A New Mate

Every time we travel up to Alaska we experience the wildlife in a new way. Sue and I are intentional about stopping and admiring the beauty and the animals. We always point out how the clouds seem “Just somehow different” every time we go to a new place.

This latest adventure to Alaska was especially exciting due to a new friend we made. It was the part of the season at the hatchery where we release the fish (salmon fry) into the ocean. Naturally this attracts an abundance of other creatures. Seals, eagles, otters, orcas, porpoises, and this time a particularly outgoing humpback whale. Normally during a release, a humpback might show up for a few hours or maybe a day. But this guy stayed for days and days.

He didn’t seem to be scared of us at all. In fact, we would all gather on the dock as soon as work was finished and wait with our cameras and cigarettes for our large friend to make an appearance. Almost every time he showed up and started bubble feeding right next to us! So close that we could reach out and touch his fin as he swam by like he was going in for a high five!

He would swim in a tight circle while he blew out a bunch of bubbles, scaring the tiny fish into the center, and then swim through the middle of the ring with his mouth wide open. It was so cool to see straight down into his throat.

His appearance at the hatchery was a moral booster. Despite the fact that he was devouring our salmon that we just released. Everyone captured some great footage and definitely made a new friend.

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