December 7, 2017

Top FOUR Reasons to Love Our Sunset Whale Watch

Turn Island, San Juan Channel

Ahhhhhhh…. Island sunsets! Those words often conjure the image of palm trees, the soft cushion of that perfect lounge chair, and the faint smell of well-intentioned sunscreen.  To me, here in the San Juan Islands, those words mean a totally different experience… one filled with the quintessential Pacific Northwest evergreens, a lofty puffy jacket, and of course my trusty Nikon.

While there are a number of wonderful spots to watch sunset on land in the San Juan Islands, there is something magical about enjoying a different view of the islands in that special golden hour. For those guests staying in Friday Harbor, or the avid photographer, I highly recommend joining our late afternoon departure. 

Sunset over the Salish Sea
Sarah McCullagh

Top FOUR reasons to love the Sunset Whale Watch!

1) Photographer’s Paradise

Whether you are an Instagram fiend, or a professional out looking for that bucket list shot, sunset is the time you want to be out on the water… they call it the golden hour for good reason! The light is incredible, and offers amazing dimension to the sweeping scenery of the islands.

The M/V Sea Lion is a great photography platform, offering stability and space. With a walk-around 360-degree deck, the boat offers amazing views from all angles. At any one point you are no more than six feet off of the water, and in photographs that translates as a unique intimacy with the environment. With an inside heated cabin, there is plenty of room to keep your gear safe and dry while not in use.

2) Best Chances of Seeing Wildlife

Since we work with a sighting network to find and keep track of wildlife throughout the day, joining us for a sunset whale watch means that we’ve got all of the cards in our hand. Though we never guarantee wildlife sightings (Wildlife is wild!), during peak season we expect to see whales on 90 percent of our tours… For our sunset whale watches I would bump that sighting percentage up to roughly 92 percent. From birds, to seals, to whales, there is always amazing wildlife to be found in the Salish Sea. 

3) Pack a Picnic!

While we do not offer anything for sale onboard the boat, we urge our guests to pack a picnic dinner or hors d’oeuvres to enjoy while out on the water. Here in Friday Harbor there are a number of great options to pick up a delicious bite to eat to pack along! M/V Sea Lion has tables in the inside cabin for you to enjoy your food, before heading back outside to enjoy the wildlife.

Insider tip? Most restaurants in town will pack a meal to go! I particularly like stopping by Cask and Schooner or Haley’s for full dinner options to go. If you’re in to mood for lighter fare, the Deli counter at King’s Market offers a made-to-order sandwich box complete with a bag of chips and a cookie of your choice.

Please leave the wine and beer at home, we do not allow the consumption of alcohol on any of our tours.

Mt. Baker at Sunset
Mt. Baker at Sunset Sarah McCullagh

4) Relaxed Feel

Perhaps my favorite thing about the sunset whale watch is the relaxed feel both out on the water and with our guests onboard. There is no rush and nothing to get back for… a true experience in island time. Historically, our sunset tours have been some of our most intimate, with small, comfortable group size. As one of only a handful of companies in our area to run a sunset tour in the San Juans, there are usually very few boats out on the water. This coupled with the typical lack of recreational boaters at that time of day, usually yields a very peaceful experience.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse at Sunset
Lime Kiln Lighthouse at Sunset Sarah McCullagh

Interested in more information? Give one of our Reservation Specialists a call today!

Reservations Click Here or give a call 1-800-450-6858

Filed by:

Captain, Lead Naturalist & Vessel Coordinator

Sarah M.

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