Weekend trip to the San Juan islands

05 February 2012

We wound up in Washington during one of the best times of the year to visit: whale season! Okay, it's not technically called "whale season", but they're around! May through mid October are the best times of the year to go whale watching in northern Washington. We chose to visit the orcas in mid September.

After renting a car and making the drive to Anacortes, which was just over an hour away from Seattle, we hopped on the ferry to the San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor). Parking for the day was just $5 and the ferry was another $14. With only about 50 minutes between the docks, the ride was painless.

Following TripAdvisor's recommendations, we made reservations with the Western Prince II for a 2PM departure and couldn't have been happier with our decision! Before leaving, we grabbed some marionberry scones (a northwest indulgence) and a hearty side salad across the street at The Doctor's Office.

Our tour guides were extremely knowledgable about the orca pods, and we spent the beginning of our boat ride getting to know the whales like they do. They provided informational booklets, low-cost snacks,   and binoculars. Additionally, one of the guides was kind enough to allow me to borrow his expensive telephoto Nikon lens to capture all of the magic of the tour. You, and I, can thank him for my photos!

Not only did we see seals, an eagle's nest and some other incredible wildlife, we spotted nearly 50 orcas! That's more than they've seen at one time all year. Our tour was worth every penny; Western Prince definitely has my whale-watching vote!

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