Written by Jennifer Furber. Published on June 22nd 2018.
Take a Ride on the Western Explorer II
There are so many wonderful whale watching companies to choose from in Friday Harbor, but Western Prince’s new vessel for 2018 makes it a must-try in whale experience of the season. The Western Explorer II is a robust 40’ aluminum boat with a foam collar for stability. This zodiac-style vessel is similar to the boats the US Coast Guard uses for Search and Rescue. The Western Explorer II is the first San Juan Island whale watching boat that is powered by low-noise water jets. With a cruising speed of up to 35 knots, this vessel offers a wide reach of possible locations in a relatively short amount of time. This boat comfortably seats up to 25 guests. Everyone is issued a full-length USCG-approved anti-exposure suit to gear you up for the ultimate, thrilling ride.
Each Western Prince boat is guided by a captain and, depending upon the number of guests, 1-2 knowledgeable naturalists. The Salish Sea and the San Juan Islands are home to many beautiful creatures. The San Juans are known for Orca Whales, but sometimes they’re out of the area. When that is the case, the boat will steer a course for a variety of wildlife such as: Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Dall’s Porpoises, and Grey Whales. As the boat slows to pass the shoreline of islands, you’ll want to keep an eye out for Steller Sea Lions, Harbor Porpoises, Bald Eagles, and a variety of shorebirds.
During our recent trip, we traveled north to Canadian waters to find a pod of Orca Whales. On the breezy ride back, we were comfortable in our suits. We saw Steller Sea Lions, a variety of shore birds and so many bald eagles. Nearly 3 hours on the water can get cool, even in the summer. The issued anti-exposure suit is guaranteed to keep you cozy. As usual with the Pacific Northwest weather patterns, it’s important to dress in layers and wear sunscreen. Extra hats and gloves are also available to wear. Sunglasses are a must, and it’s a good idea to bring along water, a small snack and a camera to record your beautiful sights. Comfortable, boat-friendly shoes are a good idea too. Each boat has loaner binoculars available, but bring a favorite pair if you’d rather.
The crew is experienced and the trip is safe, however the seas can be bumpy. Therefor, the Western Explorer II is not meant for pregnant women, children under 7, individuals with neck or back issues, and people with heart conditions.
Western Prince Whale Watching’s office is located at #1 Spring Street, Friday Harbor. Reach them by phone or email at (800) 757-6722 or (360) 378-5315, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unwind After A Day’s Cruise
Nothing says “relaxation” like an oversized jacuzzi bathtub. Warm up after a 3 hour cruise in yours before heading out for a local bite. Book your stay in Friday Harbor at the Tucker House Inn, part of the San Juan Island Inn Collection. Our team will make sure you get the full island experience, on and off the water.