Prepare for Your Trip
Common Questions & Answers

Reservations are highly recommended. We do accept walk-ups when space is available, but at times we do fill up days in advance and have to turn people away. The best way to ensure you have a spot on one of our tours is to book your tour online, or give us a call to reserve in advance.

All guests must be checked-in and ready to board the vessel 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time. Everett and Port Angeles check-ins happen directly at the dock. Check-in 1 hour prior to the departure time (required 30 minutes prior) is suggested for our Anacortes location because we do ask for our guests to visit us at our main office first to receive parking permits and driving directions to our main parking at the marina and boarding instructions.

What to Wear/Bring:

We highly suggest wearing/bringing layers. The temperature is always cooler out on the water than on land due to the water temperature being around 48 degrees year round. Wind off of the water can produce a wind chill factor and act like an outdoor air conditioner. With that being said, the Island Explorer is very comfortable with plenty of space to get out of the weather if needed. Keep in mind, the more you are outside during the tour, the more you will enjoy the day.

Don’t forget your cameras! When bringing along cameras we do ask that you take responsibility in caring for your equipment. You might want to bring your batter chargers (we have plenty of 110 outlets onboard) and extra batteries (we do sell AA batteries onboard).

We do have limited space onboard for extra bags and coolers; if it can fit under an airplane seat, it is ok to bring!

Onboard Amenities

  • two marine heads
  • heated indoor booth seating in lower salon
  • full walk-around decks with outside rail viewing for all passengers
  • large upper viewing deck — open air allowing for unobstructed viewing
  • large bow pulpit that extends our deck space even more
  • plenty of outdoor seating
  • state of the art sound system

We do have a galley with food for purchase onboard our vessels. Check out our sample menu to get an idea of what kind of food we have available for sale. Please keep in mind that the menu may vary depending on location and time of year. Our guests are more than welcome to bring their own food items if they wish.

Provided With Your Tour

Check-in Procedures

  • For our Gray Whale tours from Everett (March 5 – May 8), boarding time is ½ hour prior to departure. The Island Explorer is docked directly in front of Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant at the Everett Marina at 18th Street and you’ll go straight to the boat for check-in. Get directions to our Everett Marina departure location.
  • For our Whale Watch tours from Anacortes (April 2 – November 26) please check-in at our store at 1801 Commercial Avenue 1 hour prior to schedule departure. Check-in at least ½ hour prior to departure is required or your seats may be given away to waiting passengers. It is essential for trip quality to depart on time. Get directions to Island Adventures in Anacortes.
    At check-in, our friendly staff will give you directions for the short drive to the marina parking and give you parking instructions and a parking permit. If you’d like a map of Anacortes and Fidalgo Island, we can jot down a few points of interest for you to explore later. We encourage you to browse in the gift shop before or after your tour.
  • For our Whale Watch tours from Port Angeles (May 14 – November 26) please check-in at the top of I/J/K/L dock ramp ½ hour prior to departure. A crew member will come to the top of the ramp to check you in and guide you to the boat. It is imperative for you to be on time, the boat will leave the dock promptly at the scheduled departure time. Get directions to our Port Angeles departure location.

Frequently Asked Questions:

There are 3 things we cannot control: weather, whales, and our guests expectations. We hope with these few frequently asked questions we can help you to be prepared for your trip as best as possible!

Will I see whales?
We guarantee it or you’ll ride for free, for life, until you do!

Will I get cold?
We encourage dressing in layers. The air temperature is often 10-20 degrees cooler on the water. The Island Explorer has a large heated salon and wind-screened upper deck but the warmer you are, the more outside viewing you’ll be able to do.

Will I get seasick?
Very few people get seasick on our tours. Our vessels are very stable—large enough to push through occasional wind-chop easily. We do not see ocean type swells as we are 90 miles from the open ocean and the water is calm on the vast majority of days. If a person is very prone to motion sickness we suggest taking a non-drowsy Dramamine or Bonine the night before and the morning of the tour. You may also give us a call the day before to check on sea-state forecasts.

How do I get to you?
No matter where you will be traveling from on the day of your tour, the easiest way is to rent a car. There is a possibility you could take public transportation or a shuttle (like Bellair Airporter Shuttle), but this can be very time consuming, expensive, and will take a fair bit of planning on your part.

Why should I drive up from Seattle?
Simple. This is where the whales are. Island Adventures goal is to take our guests out and show them whales, therefore we put our boats in the best possible departure locations to reach that goal.

What if it rains?
Most days are great weather-wise as the islands are situated in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. We run our tours in almost all weather conditions, with the exception of a high-wind forecast. The whales definitely do not care if the weather isn’t perfect and their behaviors do not depend on the conditions. If we do encounter a rainy day, the Island Explorer has great coverage and protection from the weather!

Why should I choose Island Adventures?
We have over 20 years of experience, excellent wildlife viewing vessel, exceptional staff, convenient schedule, reasonable prices, and WE GUARANTEE IT! We carry more guests on a smaller advertising budget than anyone in the business. Word of mouth is key — after one trip with us you’ll join our marketing team — and the Island Adventures Family!

We guarantee whale sightings!

We saw whales on:

  • 193 of 198 tours in 2002!
  • 221 of 230 tours in 2003!
  • 205 of 210 tours in 2004!
  • 269 of 274 tours in 2005!
  • 479 of 505 tours in 2006!
  • 244 of 256 tours in 2007!
  • 258 of 264 tours in 2008!
  • 239 of 248 tours in 2009!
  • 222 of 233 tours in 2010!
  • 262 of 266 tours in 2011!
  • 212 of 225 tours in 2012!
  • 260 of 266 tours in 2013!
  • 363 of 375 tours in 2014!
  • 429 of 443 tours in 2015!

Our 96% success rate speaks for itself. See how 2016 is shaping up in The Whale Report.

Our route each day is determined by the morning’s whale information from our sighting network, other wildlife in the area, and the weather. It’s not determined by a ferry schedule or pre-determined route. Our goal is to show our guests as much wildlife as possible every day. View larger map.

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Guaranteed Whale Watch Tours