You can easily book online. Payment in full is required.
If you prefer to book directly with us, please call or email and we will make the arrangements. A deposit of $50 per person is requested to secure a reservation. Deposits and payments can be made by credit or debit card.
We offer guests the opportunity to experience the whales and other wildlife from the decks of our catamarans. Many of the other “small boats” tours pilot vessels slightly larger than our catamarans, but they carry between 18 and 24 or 40 passengers. These boats have been designed primarily to maximize revenue not your whale watching experience.
We have designed our boats to maximize access to the whales and wildlife and provide the greatest comfort while traveling to and from the whale watching areas. This allows you to spread out and move freely around the full perimeter of the deck to enjoy the views, sights, and sounds free from excess noise, crowding, and most importantly other people blocking your view.
Our catamarans provide the most stable platform from which to view the wildlife while drifting and the smoothest most comfortable ride out and back on days when the water might be a little choppy.
Yes! If we don’t find a whale for you we will refund your payment.
The humpback whales in Icy Strait have one primary focus for their time spent here – eating. That being said there really is no period during the day during which you can predict that the whales will be more active. They often take advantage of the slacking tides to rest for a period of time but most of the time we are out on the water we observe them feeding and enjoying some exercise between meals. We have been out at Pt. Adolphus in the late summer and have enjoyed the whales feeding and being amazingly active in the complete darkness of the middle of the night. They feed as often as they are able and rest and play a bit between meals.
YES!We are aware of your ship’s “all aboard” time and plan our tours so you are back with plenty of time.However, in 2020 there are days with more than one ship here so please look carefully to choose the tour that works with your ship’s schedule.
The weather in Icy Strait varies widely during the summer months and may change significantly on any given day. You might expect at worst some winds and heavy rain while hoping for a sunny, clear 70 degree day. Typically we have rain showers mixed with some sunny breaks so being prepared for some moisture but also being ready to enjoy some sunshine is advised.
It is best to dress in layers in preparation for a variety of conditions on the water. A tee-shirt base layer with a sweatshirt or polar fleece over that and a windproof/waterproof outer jacket should be sufficient for almost any type of weather we will encounter. It is also a good idea to have along a pair of gloves and a wool hat. The cabin is heated and affords you ample space to watch from inside the boat if the weather turns wetter than you care to endure out of doors. Tennis shoes or regular walking shoes are adequate footwear. Check out our Guest Information page for more specifics about the weather and dressing appropriately.
You should bring your camera, extra batteries perhaps, and a pair of binoculars if you have them along on the trip. We have several pair of loaner binoculars for our guests including a pair of image-stabilized binoculars to compensate for the motion of the boat. If you have rain gear for your trip we suggest you bring it with you but we also have extras.
On most days the ships are in port before the scheduled time of arrival and if you are on the disembarkation deck at the scheduled time of arrival, or maybe even a bit earlier, you can be ashore in five to 10 minutes. If for some reason you are behind schedule or confused about where to meet Teresa, a phone call or text will let us know to wait and facilitate getting together.
If the weather is stormy, and the waters are unsafe, we will meet you at the port at our regularly scheduled meeting time and discuss your options for the day with you and the others on your excursion. If adequate whales are not available in a calmer location, we may have to cancel the tour and refund your deposit. There have been only three occasions in our 14 years of serving cruise guests that we have had to cancel a trip due to extremely inclement weather.
We adhere strictly to the National Marine Fisheries Service whale watching guidelines which require us to maintain a 100 yard spacing from the whales when we are approaching the whales or maneuvering in the whale watching areas. Once we have stopped moving and begin to drift and enjoy the whales they frequently will approach the boat at a much closer distance. It is very likely that several times during the trip you will find yourself very close to one or more humpback whales and will get some excellent photos.
We follow the shoreline closely on the way out and back from the prime whale watching areas. Doing so gives us a great opportunity to find a bear somewhere along the shore during the trip. While it is not a certainty on every trip, we see bears on about 50% of our tours, sometimes we are able to get close to them in the boat and other times we see them briefly from a distance.
Becoming seasick is an extremely remote possibility. The number of people who have become motion sick is less than five (over 15 seasons and thousands of guests). The waters are generally calm during the summer months and on the days when the wind and tide do make the water choppy, the motion of the boat is not of the kind that induces motion sickness. The catamaran is exceptionally stable both at rest and when moving. If you are concerned at all about this, the best course of action is to take a tablet of a medication called BONINE or non-drowsy DRAMAMINE, the night before or an hour before your tour and you should be protected from motion sickness during the day.
Absolutely the best.
We provide water as well as a thermos of hot cocoa. Teresa also makes a special smoked Alaskan King Salmon spread for you to enjoy with crackers and there are also a variety of chips.
If your ship is late arriving in port, we wait for you before starting our tour. There have been very few late arrivals and when the ships have arrived late, they have generally stayed extra time to allow you the expected time in port. If you are on the second scheduled tour of the day we try to contact you to adjust the tour starting time.
We follow the shoreline closely on the way out and back from the whale watching areas as much as possible to look for bears. Once out to the whale watching areas we venture as far off-shore as necessary to provide the best whale watching possible for the day. While moving around with the whales we may be as far as three miles away from the shoreline but we will be within sight of land in all directions at all times.
The harbor, from which our tours depart, is about a mile from the excursion hub where we meet you for the tours. It is a five-minute drive to reach the harbor or city dock. If you opt to walk into town to meet us for a late-morning or afternoon tour or if you choose to walk back to the port after a morning tour it is a very scenic, 30 minutes or so walk along a paved sidewalk.
For guests with mobility concerns the following information will help you decide if you will be able to join our tours – Guests must be able to climb in and out of a 15 passenger van, a sturdy step-stool can be used and some assistance can be provided. You will have to walk a minimum of 100 yards from the van to the boat. You will have to walk up and/or down a potentially steep ramp to access the floats where the boat will be. We do NOT have space to store any wheelchairs or walkers in the van or aboard the boat during your tour, even if they are the folding type. A CareCart is available to people who cannot make the 400 yard walk from the cruise ship dock to the excursions hub where we meet you. There is a high demand for this service which often presents you with a delay to meeting at the prescribed time.
If you find you have additional questions, please contact us and we will be happy to provide detailed information on any topic you desire.