Whale watching, or an “excursion to see marine wildlife,” as guides more often describe it, is at the top of the list of “must-dos” for anyone visiting Puget Sound or, more precisely, the Salish Sea near Seattle. Whether you see one of the many whale species that inhabit this area year-round, or a wide variety of other creatures that call the broad expanses of water here home, a boat trip with an experienced crew and often a naturalist is time and money well-spent.
Excursions leave from multiple locations along the coast from Seattle to Anacortes or further northwest, from San Juan Island or Victoria located on Vancouver Island. Depending on the vendor, you can enjoy an almost private tour on a boat accommodating as few as eight passengers, including the captain, or join a group of a hundred or more on a boat that will also provide lunch, beverages and restrooms for a six-hour trip extending for miles over the Sound leaving from Anacortes.
Whale Watching in Many Forms
Not only will you have the potential of seeing whales of varying varieties—Orca, Minke, Gray or Humpback—but multiple varieties of sea birds, eagles, sea lions, seals or porpoise are often spotted. There are small islands off the shoreline inhabited solely by these creatures, where they can be seen feeding, guarding offspring or in clear weather basking in the sun.
A cluster of baitfish swirling in circles beneath the water attracts the sea birds and gives the captain of your vessel clues for locating the whales. With everyone watching to assist in the search, the telltale mist of a whale’s breath as it rises to the surface elicits cries of excitement from the crowd. You will find yourself peering across the surface of the water anxiously anticipating the creature’s next breath.
While capturing these events with a camera is possible, especially with a telephoto lens, watching with your eyes and enjoying the moment the whale reaches the surface of the water is much more satisfying. The boat tour will have many close-up photos of these creatures available should you wish to purchase one.
Near Anacortes, there are several options for RV stays, but our personal favorite is Figdalgo Bay RV Resort for waterfront camping.
From along the road,