Shore excursion: Alaska

Diane Grady is impressed by the ingenuity of whales on a wildlife cruise though Alaska.

WHAT

Watching humpback whales "bubble net fishing".

WHERE

Alaska's Inside Passage, a scenic stretch of waterway known for its dramatic glaciers and prolific wildlife.

THE SHIP

Diane cruised with her husband, Chris Komor, and two friends on Lindblad Expeditions' National Geographic Sea Lion (expeditions.com). They cruised for eight nights, from Sitka to Juneau, via Glacier Bay.

THE EXPERIENCE

"Every day, there were different shore excursions to choose from - you could go walking, kayaking or out in a Zodiac - so we had many wonderful wildlife experiences. On our first day, we saw a group of Humpback whales 'bubble net fishing', which was absolutely fascinating.

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"One whale specialises in blowing bubbles, to create a large 'net' of bubbles around the herring. Some of the bubbles are smaller and rise quickly to the surface, while others are larger and take longer to rise, so it creates a complete net of bubbles, which we could see from the surface.

"Another whale specialises in singing and the guides put a microphone into the water so we could hear it. The whales all rise up through the centre of the bubble net in perfect unison, breaching with their big mouths open to get a feed. It's such an amazing behaviour.

"If you listened for when the song changed, you would know exactly when they were going to surface.

"Another wonderful wildlife sighting was watching two adult wolves and seven baby wolves frolicking on a beach. A huge brown bear came sauntering along, but took one look at the wolves and left. We also saw lots of dolphins and birds."

VALUE FOR MONEY

"I think the cruise was fantastic value for money. All the activities were included and the naturalists on board the ship were so impressive. They have a way of conveying information in a form that you can digest and it is enough to satisfy you without ever becoming boring."

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