Whale Watching on the San Juan Islands


I’ve never liked whale watching trips, where you are piled like sardines into a tiny boat, all trying to grab the exact same picture of a whale a quarter-mile away.. “You see that tiny dot in the distance? Yeah that’s the whale.” In the same way, when I was in Alaska, we did a bus tour through Denali, and I couldn’t tell whether the animals they were pointing out were bushes or bears. Things like that just aren’t exciting for me. Unfortunately, since whales are such beautiful and protected animals, it’s difficult to get anywhere close to them. Well.. this past weekend on the San Juan Islands, I found myself at a whale watching spot right next to a pod of orcas that were making their way up the coast, and it was the coolest thing ever.

As I mentioned in my previous post, what made the San Juan Islands so refreshing was that it was never over-crowded. There were only a handful of people at Lime Kiln State Park on the island to watch the whales, so it didn’t feel overwhelming at all. While everybody was up on the whale-watching platform, I went down onto the rocks below, picked a spot, and pulled out my camera.

I decided that these pictures needed their own post because I still can’t believe this happened. Orcas are such beautiful animals and I hope that these pictures capture that! At one point, we must have been only 10 or 20 feet away from them, which was crazy. In the last pictures, hopefully the rock can give you some perspective. I was sitting on the rock behind that one.









If you’re looking to see some whales, this is a spot I would absolutely recommend. Try to go during low tide so that that rocks won’t be covered with water. You should also try to fit in a visit to The Whale Museum on the island to learn more about these animals!


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  1. Susan

    You can identify some of the whales in your pictures… On a couple of those, I am sure they know just who they are!! Look at http://www.sanjuanorcas.com and Melisa can identify them. She’s an expert! She grew up there, and it’s amazing! Great pictures!! Look up her website!

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