As the weather begins to warm, one of the ocean’s most majestic creatures begins a long journey that happens to pass right by the Pacific Northwest!
Gray whales are 50-70ft long baleen whales that migrate between feeding and breeding grounds each year. In March and April they pass through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, providing an excellent opportunity for us land lubbers to visit with and learn about these whales.
As you might guess, gray whales are…dark slate-gray in color, and their skin is often marked by scars and discolored patches caused by parasites that have fallen off the whale or are still attached. They have two blowholes on top of their head, which can create a distinctive V-shaped blow.
We’ll be starting tours on March 15, 2014. If the weather looks rough, we’ll reschedule for a nicer tday. We leave Port Townsend at 10am and travel south to Everett, WA. The trip lasts about 4 to 5 hours and the waters that we travel in are protected and usually calm. This is a guaranteed tour, if you do not see gray whales on this tour we will issue a voucher good for another tour.
2013 was an amazing year in the waters off of the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands. Our Southern Resident pod of orcas traveled a bit more for food, which took them to some new locations. Additionally, we saw more transient orcas than we have for many years. If that wasn’t enough, humpbacks gray whales, and other large sea mammals were out in force. All in all, a terrific year of wildlife watching!
We’re excited to hit the water in 2014. We have some very exciting news to share in the coming days about a larger, comfier boat for our 4 Hour cruises (yay!). In addition, we’re expanding our 3 Day Wildlife Cruises in the San Juans, as well as our Puffin Cruises in July and August around Protection Island.
And the good news is, you can make your reservation right now for all of our tours! Follow any of the links below to instantly reserve your seat.
2014 will serve as the 29th year our family has operated whale and wildlife tours in the Pacific Northwest. We are honored that you choose to travel with us, and we hope you will have amazing experiences with us in the coming year!
2014 WHALE WATCHING CRUISES
- Gray Whale Tours (March 15 – April 30, 2014)
- 4 Hour (Morning Departure) Guaranteed Whale Watching Tour (May – October, 2014)
- 4 Hour (Afternoon Departure) Guaranteed Whale Watching Tour (June – August, 2014)
- Full Day, San Juan Islands/Friday Harbor Whale Watching Tour (May – September, 2014)
- One Way (PT to SJI) San Juan Islands/Friday Harbor Whale Watching Tour (May – September, 2014)
- One Way (SJI to PT) San Juan Islands/Friday Harbor Whale Watching Tour (May – September, 2014)
3-DAY SAN JUAN ISLAND WILDLIFE CRUISES
- May 7-9, 2014 Three-Day Wildlife Cruise in the San Juan Islands
- September 28-30, 2014 Three-Day Wildlife Cruise in the San Juan Islands
3-DAY AUDUBON SOCIETY SAN JUAN ISLAND BIRDWATCHING CRUISE
PORT TOWNSEND MARINE SCIENCE CENTER CRUISES
This holiday season, enjoy something a little out of the ordinary with Puget Sound Express.
For 3 nights only – December 14, 21 and 23, we are offering special trips from Port Townsend to downtown Seattle and Lake Washington to take part in the “Christmas Ship Parade.” This is the 16th year we’ve participated, and the Parade is a favorite with our family and customers. These tours are a fantastic holiday tradition for your family or company year-end celebration.
We pick the dates that are the most popular, so that you are sure to get a good show:
- December 14 (1pm-9pm): Lake Union/Ballard Locks/Lake Washington/Kirkland/Medina
- December 21: (1pm-8pm)Lake Union/Ballard Locks/Lake Washington/Madison Park
- December 23: (5:30pm-midnight) Grand Finale on Lake Union!
On board the Glacier Spirit, we enjoy warm soup with fresh baked bread while enjoying Christmas carols and great company. Once in Seattle, we join the Parade by the waterfront soaking up the sights and sounds of the choir singing from the ‘Christmas Ship.’
Reserve your seat online ($85/person)
*Please note that space is limited on these tours. A minimum passenger count is required for departure, and trips are weather dependent.
Join the crews from Puget Sound Express and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at the Rose Theatre for a special screening of Blackfish
On Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 1 p.m. the new documentary Blackfish will be shown at the Rose Theatre. We are honored that Ken Balcomb, who’s featured throughout the film and is the executive director of the Center for Whale Research in Friday Harbor, will do a Q&A following the screening.
Ken Balcomb is a pioneer in photo-identification of cetaceans and is the founder of Orca Survey (1976), a study of Pacific Northwest Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas). Not only has he participated in humpback studies across both oceans but also rare beaked whale identification throughout the world. One of his main interests is the effect of sonar on cetaceans and how that causes mass stranding. He founded the non-profit Center for Whale Research in 1985 and is its executive director. If you’ve taken a whale watching tour with
The event is co-sponsored by Puget Sound Express, the Rose Theatre and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center (PTSMC). Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children.
Blackfish is a mesmerizing psychological thriller with a killer whale (orca) at its center. The film features the story of Tilikum, who is an Icelandic transient. Unapologetically designed to both inform and affect, this delicately lacerating documentary uses the tragic tale of a single whale and his human victims as the backbone of a hypercritical investigation into the marine-park giant Sea World Entertainment.
The events portrayed in the film that took place 40 years ago still affect the orca population in our area today. Blackfish certainly brings to our attention the impact of whale imprisonment for human amusement.
“The documentary Blackfish helps us understand the social structure of whales and provides a glimmer into their complex society,” said Janine Boire, executive director for the PTMSC. “The movie challenges our view of humans and whales and how we interact together.”