Book Yourself A Boat Tour
One of the most popular whales to see in Alaska are the bowhead whale. Their name is because of their arched lower jaw that looks like an archer’s bow. They used their triangular heads to break up to two feet of ice to breathe easily. Their favorite way to catch prey is to swim with their mouths open to let the water in, trapping zooplankton, copepods, and krill, then they close their mouths to swallow. If they want to eat enough calories to survive, they will need to eat up to two tons of food each day, so swimming with their mouths open is the easiest way to go.
The bowhead whales are known to come close to the shore in Barrow in April or May. You might also spot them later in the year as they migrate past the area, which happens between August and October. If you want to get up close and personal to Alaska’s whales, make sure to book yourself a boat tour as this is your best chance to spot them. However, some species do tend to give the onlookers a shore show. They tend to be loners, but if you are lucky enough, you might see a pod of bowheads