Alaska is renowned for its natural beauty and its abundant wildlife, and there’s little wonder for this – it’s a place of extremes, with magnificent landscapes populated by moose, bears, and elk. But while large land mammals like Kodiak Brown Bears and Roosevelt Elk may be the first things that come to mind, they aren’t the only ones waiting in this wonderful ecosystem – equally impressive is the population of sea mammals living in and around the water. For this blog, we’re going to detail some of our favorite aquatic creatures, what makes them so special, and how you can best experience them! So get your cameras ready, these sea mammals will make for some great Kodiak wildlife photography!
Killer whales, gray whales, humpbacks, Finbacks, and Minke whales are all regular characters in the waters surrounding Afognak Island State Park. They migrate with 3-40 whales to a pod, often with many whales breaching at once to create a dazzling display of aquatic acrobatics. Gray whales come through in April and May, humpbacks are best seen over summer, and killer whales are most abundant from early May to early June.
Seal Bay is an aptly named rearing ground for seals, and during the months of May & June they gather in masse to birth and raise their pups. We love to watch them sunbathe on the rocks, teach their young to swim, or – if the salmon are running – perhaps even chase down fish near the mouths of shallow rivers!
While we try not to play favorites with the wildlife here at Afognak, if we had to pick our favorite animals, sea otters might make the top of the list. With the most valuable pelts in the world, sea otters were hunted to near extinction in the early 20th century, but thankfully they’ve made a healthy comeback. In addition to being heart-meltingly adorable, they’re also pretty incredible animals: one square inch of their skin contains 10 times as many hairs as we have on our entire head, they’re one of only a few mammals to use tools, and they eat at least 25% of their bodyweight in food a day – for a human, that would be 37 lbs! Our favorite fact about sea otters? They have pockets in their sides where they store their favorite rocks and pebbles. That’s right – sea otters pick favorite pebbles to carry around. If that doesn’t make your day brighter we don’t know what will.
Plan Your Afognak Wilderness Vacation Today!
Want to experience some of the marine life for yourself? Adventure awaits you! Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page, take a look at some of our past guest photos, or learn about our rates. We can’t wait to hear from you, and we hope to see you back at this blog for more tips and information about all that Alaska has to offer!