Muir was especially fortunate to witness Alaska's humpback whales before the onslaught of commercial whaling reduced the species' population to just a tiny fraction of its original size. As stunning as it is to experience humpbacks today, it is almost impossible to imagine what it must have been like for Muir to behold waters teeming with ten times as many humpbacks as there are now.
As I write this, I'm making plans to do another scouting trip for a film I hope to produce about beaked whales. I'm optimistic about this new venture because my trip to Southeast Alaska helped lead to the making of Secrets of the Humpback Whale, a Discovery Channel documentary narrated by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon. Secrets of the Humpback Whale has stunning underwater footage of singing humpbacks shot in Hawaii and equally spectacular footage of bubble-net-feeding humpbacks filmed in Southeast Alaska. But I implore you to go see whales yourself, for neither the small screen nor words can ever do justice to the scale and majesty of such a grand subject.