Whale Watching Near The San Juan Islands


Welcome back, and after last weeks introduction into the whole road trip series, I hope you are ready for some content on the actual trip. The first experience I want to tell you about is the whale watching trip we went on near the San Juan Islands. So buckle up and let’s get right into this!

After arriving in Seattle in the afternoon, it took us a while to collect our baggage and the rental car. Afterwards, we headed into the city, and to the hostel we were staying for the first night, so our first day was over before it really began. Luckily, we had jetlag, so getting up at around 4 AM was really easy the next morning. From Seattle, we headed north through Washington, until we got close to the Canadian border. Specifically, we headed to Anacortes, which is about one and a half to two hours from Seattle.

After a quick breakfast, we made our way to the harbour of Anacortes and already in the parking lot we were greeted by wildlife. We saw a deer and a few racoons who were not at all shy of the people and cars that were around. From Anacortes, we took the WSF ferry to Friday Harbor, the main harbour of the San Juan Islands. The ferry did cost about 14 $ return, and the trip lasted about an hour and a bit. The weather was harsh, and we were not too sure we would have a good view during the whale watching tour, but as soon as we left Anacortes and headed to sea, it became clearer and clearer.

Due to the delay of our ferry (which you have to expect as there is nearly always a delay if it’s cloudy or foggy), we made it to our tour just in time and the boat was already waiting for us and was ready to depart. We received clothes that would prevent us from freezing and drowning if we fell into the water, received a short briefing on security onboard and then we were ready to go.

Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor

In the San Juan Islands, there are various different tour operators for whale watching tour, but they try to make sure you don’t miss out on whale sightings as they work closely together. They inform each other on sightings and therefore, it is highly unlikely that others can see whales in the wild and you do not while being on tour at the same time.

For people like me who do not feel THAT comfortable while being on a little speed boat on the open sea, such a tour is not much fun. You can see incredible and impressive nature and wildlife, but I felt horrible most of the time as I was afraid of the speed and the sea, but in the end, it was definitely worth it.

The first wildlife we saw on our tour, on which we by the way crossed the Canadian border, were some seals who were simply relaxing and having a good time on a bay. Then close to the lighthouse that is known as the most northwestern point of mainland USA, we saw some beautiful birds, and then the waiting began. For a while, we were simply cruising around, trying to cover an area where no sightings have been made all day. Then suddenly, via funk, our captain was informed that there may have been a sighting more south and then our speedboat did show us what the word speed actually means. Just when I felt close to puking due to seasickness, we arrived in the area.

After a few minutes, we were able to see 4 killer whales. They were the family of the T-18 and T-19. The most impressive part: we were able to watch them hunting seals and were actually able to witness how they were trying to surround and scare the seals in a way that they would jump into the water from their little rock island. After around 20 minutes, they seemed to have been successful as they united again and swam away jumping in and out of the water.

I might have to add that there are strict rules regarding whale watching at the San Juan Islands, so from time to time, our boat was not able to turn or have the engine running, as there is a minimum of distance to the whales that has to be kept when having the engine running. The tour lasted about 3 hours and as soon as we saw the whales time started to fly by and very soon the adventure was already over, but the memories will last! Seeing such majestic animals in their natural habitat was simply impressive and definitely a great way to start the road trip.

I hope you liked this first real part of the road trip series and if you want to find out more about the company we used for our tour, simply write or comment down below, and I’ll be happy to provide you with some additional information. I can’t wait to tell you more about the road trip next week when I’ll let you know everything about my favourite state in the United States!