A humpback whale calf has been disentangled from fishing gear near Juneau.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the calf and its mother were spotted Wednesday morning by a charter fishing boat near Halibut Cove on Shelter Island. The whales appeared to be heading up Lynn Canal at about 5 knots. Other whale-watching boats monitored the pair until a NOAA team could arrive on-scene.
“The calf was trailing a bouy and it was entangled in the line, said Speegle. “Our whale disentanglement team did spend several hours observing the lines and how they were wrapped around the calf to figure out exactly which lines to sever in order to free the calf.”
The five-member, specially-trained disentanglement team also attached a transmitter to track the calf in case it raced away before they could return in a separate boat to free it.
“Mama was nearby and she was very protective of her calf throughout this whole operation,” said Speegle. “At times, she tried to position herself between the rescuers and the calf to protect her calf.”
Speegle said the calf was freed from the fishing lines Wednesday evening just west of Berners Bay.
- About 100 people attended a re-election campaign kick off event in Juneau for Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Mallott. Walker set aside a few minutes to take our questions.
- Gov. Bill Walker says he wouldn't go through the hassle of calling another special session this year if he didn't expect Alaska legislators to pass the bills on his agenda. But Walker faces an uphill battle in selling skeptical senators on his new tax bill.
- The bow of an abandoned boat could be seen this weekend drifting up and down the Gastineau Channel between Lemon Creek and the Douglas Bridge. A broadcast warning to mariners was issued Saturday, but no further action was being taken as of Sunday afternoon.
- With a surge in vehicle thefts in Anchorage, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. One group mobilizing through Facebook is reuniting stolen vehicles with their owners. Members of the A Team, as they call themselves, say they are filling a void left by overworked police.