Cruises and Whale Watching

Plan on Cruises and Whale Watching in Washington

Wonderful hours of cruising while whale watching in Washington, plus spectacular shore and water vistas, are interspersed with landings and sightseeing visits along the way from Seattle through the San Juan Islands and on to Victoria, BC. Combine the relaxation of boating (as only a private yacht can) in some of the most unspoiled and beautiful natural environment with the adventure of port calls in vibrant, historic towns.

Seattle from MV Island Spirit

MV Island Spirit adventure cruises in Puget Sound and for Seattle to the San Juans

Choose your destination… whether it’s winding your way up the Guemes Channel or through the pristine beauty and serenity of the San Juan Island paradise or cruising to the awesome splendor of Deception Pass with its’ rock hewn cliffs and rushing, swirling, eddies.

Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor Washington

Whale watching is a rewarding activity out of Anacortes Washington. Spring, Summer, and Fall are special months in the San Juans with all the wildlife. Killer Whales, also known as Orcas, come close in to the San Juan Islands beginning in the spring and linger until October. This makes them very accessible to view by boat. 90 Killer Whales live and play in these waters throughout these seasons. The whales in the San Juan Islands have been the subject of local scientific study for the last 30 years and we have learned much about the Orcas.

Whale watching in the San Juan Islands

Whales as seen from the MV Island Spirit

The San Juan Island resident Killer Whales are fish and squid eaters. Their favorite food is salmon. Killer Whales are the largest member of the dolphin family. They can grow up to ten tons in weight and 30′ in length. Their life span ranges to 100 years. They stay in families which are called pods. The 3 resident pods that live in the San Juan Islands are J, K, & L. Each whale is distinguishable by a natural making at the base of its dorsal fin called a saddle patch. On many whale watching excursions the naturalist can tell you exactly which whale you are looking at, its family, and approximate age. Most tour companies even have photo identification charts onboard.

Cruise Group, photo Copyright © 2001 by Michael Brunk

Group on a cruise in the San Jaun Islands

The San Juan Islands are also home to many Transient Killer Whales. These differ from the Resident Killer Whales in several ways. First Transient Killer Whales travel in small pods of 3 – 8 whales. The transients are very shy and it is not unusual to find Transient Killer Whales traveling alone. Second, Transient Whales eat meat such as harbor seals and porpoise. Seeing San Juan Island Killer whales in their natural habitat is an exhilarating, magical experience you will never forget.

At this time of year sightings are almost certain and most whale watch companies have spotters who that locate the whales early in the day and follow their progress. This enables the tour boats to locate the whales easily. You are also very likely to see other marine mammals at this time. Porpoise, seals, Bald Eagles and a multitude of other birds are common in the San Juan’s. Not only do most whale watch companies have a naturalist onboard, they often feature underwater hydra-phones which allow you to listen to the whales as well. One of the vessels is the 100′ Mystic Sea which runs out of Anacortes, Washington. The Mystic Sea departs Cap Sante Marina, Dock A at 11 AM and returns at 4 PM. Coffee and tea are complimentary. Bring your own picnic lunch. Reservations suggested. Please call 1-800-308-9387

Whale Watching Tour Companies and Cruise Companies



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