Greetings from southeast Alaska! Orcas, commonly called killer whales, are really members of the porpoise family. Like their dolphin cousins, orcas swim in small family groups (pods) and display the same intelligence, sociable group behavior, and occasional playfulness as other marine mammals in the porpoise family. I was with a small group of my own for a cruise vacation along southeast Alaska’s Inside Passage, and the captain of Fantasy Cruise’s Island Spirit was confident that we’d see at least one pod of orcas, along with other wildlife native to Alaska. We sure did; take a look at this amazing video.
The captain of our small cruise ship was as astounded as his passengers. In his 20 years of whale watching, he’d never seen anything like this. The orcas were not, of course, putting on a show for the benefit of us Alaska tourists — Captain Jeff Behrens suggested that the adults were teaching the two babies in the pod how to breach and how to slap their tails against the surface of the water. We were incredibly fortunate that the killer whales had decided to start their lesson right off the bow of his ship.
This travel experience is just about as clear an example of the benefits of taking a small cruise ship Alaska vacation as any. Small cruise ships like Fantasy Cruise’s Island Spirit safely cruise into smaller bays and inlets into which the larger cruise ships cannot fit. This pod of orcas, along with the humpback whales, seals, adorable sea otters, and other marine mammals, come into those tranquil bays — a day didn’t go by on our Alaskan cruise vacation that we didn’t see some incredible wildlife. As seen in the video, those orcas were in no hurry to leave, either; the smaller size of this cruise ship may have been less intimidating. While there’s no guarantee that you would see a family of killer whales teaching their babies to breach, the odds are better on a small Alaskan cruise ship vacation.
Thank you to Fantasy Cruises for hosting this southeast Alaska cruise travel vacation.