A few days ago in Juneau I went on another whale-watching boat ride and it was AMAZING! There’s an area in the bay near Juneau where the currents attract lots of fish, which consequently attract lots of whales. We saw 8 or 9 different humpback whales, including 2 or 3 calves swimming with their mothers.
The boat captains can’t directly chase whales, but they can guess where the whales are headed, guide the boat into their path, and wait. This is what our captain did. Two ginormous whales were traveling side by side, swimming and diving and a pretty good pace, when they noticed our boat ahead of them. They slowed and then floated at the top of the water, blowing air and occasionally calling (which sounded kind of like a gigantic stomach growling). They drifted to within 10 feet of our boat. !!!! Wow. I was so awed that I forgot about my camera for much of the time, but when I finally came to my senses I was able to take a few close-up photos.
They were so close to our boat that I had to zoom out, and then I still couldn’t fit all of them in the picture! After they moved away from us, our captain radioed another whale-watching boat in the area and bragged “I think all my passengers got covered in whale snot.”