Prepare for Your Trip
Common Questions & Answers

First, contact us to reserve your space or book online, or to simply ask questions. We do accept walk-up guests but at times we are fully booked in advance and we’ll have to turn folks away. Believe us, we do not want to do this so please call in advance! Then, stay tuned to our whale report (Bookmark It!) before your trip so that you know what has been sighted lately and so that you have reasonable expectations for the day of your tour.

What to Wear/Bring:

The temperature is always a bit cooler on the water than on land because our water temperature is about 48 degrees. Wind off the water can produce a wind chill factor and acts as an instant air conditioning. Having said that, the Island Explorer is very comfortable with plenty of room to get out of the weather. Layered clothing is recommended with comfortable shoes and a wind-breaker jacket. There are a few days in July and August where you could get away with shorts, but not on most days. Generally speaking, we are fortunate to have good weather here in the islands and if you are dressed well and prepared, you’ll be able to enjoy the outside decks a lot more than those who are not prepared.

Still cameras and video cameras are encouraged, but please take responsibility in caring for your equipment. You might want to bring your battery chargers (we have plenty of 110 outlets onboard) and extra batteries (we do sell AA batteries onboard). We have limited space for bags and small coolers; if it can fit under an airplane seat it is okay 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

Our snack bar satisfies our hungry guests with items such as Nathan’s hot dogs, nachos, quesadillas, clam chowder, a variety of snacks, and hot and cold drinks. See our onboard menu for more details.

Provided With Your Tour

Check-in Procedures

  • For our Gray Whale tours from Everett (March, April, and the first weeks in May), 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 (mid-April through October) 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 (August though November) 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:

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.

Why should I drive up from Seattle?
Simple. This is where the whales are. And…you’ll get to experience the beautiful scenery of the Skagit Valley, Anacortes, and Fidalgo Island!

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!

Our 96% success rate speaks for itself. See how 2014 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.

See more customer reviews on TripAdviser