Seattle Whale Watching Tours
The Seattle area is the destination for
those interested in observing orca whales (popularly known as killer
whales) in the wild. The northwest coast of Washington state, including
Puget Sound and the waters around the San Juan Islands, is home to a
large population of resident orca whales. This orca population is the
most studied group of orca whales on the planet, and as such the
resident whales are very familiar and comfortable with humans.
From April through September the resident orca whales, which travel in
three pods of 20-40 whales each, can be found in the Puget Sound and
especially around the San Juan Islands hunting the enormous schools of
salmon that come to the area each summer to spawn. During the winter
months, the resident orcas will chase the salmon as they head back out
to the open ocean.
Smaller pods of transient orca whales also pass through the area from
time to time, attracted by the Seattle area's large population of marine
mammals like seals and sea lions. The transient orcas are usually chased
off by the resident orcas, however, and so are difficult to catch a
The Puget Sound and San Juan Islands are also a transient feeding ground
for migrating gray whales and minke whales. Gray whales in particular
are very curious of humans, and will often swim alongside whale watching
cruise boats to "people watch."