Why Choose San Juan Excursions?

Who we are - San Juan Excursions is family owned and operated by second generation islanders who love sharing the best of the San Juan Islands with visitors. We are members of the Pacific Whale Watch Association which helped to develop the current standards for whale watching in the region. We are proud to run our business in an ethical manner and support our local community and environment. We donate to a variety of charities (last year we gave away more than $40,000 worth of donations), support educational programs throughout the greater Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana) and give back to the community in times of need.

A fun adventure for all ages since 1993!

Our Crew - Our team consists of fun and enthusiastic marine naturalists who are certified by the Whale Museum's Naturalist Training Program and come from a variety of backgrounds from teachers to college students.  Our naturalists are also members of the Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists, so they are always up to date on all of the information about the area and it's wildlife. Some of our naturalists are previous guests who were so inspired by their whale watching trip that they became certified naturalists themselves!  Our captains are USCG (United States Coast Guard) certified and have a wealth of knowledge about the local waters. Our captains and naturalists are extensively trained in whale watching conduct and follow the local, state and federal laws.

Our Boat -  The "Odyssey" is the most comfortable whale watching boat available in the San Juan Islands.  A classic motor yacht, the Odyssey has comfortable indoor lounge style seating and heated cabins to keep you warm, two restrooms, a snack bar, large windows for inside viewing and a small library with books and coloring for the kids. Outside, the "Odyssey" offers large, wrap around decks with comfortable, padded seating on two levels, along with outdoor speakers for hearing information from our naturalists, listening to the orcas on our hydrophones and for music during the trip. The "Odyssey" was built in 1941 as a naval air/sea search and rescue boat and then was converted into a charter craft in the mid 1980's. 

Responsible Whale Watching and Wildlife Viewing - We are commited to watching Bigg's Killer Whales (orca whales) which are not endangered and are a thriving population. These are the orca whales we see nearly daily. Additionally, the Odyssey offers a low impact way to view orcas because we are larger vessel. It is lower impact because we can get more people out on the water at one time. Think of it like carpooling.  We would have to use anywhere from 2 to 12 additional boats to be able to accommodate the same number of guests. Also, our propellers rotate at a low RPM creating less noise in the water column and we are fueled by bio-diesel whenever possible.

Education and Conservation -  Our greatest desire is to get people excited about nature.  Over the years, we have had numerous people return year after year and with stories of how their lives were changed by seeing not just the orca whales, but the other amazing wildlife the San Juan Islands have to offer. Seeing orcas in the wild and engaging with our naturalists gives people the opportunity to learn firsthand how our ecosystem works and how humans can and are directly affecting what is going on in theses fragile environments. Educating our guests about the eco system is paramount and human's fascination with orcas gives us a fantastic opportunity to do just that!

Our Guarantee - We know you work hard for your vacation dollars and for this reason we will offer you another trip for free if you do not see orcas on the day of your trip.  The chances of seeing the orcas is very high during May through September, but since the whales are wild and can swim over one hundred miles per day, occasionally they move out of our cruising area.  In those rare cases, we will give you a free pass to come again. This free pass or rain check has no expiration date and can be used the next day or five years from now. 

Our Location -  We feel that visitors must step away from the mainland to experience the true spirit of the San Juan Islands. San Juan Island (the epicenter of orca territory) has been fortunate to maintain its authenticity so you will only find local small businesses here from artists to bakers to innkeepers.  We love that and hope that you will too!  

Our office and boat are located just a short walk from the ferry landing in Friday Harbor (about 1 block). We are close to a variety of downtown restaurants, shops and accommodations.  It is easy and well worth it to hop onto the ferry or come in by plane for a day or more of whale watching, beaches, kayaking, bicycling, hiking, wineries, organic farms, relaxing and eating great local food and enjoying local entertainment! See you soon!


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Reservations Line: 800-809-4253