This is a sponsored post on behalf of Major Marine Tours, all opinions are mine.
If you’re planning a trip to Alaska, chances are you’ll want to see whales in their natural habitat. Most whale watching cruises are “wildlife cruises” with a a side of whales if they happen along the cruise route. The Orca Quest Cruise from Major Marine Tours puts whale watching front and center, with one singular goal, get you to the where the whales are.
That’s what I posted on Instagram last week after our Orca Quest Cruise. But that wasn’t quite true. It should have said WHALES ACHIEVED. We not only saw Orcas but we saw a gray whale and a humpback whale too. Oh and Dall Porpoise who look like mini Orca Whales. Along the way we also saw Mountain Goats, Sea Otters, Stellar Sea Lions and millions of birds.
Let’s back this up though. Like I said the Orca Quest Cruise has one mission, get you to the whales. It’s unlike any other whale watching cruise you’ll ever take. As soon as the Orca Song cleared the Seward Harbor the captain opened it up and headed out in search of Orcas. We made a beeline down the west side of the channel, making good time and heading for whales. We finally slowed down around Bear Glacier where we watched a Gray Whale lazily feeding but soon we were Orca bound once more.
It Felt Promising
20 minutes later we rounded a small point and came into view of another of small cove. There were two other boats there, both whale research vessels, it felt promising!. The captain of the Orca Song had been informed that Orca Whales were in the cove feeding. We slowly made our way over in their direction, careful not disturb them or make them feel trapped or uneasy.
When we came close enough they shut the engine off and we quietly drifted while we watched the whales feed. The crew dropped a hydrophone in the water and occasionally we could hear pops and clicks and squeals from the whales. For the most part we drifted silently, watching intently. The matriarch of the pod had a small calf with her and as they came closer and closer the entire boat would react in unison to that tiny, little whale. An audible collective sigh of adoration filled the air each time she popped up. Some of us may have even had to wipe their eyes a little.
When our time watching the whales was up, yes you only spend a certain amount of time in the vicinity of the whales before you have to leave, we were mugged. By an Orca. On the cruises they call any approach by an Orca a mugging and we were mugged by big male who came right up to us and rolled over under the water. It was incredibly exciting. After that we had to wait until he moved on before we could move, just to maintain the safety of the whales. And as we turned to leave the cove a humpback whale that had been feeding behind us made a huge splash with his flukes. It certainly made leaving the Orcas easier.
As an Alaskan I feel like sometimes I take the beauty and majesty I live with every day for granted. It’s just that it’s everywhere all the time, so much beauty you become used to it. On that day, on that cruise, it was like seeing Alaska for the first time, again. Breathtaking. Stunning. Unbelievable. If the Orca Quest Cruise can make a lifelong Alaskan feel like Alaska is fresh and new again, what’s it going to do for you?