Guaranteed Whale Watch Tours from 5 Departure Locations
Winter Orca whale watching from the iconic Seattle waterfront.
Many people are unaware that the traditional travel pattern of our local resident Orca Whales take them south into the Puget Sound in late October. It is not uncommon to have nearly 90 whales playing the waters near Seattle. As Seattle's only dedicated whale watch tour, we are in a unique position to be able to find them. Although whales are our #1 goal, there is also a wide variety of wildlife to encounter. Our guests commonly see seals, sea lions, porpoise, and a wide variety of sea birds throughout the winter.
In January and February our focus shifts a bit. In addition to the fish eating Resident Orcas, we begin looking for the mammal eating Transient Orcas. These are the powerful killer whales commonly shown feeding on marine animals of all sizes; seals, porpoise, even other whales. If we are lucky enough to witness a kill being made, you will never be satisfied just watching the Discovery Channel again! Every winter our spotters throughout the Puget Sound keep us informed when these whales show up along the Seattle coast.
As March approaches we start to see Gray whales arriving to feed in the shallow waters near Seattle and Everett. We still see Orca whales during this time, but our trips tend to be oriented toward Gray whale watching. To see these magnificent creatures in the calm and sheltered waters of the Puget Sound is an experience like no other.
Island Explorer 5
The Island Explorer 5 is simply the best whale watching vessel anywhere.
She is 98' long, 30' wide with a cruise speed of over 25 knots. She is also incredibly quiet which will enhance your whale watching experience. 20+ years of whale watching experience has gone into the design of the Island Explorer 5. She has three full walk-around outside viewing decks with cathedral bow seating that provides more outside viewing area than any tour boat in the region. There are also two large heated cabins with seating for all guests, state of the art A/V system, and large comfortable bathrooms. Onboard guests will enjoy our South of the Border Cafe with hot food, fresh products, beer and wine for sale.
- Outside rail viewing space on one side of the boat for all guests
- Indoor heated seating for all passengers
- Three viewing decks for the best possible vantage point over the water
- Best galley menu of any tour vessel in the area – fresh and changing with the seasons
- High-speed catamaran with speeds capable of 25+ knots, giving us one of the largest ranges in the industry
- AED defibrillator onboard with highly trained/qualified staff and crew
The Industry's Largest Range
Where will we go on the trip?
When whales are in the center of the map, most companies do see them – we just get more time. When the whales are up north or out west, the Island Explorer fleet are often the only American boats watching whales
Because of our vessel speed, size, and duration of our tour, we're able to guarantee whales. Often times, whales can move up to 100 miles in a 24 hour period. Every day is a new adventure, but rest assured that you're choosing the company with the highest whale sighting success rate in the area.
Whales have been spotted on 6431 of 6630 tours since 2002. No other company compares.
"Great time for all"We took our 6 yr old. We all had a great time! Saw two humpbacks, otter, eagles, porpoises, and many Orcas including a calf. One Orca jumped straight out of the water. The crew was knowledgeable and friendly. The captain let our daughter stand next to him and even take a turn steering (with help). Tamara was our naturalist and she was great! Would highly recommend and would definitely go again.
Great Deals in 2017!
Adults save up to $30 off any tour by booking over 30 days in advance or by taking a Wednesday tour. There are discounts for AAA, AARP, seniors 65+, military, or students with an ID. Midweek deals can be found March-June and September-November. Click below for more information on how to save big in 2017!
Winter in Seattle can be quite pleasant! Temperatures can range between 40 and 50 degrees between the months of November and March. Even though the weather can feel comfortable on land, we always recommend bringing layers – sweatshirts and jackets – as it feels 10-20 degrees cooler on the water. Rain doesn't have a negative impact on our tours as our excursion vessels are set up to go out in the elements and have lots of indoor space and cover.