We had a great weekend camping on the beach in Seward. (More on that later this week.) But one of the highlights was on the way home.
Just before we reached Girdwood on the Seward Highway we saw the distinctive sign of wildlife –- cars pulled off haphazardly along the road. Never one to miss the fun, we joined the party.
And, sure enough, beluga whales were swimming just offshore in Turnagain Arm. (Belugas – white or gray backs poking out of the muddy water -- have to be just about the most difficult animals to photograph, thus the lack of pictures with this post.) We watched them for 10 minutes or so before the pod moved off and we did the same.
Noah and Katy were with us, and they said it had been years since they'd seen the whales. It had been two or three years for us too. And talking with others today, whale sightings aren’t as common as in the past.
For years, Cook Inlet's number of belugas has been shrinking, from about 1,300 in the 1980s to about 375 today. Scientists have spent plenty of time studying the decline. I don't know what the immediate future for belugas holds, but I did see several young belugas in the pod.
And on Sunday, they gave us the perfect ending to a nice weekend.