now. I only saw Minkes but would love to see bigger whale species now.

Ill re read your response in full and reply with any other questions later.

Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2013, 09:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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There is a lot more things to do in Alaska than just see whales. I spent 2 1/2 weeks in Anchorage one summer when I was a kid, Had a blast! I long to go back......just not in the Fall, Winter or for that matter spring, but love the summers.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:39 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As for time of year to come up, yeah end of may-mid September is usually pretty nice. Fall is beautiful too though its just rainy. As for whales, my wife and I went on a charter from Seward (cool touristy town) in June and saw 9 humpback whales, two orcas, and lots of harbor porposes. Cool trip and worth the $250 for sure considering it was like a 9 hour cruise.
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Old 10-16-2013, 10:42 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D3adpool View Post
Wow. Thanks Listessa.

I need to fully re-read this thread later to be able to fully bdigest it.

Ill respond in full later on but my anniversary is in October. We were up in Nantucket and trust me when I say that whale watching was not at the top of my list. But after seeing these creatures, my curiosity is really intrigued now. I only saw Minkes but would love to see bigger whale species now.

Ill re read your response in full and reply with any other questions later.

Thanks!
You're welcome.

Feel free to PM me too, in case I get busy with stuff and don't jump on much. I make beaded stuff, leather, fur, etc and have a couple of commissions going and some perspective inquiries so I'm getting busier. Plus I need to get my own gifts made for the holidays too.

Snaparen is right about fall in AK. You would be better off coming up during the summer. It will be a lot more fun and beautiful to see. The pretty part of fall doesn't normally last long (think a week or two) then the trees are naked and just waiting for snow on the ground. Sort of like November before Thanksgiving in New England. It is nice not to be too crowded with other tourists, but everyone puts their boats up for the season and you'll loose out on many fun things to see and do.

You and your wife should check out https://www.facebook.com/pages/Valde...3846?ref=br_tf
They do fishing charters out of Valdez and run one of the processing spots called Easy Freeze. I am sure they could give you info about the best time to visit for different sorts of marine mammal viewing and who to call about a sight seeing or whale watch.



Fall is great if you like hunting and want to pay non-resident permits and guides.

Also, over the past couple of years fall has been a lot more like fall in New England. It was around 50 (ABOVE zero) today. Normally Fairbanks Octobers all ready involve hardpack covered roads and -20 or colder.
If this keeps up, I've got to see about getting some real apple trees!
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The correct question is, "Why don't I need another gun?"
How strange to see a lagomorph of such bravery.
Loyal Order of the Water Buffalo- Don't Ask Us- We Will Tell!

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<--Click to descend to my feedback.
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