Welcome to the next installment of our Seattle Adventures series! To see the main page with links to all of the installments, go here!
When we finally made the decision to take a trip out to Seattle, going whale-watching was one of the very first things we knew we had to fit into our tight schedule. After all, it wasn’t something that can be done everywhere.
We also had to make the decision on how to get to the starting location of the tour, which was a decent amount of time away from Seattle. We could either drive and then take a ferry, or get there much, much faster by sea plane.
Well, you know us by now…
Sea plane = no brainer.
We booked a Sea Plane/Whale-watching package from San Juan Safaris. It was convenient to have it all be grouped together and have everything coordinated for us.
After we woke up late (I seem to have a problem with cell phone alarm clocks), we zoomed over to the sea plane terminal at Lake Union. Luckily, there was a little delay, so we got to relax for a bit after rushing out of the hotel.
The plane was small, but not overwhelmingly small. There were two rows with a center aisle. Tate was the lucky chosen one to ride in the front with the pilot on the way there, while us cool kids sat in the back with our maps.
It was really fun taking off in the water and we were immediately greeted with a magnificent view of the city (minus the dreary clouds – luckily no rain, just clouds).
Our pilot even circled around the Space Needle, allowing us to get a few photos.
We also got a nice view of the cruise terminal…(Is it time for our next cruise yet?)
…as well as some surrounding landmarks, like the Gas Works Park.
It really was amazing seeing all these remote beautiful houses separated from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The sea plane took us to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. You can see from the map below that we were almost in Canada, but not quite.
This was the cutest little town ever.
We had a little time to kill before the boat departed for the tour, so we ate breakfast (all of the places were packed!) and walked around looking at the little shops and the beautiful view of the harbor.
Why move to a new house when you can just move the house to the new location, amiright?
The tour was on a small 55 foot boat with about 20 or so people on it. There was a heated indoor area with cushioned benches, and the outside had a walking area and railings all around the perimeter. Here are some photos of the boat, courtesy of the San Juan Safaris website.
Camera in hand, Brett was ready.
The tour is labeled as approximately 3.5 hours and started out with us traveling to the areas that are known to be popular spots for whales. There is no guarantee that you will see a whale, or anything, since it’s wildlife-dependent, but they keep in constant communication with other tours to give each other information in order to maximize the potential for whale-spotting. San Juan Safaris does have a 90+% whale-sighting record, though, so there is a pretty good chance you will see them!
The ride itself was incredibly enjoyable…we saw more beautiful, remote houses, other wildlife like Bald Eagles, and overall splendid scenery.
But, what we came for was whales…would we get to see any?
We were able to track down a small family of Orcas.
What I loved about our tour was that they maintained the safety of the Orcas and followed the regulations regarding allowed proximity to them. We never purposefully got too close, and if one got close to us (sneaky whales!) we would head in the other direction until it was a safe distance. There was another tour that showed up a bit later while we were watching and they obviously didn’t follow regulation, and that was saddening.
But back to the whales!
It was so funny being out on the deck with everyone. The whales would go under water, and you would have to scan around waiting for one to pop up out of the water, and when it did, you heard the overwhelming “CLICK, click, CLICK, clickclickclick” of everyone’s cameras.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get any super-extreme jumps out of the water…the whales were pretty much just floating around and popping in and out a little, but I am so happy we saw a decent amount of them.
I think they told us we had ventured into Canada, so of course we took a photo with Canada behind us. At least we think that’s Canada, who knows. And I’ve been to Canada before, so I don’t know why that was fascinating, but I tend to get overexcited about most things.
More animals on the way back!
When we got back to Friday Harbor, we were waiting by the sea plane dock and one of the pilots asked Brett if he could help position the plane up to the dock. The winds had picked up and they could use the help to slide the plane into the dock and hold it there while they tied it down.
Brett thought he was the coolest.
He even helped another plane out too.
Directing planes like a boss. Or a robot, I really can’t tell what he’s doing here…
Continuing with the “Brett is special” theme, he got to ride in the front with the pilot on the way back to Seattle. I bet he wishes he could do it again with his newest camera equipment, hahaha the life of the photographer.
Oh, hello there cruise ship.
This was certainly well worth the price in my opinion. Sure, I would have not felt the same had we not seen any whales, but that’s a risk you take when booking wildlife tours. Plus, the rest of the experience was amazing, too. Definitely block out an entire day for this adventure!
I hope you enjoyed whale-watching with us today! Stay tuned for more installments of our Seattle Adventures, and don’t forget you can go to the main page to see all the posts.