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. Reservations made after April 1st require full payment
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.
There are also a variety of individual packaged chips. Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks.
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.
Participating in our tours requires a significant amount of walking!
From the ship to our meeting location, the Excursion Hub, if you are docking at the Ocean Landing – it’s almost 500 yards, and part of it is up a potentially steep ramp. Guests must be able to climb in and out of a van. To board our boat, guests will have to walk from the van approximately 150 yards across a pier and down a ramp, and then also up the ramp after the tour. The ramp can be quite steep (depending on the tide.) We don’t have room in the van or on the boat for any type of scooter or wheelchair. They can be left at the Excursion Hub.
A CareCart (a golf cart type vehicle that takes about 8 people of time) can help guests that are docked at the OCEAN Landing dock get from the ship’s dock right to our meeting location (the Excursion Hub) but there is often a high demand for this, and there can be quite a wait at times.
A CareCart can be used to get from the WILDERNESS Landing Dock to the Transporter, a 200 yard walk, but again, there is often a wait for this service. Then there is a 5 minute walk (at a normal pace) from the Transporter to the Excursion Hub, there’s no CareCart service for that last portion.
If you need to cancel your tour, we ask that you give us at least 30 days’ notice. With 30 days’ notice your payment will be refunded. If within 30 days of your tour the number in your group becomes fewer than on your original reservation, that payment amount will not be refunded unless we are able to fill those spaces with other guests.
If, on the day of your trip, the weather and/or water conditions are unusually inclement and the whale watching will not be of the quality we expect, we will still plan to meet you, discuss the options for the trip, and a full refund will be made if you decide not to go on the boat that day.
If your ship cancels its stop in Icy Strait Point, a full refund will be given.
Call to book usually means we need to have a minimum of four people booked to make that particular tour, and if your group is less than four, please call us and let us know, and then we will contact you if others are interested. If we are completely booked, it will say “sold out” but we can always put you on a waitlist.
Absolutely, please call us! There’s also the possibility that we can offer another tour that day.
If you find you have additional questions, please contact us and we will be happy to provide detailed information on any topic you desire.