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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

A lot of people come to Alaska specifically to see the whales, but they’ve already booked cruises during the shoulder seasons of early May or late September; those cruises are cheaper and with fewer passengers, but the weather is more likely to be bad and the whales are almost certainly not going to be as active or even, in the case of late September, starting to leave already! I try to steer travelers towards the months of June, July and August, the months when they’re most active. When someone spots the first whales, usually in late April, the whole town takes on a different buzz. The humpbacks in southeast Alaska come from Hawaii, where they’ve either been breeding or calving all winter; attracted by our long periods of daylight and nutrient-filled water, they nurse their calves the whole way and then the calves learn to feed, swim, and get their flukes up for diving. Those are the best trips, in my opinion – when we see that baby practicing getting his tail going.

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