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Whale Watching Tours

We offer daily scheduled Whale Watching Tours from  Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands.  

 

Our tours take three to four hours and we head out from March to October in search of Orcas, Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, and Gray Whales. We spot whales on over 95% of our trips.  The best sightings for Orcas are in June, July, August and September. Humpbacks and Minkes are possible spring, summer, and fall and Grays are possible in the spring and fall.

We also frequently encounter sea lions, seals, porpoises, eagles, otters and sea birds. Our boats are some of the fastest whale watching boats, equipped with indoor and outdoor viewing platforms, bathrooms, and crewed by the most experienced captains and naturalists in the region.

Classic Tour

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Orcas Island
8368 Orcas Rd, Orcas, WA 98280

Orcas Island is a beautiful island located in the San Juan Islands and only accessible by the WA state ferry system.  A lovely and isolated island, this departure location is only recommend for guests planning to be on Orcas Island for more than 24 hours. This classic whale watching tour is 3 to 4 hours and it suitable for guests of all ages! 

  • Spring & Fall Tour Times​

    • 12:30 Check In, 1:00 PM departure

  • Summer Tour Times

    • 10:30 Check In, 11:00 departure

    • 3:00 Check In,  3:30 departure

Orcas Only

New for our 2023 Season

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Orcas Island
120 Sucia Dr. Eastsound Wa. 98245

Join us for the island's one and only Orca-focused whale watching experience.  Most tours offer a "whale guarantee" that includes any species of whale sighting. We are proud to offer you the only "Orca guarantee" around! 

 

On this exclusive experience we head out for an encounter with the region's Biggs killer whales.  With one of the highest success rates, over 90 percent, if you don't see them on your trip, come back again for half price! This ecotype has a thriving and healthy population and are found year-round in the San Juan Islands. They are incredible to watch and can move up to 150 miles in a single day. We use the fastest boats in our fleet and extend our tour time to consistently locate them. While our focus will be on finding the killer whales, we will encounter tons of wildlife along the way!  Tours are between 3 and 5 hours. We shoot for 45 min or more with the Orca. No children under 8 years old, as it can be a long and sometimes cold trip. Remember your Camera!

  • Suitable for guests over 8 years old

  • Three to Five hour tours

  • Tours available between May and September

Lopez Island 
3864 Fisherman Bay Rd, Lopez Island 98261

Lopez Island is a bucolic and quiet island located in the San Juan Islands and only accessible by the WA state ferry system.  Outer Island does occasional departures from Lopez Island during the summer months.  This departure location is only recommend for guests planning to be on Lopez Island for more than 24 hours. 

 

  • Summer Tour Times

    • ​11:30 Check In, 11:45 departure

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RECENT SIGHTINGS

Check out the posts below to see what our crew has been seeing out on the water with us!

Whale Watching Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long are your tours?

    • Our tours take between 3 and 4 hours.  ​

  • When should we arrive?

    • Check in begins 30 minutes prior to departure for all of our regularly scheduled whale watching excursions.  We ask you to take a moment to review your departure location and predicted travel time  the day prior to your trip. The only thing that is consistent about the traffic in this area is that it is inconsistent!  We cannot hold the boat for excessively late arrivals.  

    • The  location of our ORCA ONLY tour has a gate that will only be open 60 minutes before the start time of your tour.

    • If you have any questions please call our office directly at 360-376-3711  for assistance. ​

  • What should we wear?​

    • Layers!  The weather is temperate year round in the San Juan Islands, but our boats go very fast which will feel at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler on the water.  Having a sweatshirt or jacket is a great option.  Sunglasses are also a great idea.​

  • What route do we take?​

    • There is no set agenda or specific route that we follow.  Working with the Pacific Whale Watching Association means that we have access to the most up to date information on where whales have been spotted.  Paired with our extensive experience on the water of the Salish Sea we see whales on more than 95% of our trips.​  The whales in this area are not tagged and can swim more than 100 miles in a single day so we like having the flexibility to go anywhere!​​

  • What should we bring?​

    • Less is more!  The less you have to keep track the easier it is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip.  ​

  • Is there food served on board?​

    • We don't serve food onboard though we have light snacks available during the summer months.  We don't recommend eating any large meals directly before or during a tour.  While our boats are very stable and seasickness is unlikely the best way to avoid it is by focusing on the fun.  We recommend small snacks and water bottles instead.​

  • Is this tour appropriate for families with small children?​

    • Our Orca Only tour is suitable for guests 9 years and older, as the ride can sometimes be long and cold!

    • For our classic tours, absolutely!  We take passengers of all ages.  While some small children are too young to understand exactly what they are viewing they very much enjoy the experience of being on the boat.  All passengers, regardless of age need their own ticket. ​

  • Which departure time/location/date do we recommend?​

    • Whales don't wear watches so we don't think that there's a "best" time or date to see them.  It's always beautiful out on the water so choose the date and time that works best for your party and leave the whales to us!​

  • What's your cancellation policy?​

    • We offer changes, updates, and cancellations on our tours as long as they are more than 72 hours in advance of your departure date.  If a cancellation is made more than 72 hours in advance we are happy to refund 75% of your purchase price.  We do not make any changes, updates, or cancellations​ within the 72 before departure. 

  • How close can we get to the whales?​

    • We follow all local, state, and federal regulations while viewing wildlife. For most whales, guidelines stipulate that we view from approximately 100 yards away (200 yards for orcas, 400 yards for J, K, and L Pods during whale watching season). While there’s no rule about how close the whales can come to us, please plan for viewing from a respecful distance.

  • ​Are whales bothered by the boats?

    • ​We work closely with researchers and enforcement to develop guidelines that do not impact local wildlife. We travel at slow speeds around whales and view from respectful distances. Washington has the most conservative whale watching regulations in the world and we're happy to comply with anything that helps the whales be healthier and safer.  By being a member of the PWWA, we are contributing our knowledge to the shared research base and developing better regulations all the time.  We frequently observe whales feeding, mating, and even sleeping; which is an indicator that our presence does not change their natural behavior.

  • What happens if it is rainy or cloudy?​

    • We operate our tours in almost all weather conditions. The whales don't mind if the weather isn’t perfect, and neither do we.  As residents of the Pacific Northwest we expect to encounter a rain and our vessels offer great protection from the weather. The only conditions that would cause us to cancel a tour wind be a severe weather.​

  • Will seasickness be an issue?

    • Guests typically do not experience seasickness on our tours. Our vessels are very stable and the shelter of the many islands creates a calm environment on most days. If a person is very prone to motion sickness we suggest taking a non-drowsy Dramamine or Bonine the night before and the morning of the tour.

  • Are pets allowed on board?

    • No.  Pets of any kind, size, or weight are not allowed on our tours. While we can accommodate service animals we do not recommend our tours for those guests needing service animal support. ​

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