I came for the whales. I stayed for the jellyfish.
There have been days when the whales have gone wandering, the sea lions scattered and the eagles elusive. But during the short Alaska summer, life abounds below the ocean surface as well.
While sheltering in a small bay from the afternoon winds that turn Chatham Strait into a lumpy, quease-inducing mess, I looked down and noticed an enormous red jellyfish. And another. Cool. They were softly swaying, trailing long translucent filaments.
I quickly dragged out the underwater housing for my camera. There's not much science involved in this. I haven't dropped the requisite thousands on a remote video viewing system, so it's strictly spray and pray. You stick the camera underwater, point it in the general direction of the jellyfish and start snapping.
Even in sheltered water, there's always some current or puff of wind moving the boat. Generally speaking, and I do so from experience, it's a good idea not to run the object of your photographic inquiry through the propellors.
I was feeling very pleased with myself, showing initiative and a bit of macho toughness, spending a couple hours with my arms plunged into the cold water. It wasn't until a dozen thin red welts started rising on my arms that I started having second thoughts.