Whale Watching in Washington

Whale Watching in Washington State – an all-day adventure!  Whale Watching is a great way to get out on the water, view beautiful scenery, meet new people, see something that not too many people get to, and participate in nature.  On this day, towards the end of the whale watching season, we were fortunate enough to indeed see a number of Orcas. The season typically runs mid-April to the beginning of October.  Go with a friend or make it a family affair.  We booked our trip through Mystic Sea Charters out of Anacortes, WA.  We were familiar with this company through the wine and dinner cruises via Hellams Vineyard in La Conner.  So, we said… why not?  There are other departing cities as well, depending on the company you choose.

The 100 ft. Mystic Sea leaves Anacortes around 11 am and returns to dock between 4-5 pm.  The route taken will depend on where the whales are spotted, but almost all go somewhere through the San Juan Islands chain.  We got the full tour as the pods were up north in the waters around Canada (British Columbia) and the San Juan Islands.  Juveniles played and enjoyed catching salmon.  The whale fin might remind you of a shark fin at times especially as it approaches a boat. Dun um, dun um, dun um, du da (for you Jaws fans out there).

What to expect?  You’ll take a trip there and back, ours was two hours each way.   There is indoor seating or enjoy the up close and personal viewing experience out on the deck.  Bring playing cards, visit with your neighbor, or grab a bite to eat.  Bring your own picnic or purchase food and drink there…chili, sandwiches, candy bars, chips, and the like.  Grab a map and follow along as the captain will provide information…. history, facts, geographical.  The boat will move to various spots within the waters for prime viewing.  There are other boats in the area as well.  Bring or wear layers as it will probably get chilly.  Also, if photography is a hobby and you would like to record the event, a DSLR camera with appropriate lens is recommended.  I brought a point-and-shoot camera with a pretty good zoom and was satisfied with some of the photos, but a larger lens would have really got the job done.  You might need to jump from one side of the boat to the other for the optimum viewing experience but do be courteous of the other passengers as everyone wants to get the best shot.

Come aboard and see the many treasures this experience has to offer!


One thought on “Whale Watching in Washington

  1. My mom and I took a trip about 5 years ago out of Bellingham and saw many Orcas. I got some fantastic photos with my point and shoot, but I agree that a longer zoom is in order, as the tour boats are not supposed to approach too close to the whales. In our case, the engine was off and the whales swam right up to our boat and under it! What a great trip!

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