Monday, August 18, 2008

Day 5 Thursday: Whale of a Tale



After dogsledding, my mom and I went to Twisted Fish for lunch. It was a water's edge tourist trap, but they served up some of the freshest and best fish dishes I have ever tried. The salmon was cooked in coconut, like the usual treatment shrimp get on appetizer menus, and it really worked. The battered rockfish was amazing. It put halibut and cod to shame.

But what the hell was a crab tail? I have seen crabs and they definitely don't have tails. Was it like the pope's nose of the sea? It turned out to be the "apron" of the king crab. If you were comparing it to say, chicken, the difference would be that king crab legs are white meat and the apron is dark meat. I wouldn't order them again, but now we know, right?



Hi, total freak taking pictures of the food. Ummm, that doesn't show on my face, does it?



We checked out the salmon smokers, who were running the smokers the way my Uncle Pat does it...in other words, the right way.





This is a mine shaft where something worthy of a plaque happened, but I was too rushed to get a chance to read it.



The only way to follow up a day of dogsledding was with an evening of humpback whale-watching.



We came upon a group of humpbacks that were bubble netting.



Its most inventive technique is known as bubble net feeding: a group of whales blows bubbles while swimming in circles to create a ring of bubbles. The ring encircles the fish, which are confined in an ever-tighter area as the whales swim in a smaller and smaller circles. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the bubble net, mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp. This technique can involve a ring of bubbles up to 30 m (100 ft) in diameter and the cooperation of a dozen animals. Some of the whales take the task of blowing the bubbles through their blowholes, some dive deeper to drive fish toward the surface, and others herd fish into the net by vocalizing -wiki



I was on my own, but I kind of like being alone, and I really like sitting on the back of a boat alone just staring at the water.



Everything is beautiful. Everywhere.



This is a whale baleen. They don't look like scrub brushes like I always imagined they would.

Baleen or whalebone is the means by which baleen whales feed. These whales do not have teeth, but instead have rows of baleen plates in the upper jaw – flat, flexible plates with frayed edges, arranged in two parallel rows, looking like combs of thick hair. Baleen is not bone, but is composed of keratin, the same substance as hair, horn, claws and nails. Whales use these combs for filter feeding. Whales are the only vertebrate group to use this method of feeding in great abundance (flamingos and crabeater seals use similar methods, but do not have baleen), and it has allowed them to grow to immense sizes. The blue whale, the largest animal ever to have lived, is a baleen whale. - wiki



After a few passes at the whales, we went and stared at the sea lions.



And stared at the sea lions.



And stared at the sea lions.



Someone mentioned the recent video that had shocked everyone by showing two orcas playing catch with a sea lion. Maybe I'm going to hell for this, but at that moment I thought, "I would pay like a million dollars for that to happen right now."



There are time limits to paparazziing sea life, so we started motoring back to shore. Everyone went back inside to have a snack and warm up.

When we scattered my dad's ashes at sea six years ago, I had been thinking how perfect it would be to see a whale, and right then a blue whale had breached. I was sitting outside all alone after we had left the whales and the seals, just staring at the sea when I remembered that whale. I silently thought to myself, "Come on dad, just give me one more whale. Just for me." And this guy swam up.



2 comments:

Demara said...

that was a delightful story about your dad and i didn't know that about the bubbles and the crab. Thanks for sharing!

(found you through the facebook blog network)

Kiki Maraschino said...

Thanks. That's one of the nicest things about the internet.