See up to 5 Types of Whales from 3 Departure Locations!
Respect for whales in their natural habitat.
Since 1996, our goal at Island Adventures has been to educate and inspire guests from all over the globe through responsible ecotourism. People protect what they care about, and there's no better way to encourage people to care than to share a memorable day on the water watching wildlife in their natural habitat.
We're extremely proud of our reputation as a leader among the sustainable whale-watching community, recognizing all state and federal laws regarding marine mammal viewing. We work closely with scientific researchers and law enforcement agencies to develop whale-watching guidelines that put the whales' health and safety first. Some examples include operating at slow speeds when whales are in the area and parallel-viewing beside the whales, not in front of them. While on rare occasions curious whales will choose to approach us, these encounters must always occur on the whales' terms and should not be expected.
We take our role as a sentinel on the water seriously, helping to model ideal whale-watching behavior for other vessels in the area and making sure that they too are operating safely around animals. Our captains also notify ferries, cargo ships, cruises ships, and military vessels when whales are nearby so that they can alter course. By all working together, we can help ensure that future generations also have an opportunity to see these special animals in the Salish Sea.
Small Boats vs. Big Boats
There is a common misconception that small boats are allowed to view whales from closer distances than larger boats. All vessels, even non-motorized vessels like kayaks and sailboats, must operate under the same legal guidelines, regardless of the size of vessel. If you see a company advertising that they get closer to whales than everyone else, they are breaking the law!
Larger, more elevated vessels like those in our Island Explorer fleet are ideal viewing platforms for whale-watching, allowing guests to see wildlife more easily and capture breathtaking photographs you might miss from a smaller vessel.
Pacific Whale Watch Association
The Pacific Whale Watch Association is a group of both US and Canadian whale-watching companies dedicated to research, education, and responsible wildlife viewing. Island Adventures has been instrumental in creating guidelines for professional operators and in their evolution for the last 20 years. These guidelines are being used as a model by other ecotourism groups around the world. Our company founder, Shane Aggergaard, has served several terms as President, Vice President, and Executive Board Member of this international organization which we have been members of since 1996. You can be assured that when you choose Island Adventures, you’re riding with a company that cares about wildlife.
Education and Giving Back
We do consider our vessel a floating classroom. Our naturalists and captains have a working knowledge of the San Juans, local natural history, and the most recent science regarding our whales and other wildlife. We also offer seminars and presentations for classrooms and private groups throughout the year. The more we know about our local ecosystem, the harder we’ll work to protect it. Island Adventures is proud to donate to several local nonprofit organizations each year that help to study and preserve our area's natural resources.