We are at Icy Strait Point, Alaska, a tourist destination just outside the small village of Hoonah, Alaska. We were told it is one of the few places on earth where the humpback whales have learned how to bubble net feed. These hungry whales have just returned from their tropical homes 8,000 miles away where they live off of their stored fat, give birth and do no feeding. They are now in a feeding frenzy, consuming three thousand pounds of fish per day.
One whale dives deep and then releases a circular curtain of bubbles from the blow hole. These fast rising bubbles act as a barrier to the school of herring or krill. Other whales herd the small fish into this circular bubble confining net. Numerous whales will then rapidly surge upward with gaping mouths, scooping up bushels full of herring or krill and an occasional sea gull in the process. Fewer than one hundred whales know how to do this feeding trick.