Spring is a time of renewal, bringing with it better weather, beautiful blooms and whales. Yes, you read that right, whales. It’s the perfect time of year for hitting the salty seas and catching a glimpse of some of nature’s most majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
But a whale-watching cruise that doesn’t culminate in at least a single whale sighting is a colossal disappointment, so picking the right location for your excursion is key to optimizing your chances. If you plan to be in the Pacific Northwest this spring take advantage of your location and book a cruise out of Seattle with a company like Outer Islands Excursions, which takes guests to the waters surrounding the nearby San Juan Islands. Located in the Salish Sea, the preferred home for resident Orcas (commonly known as killer whales), these islands are great for sightings year-round. With an island aptly named Orcas Island, it is practically a given choosing this location for your whale-watching adventure will pay off.
While orcas are the most commonly spotted type of whale, gray whales, humpback whales and minke whales also frequent these waters, but choosing the right time of year makes a big difference in your chances of spotting them. Although they can be seen year-round, weather patterns, migration patterns and food availability all affect where the creatures choose to go. The Salish Sea is located close to salmon spawning grounds, making these waters attractive to the massive mammals. As we head into spring, the likelihood of seeing whales in the wild increases exponentially as the huge number of wild salmon draw them in for feeding.
Choosing the right cruise is just as important as choosing the right season and location. A small ship may not necessarily increase your chances of spotting whales, but it will improve the quality of your experience. When vessels are overcrowded with passengers all vying for the best viewing position on deck, the experience suffers. With a smaller boat, every spot on deck is an ideal position.
Make sure you plan ahead for the weather and rough sea conditions. While the weather forecast may call for blue skies and sunshine, out on the water temperatures can drop significantly. Bring along some warm clothes so you don’t have to spend your entire cruise inside the cabin missing out on all the fun. If you have a tendency to get seasick, that doesn’t mean you have to stay on shore but plan ahead by taking some Dramamine before to avoid spending the whole trip in the bathroom. And don’t forget to bring some Dramamine for Kids along if your little ones get seasick or are first-time sailors.
With a little forethought and planning, you and your family will be able to enjoy an adventure on the water observing some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet.