Off Young Bay along the Gastineau Channel you can find the second largest city in the United States by area and the capital of Alaska, Juneau. Fun fact: Juneau has a land area that is almost as large as Rhode Island and Delaware combined, but despite it’s size Juneau can only be accessed by sea or by air.
As we departed our ship and boarded the bus to our excursion for the day, we were greeted by what the locals call “blue clouds”, or the sky peeking through the cloud coverage, as the city normally experiences 200+ days of precipitation a year. We were excited to not be greeted by sheets of rain, because we were going to see the Mendenhall Glacier and go whale watching!
Our bus pulled up to the Mendenhall Glacier visitor center, and as we headed inside we got the chance to learn all about the glacier and the Juneau Icefield, the fifth largest icefield in North America. Then we headed outside to see the 12 mile long glacier.
After wandering around the path along Mendenhall Lake examining the glacier, we loaded back on our tour bus to head to our next location to go whale watching. Now, normally on these excursions one or two whales will be spotted, but both of our naturalists said we got to see something very rare. We witnessed about 15 different humpbacks, including Sasha the AK whale! We even saw three groups of two whales, which our naturalists said was pretty cool since humpbacks rarely travel or feed in groups.
We trolled around just watching them dive and feed. It was a pretty cool experience, and one that has not been easily forgotten!