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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Alitak Whales

During our petroglyph survey at Cape Alitak feeding whales just off-shore were a common sight. At times we even had whales broaching within 100 yards of shore. The whales are probably the major reason why Alutiiq people created the petroglyphs in the first place. Sven showed me the petroglyph pictured below and explained that he thinks the two 'antennae' extending out from the front of the whales represent ropes. He interprets the glyph as a whale getting towed to shore, and I think he is right. Sven thinks the glyphs were created to help with catching whales - a little bit of hunting magic.

In any case, during our float plane trip home we got to circle a group of humpback whales that appeared to be 'bubble feeding' for herring. The whales would herd the feed into a big ball by blowing bubbles and then dive through the ball and eat the feed. Hard to say exactly what is going on in my video (kind of bumpy and not very long). But the whales sure are cool. Many of them appeared to be just hanging out in a vertical position in the water column and not moving much at all. And judging by all the white froth, I think they were blowing bubbles. Patrick


Akensee4miles said...

Nice to see you back at the blog Patrick - more whale info please. BTW, how much for a kitewing? Chugach glaciers and snowfields might be an ideal terrain for gliding.

Zoya, Patrick, Nora and Stuart said...

No idea on the cost of a Kitewing - My mom bought me mine for my 40th birthday. But my brother knows - I'll email him later and cc you on it.

As regards the whales - I talked to someone at work who knows more about these things than me and she say that what we saw is NOT bubble feeding. She says they circle from deep down below concentrating the feed with bubbles. Oh well - we just saw cool whale behavior. Patrtick