Friday, June 23, 2006

Glacier Bay National Park

June 21 and 22, 2006

Happy summer solstice! I can't imagine a more amazing place to spend the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere than here in Glacier Bay. The life is so abundant and amazingly diverse. A coastal Brown Bear mother with THREE cubs near Russell Island , Mountain Goats on Gloomy Knob, a juvenile Bald Eagle being harassed by Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even a Tufted Puffin and Rhinoceros Auklet side-by-side.

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Steller Sea Lions

June 2006

Here in Southeast Alaska we have a healthy population of Steller Sea Lions, though the population in western Alaska has been declining. On this haul-out near Inian Pass the Sea Lions have taken over this small island in its entirety! The sight, sound, and smell are all overwhelming! Aye Caramba!

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Humpback Whales in Icy Strait

June 20, 2006

This evening after leaving Elfin Cove in Cross Sound we entered Icy Strait to find these Humpback Whales feeding together. The light was simply mesmerizing as we watched these animals sub-surface feed together. Time and again this little calf would be left out of the activities, only to splash and play away from the adults. Here in Southeast Alaska the sun doesn't sink until after 9:00PM and the "golden" light seems to last and last...perfect for photography!

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Orcas in Alaska!

June 19, 2006

This afternoon in Chatham Strait between Chichigof and Admiralty Islands in Southeast Alaska we encountered this group of resident Orcas. It was hard to know how many animals were in the group as they had spread out into a foraging formation across the channel. There was a beautiful new calf, still yellowish in color where white should be! When hard rain finally made us turn the adult bull in the group gave us an aloha breach!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Favorite Marine Mammals!

June, 2006

I have been privileged to have daily sightings of my favorite marine mammals here on Oahu! Sometimes shy and elusive, and sometimes difficult to catch with a camera (especially the oldest one...AHHHHH DAD!) Sometimes they can be heard and seen from GREAT distances! Colorful, cute, cuddly, and curious these ocean critters go by the names of Kailia, Hannah, and Justin. They are my favorite photographic subjects...just wait until I can show these images to future husbands and wives!!!!

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Hawaiian Monk Seal Sighting!

June 3, 2006

Rumours of a female Hawaiian Monk Seal have been circulating here on the North Shore of Oahu, and finally I see her! She has been marked with the brand "N6" on her left side. She is a bit shy, and I can only float at a distance on the surface of the ocean as she leaves her resting place in the underwater lava caverns to breath. These animals are very rare in the lower Hawaiian Islands, and I am thrilled at the chance to see and photograph this one. Mahalo nui loa!

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Leaving Maui in a cloud of dust!

May 22, 2006

My last day on Maui for this round. How appropriate to find a pod of beautiful Pantropical Spotted Dolphins. And I'm out of here in a cloud of (dust)...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Maui Greens

May, 2006

Throughout the month we have been swimming with and filming Green Sea Turtles. It is this time of the year that adult females will start to crawl onto Maui beaches to dig egg chambers and deposit eggs. New and full moons are the time to watch, usually early in the morning. Walking Maui beaches in the pre-dawn hours will reveal the tell-tale turtle tracks where the female has crawled. PLEASE report any crawls you might encounter here so that we might be able to monitor and protect these sites. MAHALO!

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Snow White Spinner

May 21, 2006

Late spring is a wonderful time to see newborn baby Spinner Dolphins here on Maui. This calf has been born with an incredibly light coloration. It may darken with age, but chances are good that this animal will be "Snow White" for its entire life. When seen in the company of "normal" spinner dolphins this calf really sticks out!

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Hawaiian Spin Doctor

May 19, 2006

Perhaps the most beautiful dolphin on the planet is the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphin. These animals have the unique ability to spin while leaping, creating amazing photographic opportunities. If you look closely you can see a small fish called a remora attached to each of these dolphins. It often seems that the dolphins are trying to spin in order to remove these pesky parasites. Just what the doctor ordered...

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A Masked boarding!

May 19, 2006

This morning Captain Jeff Kalbach and I were out looking for marine mammals when a juvenile Masked Booby decided to pay us a visit. We slowed the boat to an idle and the booby landed in the water right beside us. It then decided to jump up on the pontoon and proceeded to make itself right at home. We continued on our run and that booby stayed with us all the way back to Lahaina before flying off. A booby in the hand...

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Manta Madness

May 12, 2006

After spending the morning looking for dolphins, we stop and drift over a manta ray cleaning station on the west side of Maui. These huge manta rays swim onto the reef from deep water in order to be cleaned of parasites by small wrasse. Literally hovering over the reef, the fish go right to work to clean the big mantas, sometimes going right into their mouths! Amazing!

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