3-Day San Juan Islands
Birdwatching & Wildlife Cruise
Join Puget Sound Express for exciting 3 day cruises through the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Selected by National Geographic as one of the World’s Top 3 destinations, the waters around the San Juan Islands are home to orcas (killer whales), minke whales, gray whales, humpback whales, Steller sea lions, porpoise, otters, and a dizzying array of seabirds.
We’re very pleased to announce that the Tour Naturalist for our cruise is none other than Bob Boekelheide former Director of the Dungeness River Audubon Center. You won’t find a better guide to the area’s flora and fauna than Bob.
We’ll leave Port Townsend at 10am on Day 1 aboard the comfortable 70-seat MV Glacier Spirit.
We’ll cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which is bordered by three mountain ranges, the Olympic Peninsula, and the San Juan Islands. It is one of the most beautiful seas to cross in the world. Along the way, our captain will point out many seabirds and mammals that frequent these waters. Depending on where the orcas are traveling that day, we may also be fortunate to see them in transit.
We’ll have breakfast and lunch on-board, and evenings will be spent at luxurious Roche Harbor Resort on the north end of San Juan Island on our April and October Tours. Dinner is at your own discretion and preference at Roche Harbor. On our May cruise, we’ll spend our evenings at the amazing Earthbox Inn & Spa in Friday Harbor.
The story of Roche Harbor began more than 200 years ago, in 1787, when Captain de Haro and his crew became the first Europeans to actually sail among the forested San Juan Islands.
In 1886, a sleepy Hudson Bay camp was transformed into a full-fledged lime works and company town. Today because of it’s beauty and location to Canada, Roche Harbor is the most popular boating resort in the Pacific Northwest and the Resort is renowned as the centerpiece of this harbor.
After arrival, you will have plenty of time to explore on your own to the scenery around Roche Harbor. Hiking, kayak and bike rentals, tennis and swimming, are all possibilities for you to enjoy. Dinner is on your own in the evening at Roche Harbor Resort.
In May, we’ll be staying in San Juan Island’s cultural hub – Friday Harbor – a charming, historic, walkable seaport with small, friendly shops and restaurants.
On Day 2 we’ll board the Glacier Spirit at 9:30 for a wonderful day of sightseeing through the San Juan Islands. We will journey to famous Sucia Island State Park for 2 hours of walking and wildlife spotting.
Sucia Island State Park is a 564-acre marine park with 77,700 feet of shoreline. It is considered the crown jewel of the state’s marine park system and is consistently ranked as one of the top boating destinations in the world. The shoreline is famous for its evocative, highly eroded sandstone formations – with cliffs, hoodoos, arches, and caves. Sucia Island is also a tremendous viewing area for seals, porpoise, eagles, seabirds, and whales. Upon arrival at Sucia, a sack lunch is provided for you as you explore the island for the next two hours. We’ll return to San Juan Island at 4:30 where you can enjoy the late afternoon and dinner on your own.
On Day 3, we begin our return loop back to Port Townsend. We’ll say goodbye to San Juan Island at 9am. We will head on a new course through the islands, south through the Swinomish Slough and on through Deception Pass. Wildlife should be plentiful and the scenery simply stunning. After taking in the historic La Conner waterfront and the nearby tidelands, soaking in the views and the endless variety of shorebirds, we will journey through the wild tide currents of Deception Pass.
Back out on Strait of Juan de Fuca we will head south past Smith Island Marine Sanctuary – an island in the middle of the sea that is home to thousands of seabirds and mammals. Weather permitting, we expect to arrive in Port Townsend at 3pm.
Cost: $950 per person (double occupancy); $1100 (Single Occupancy)
- Three days aboard Glacier Spirit
- Breakfasts; Lunch aboard the vessel
- Two nights accommodation at Roche Harbor Resort
Our 3-day cruise is a great opportunity to see what makes this part of the country so special. And it makes for one terrific anniversary experience!