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Beluga Whales

Whakatane, New...
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Beluga Whales

Hey there - we will be in Alaska in August this year and would love to see the Beluga Whales - is there any time of the day or tide times that we are more likely to see them?? Also where is the spot with the best chance of seeing them and best viewing point??

Thanks for your help.

Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: Beluga Whales

G'day TwinkD,

I will leave it to others for better advice, but I did find this:

whale-watching-alaska.com/whale/species.html

whale-watching-alaska.com/cook_inlet_beluga_…

We saw them in the Vancouver Aquarium BTW.

Edited: 03 January 2012, 13:35
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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2. Re: Beluga Whales

I'm with Frommy, I have only seen them in an aquarium (Seaport in Mystic CT I think it was).

I always love hearing trip reports that include a sighting of the belugas as I think they seem to be pretty rare.

Manitoba, Canada
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3. Re: Beluga Whales

This link should help you: alaskaoutdoorjournal.com/Wildlife/kpbeluga.h…

I saw them only once, on my first visit to Alaska, at Beluga Pt. The beluga population has fallen dramatically, so don't count on seeing any. It's a matter of luck.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Beluga Whales

We saw them in Aug 2009 on the last day of our trip as we drove back to Anchorage to return the RV. The whales were next to the shore near Beluga Point. It was raining hard and they were so close to shore that we would have missed them, except a couple of knucklehead tourists stopped their car and dashed across the road.

This is the bore tide schedule for 2011. Apparently the whales chase the salmon in on the tide. …alaska.gov/parks/…11boretidesched.pdf

I didn't see a 2012 schedule but keep googling for it. The 2009 schedule showed the tide at 9:30am and we saw the whales at 8am. Good luck!

Wasilla, Alaska
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5. Re: Beluga Whales

The say that the incoming tide is the best time to see them, but I've seen them at several tide conditions all along the Turnagain arm. I've seen them the most at Bird Point, which is 30 miles south of Anchorage at mile 96 of the Seward Highway.

The biggest key is just keeping your eyes open for the hump of the white backs coming out of the water. It can easily be mistaken for a white cap if the wind is blowing.

Just a word of caution... If you see wildlife along the highway, remember you are still on a major, busy highway. If you are going to stop, try and find a turn out or get as far off the road as possible. If you cross, remember a lot of the traffic are not tourist. They are trucks & buses moving at 60 miles an hour and take a lllloooonnngggg time to get stopped. Be careful!

Cadiz, Kentucky
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6. Re: Beluga Whales

A friend of ours who lived in AK for a couple years had told us "Just drive around the Turnagain Arm, and you can always see them". He definitely exaggerated a LOT!! We were really lucky and spotted them at Bird Point and Beluga Point on our first trip which was in late August. Since then we've tried about 10 different times (including a couple times on that same trip) and never were that lucky again.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Beluga Whales

I was the host at Bird Point for two years and I could time them with the tides during certain times of the year (and view them from my kitchen window). Basically, they follow the fish runs - Late August through September is a good time (guaranteed on Labor day) - or late April to mid May. An hour after low tide for the area you are viewing is when they come in. Just remember that figuring the low tide times may involve more math thanjust reading the tide charts - for Bird Point the low tide is 2 1/2hours after Anchorage.

If they are not chasing fish in the Arm you can often spot them at the mouth of Turnagain Arm but they are way out there and you need good binoculars.

June, July and the first half of August you will be very lucky to spot them.

Adirondack, New York
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8. Re: Beluga Whales

During all my visits to AK I saw them once close up but after that I never looked for them again. If you really want to see many Belugas close up then go to Hudson Bay. Churchill, Manitoba in July and August is the place where they congregate

Edited: 04 January 2012, 14:11
USA
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9. Re: Beluga Whales

johnnylawless, great info from a bird pt. expert!

My husband became a bore tide chaser & that was fun. But the best was when a girl friend & I were climbing bird ridge & serendipity!! We sat at the top just in time to see not only a bore tide but surfers riding it!

The belugas are also serendipity but it seems we saw them more years ago then in recent times & we saw them when the hooligan were running in the early season. I've read in the daily news that their numbers are way down in recent years so those that see them are indeed lucky.

Anchorage Alaska
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10. Re: Beluga Whales

10 years ago, and earlier, we used to see hundreds of Belugas in Turnagain Arm. Now days it is not as common as the numbers have declined. Lots of theories why but I don’t think anyone knows for sure.

We still occasionally see them usually starting on the incoming tide through the outgoing tide and they seem to be more numerous when there is fish to chase; Hooligan in April and May, Salmon in June, July, and August. The best spot to see them is anywhere you can safely pull off the side of the highway along Turnagain Arm. Watch for others pulled off and looking towards the water.

Now when ever we see them my wife and boys break out in song. “Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea…….”