Flying Longhorns Chill Out, Witness Whales Bubble-Netting in Alaska

Water you can do more than stand ankle-high in. Ice you can do more than drop in your drink. Temperatures that evoke a walk-in fridge, not a boiler room.

A group of Flying Longhorns got all of this and more as they watched whales, spotted grizzlies, and got close to glaciers on their recent cruise to Alaska.

They saw not just the usual humpback breaching and spouting, but also the rarer “bubble-netting”—a special group hunting technique employed by these huge and hugely intelligent mammals. More on that in a minute.

First, the vitals. Just over three dozen travelers sailed together, with four of the couples celebrating their 40th wedding anniversaries. Texas Exes associate executive director Kim Gundersen hosted, along with her husband, Nils, and they celebrated their first grown-ups-only trip since having children.

The Flying Longhorns contingent aboard the 360-passenger M.V. Silver Shadow gelled quickly and cohesively, Gundersen says.

“The Texas group was known as the group that closed down the restaurants, the bars, and the lounge,” she says. “We left the casino to the Ole Miss group.”

With the fundamentals in place, they got down to business—which just happened to be taking in spectacular natural scenes. The whale-watching near Juneau was particularly unforgettable, Gundersen says.

The group witnessed “bubble-netting”—when humpbacks work together to trap herring between them like a whirlpool. They’d see the seagulls start to swarm above first as they saw the herring congregating below.

Then the whales revealed themselves.

“When they came up out of the water for the first time, 60 people were silent,” Gundersen says. “Then there was a collective gasp.”

Gundersen didn’t have time to grab a camera and tape the scene herself, but check out the amazing video below to see how beautifully and intelligently whales work as a team.


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