Frequently Asked Questions

We've collected the most frequently asked questions into a single repository for your convenience!

Whale Watching Frequently Asked Questions

 
  • How long are your tours?

    • Our tours take between 3 and 4 hours.  ​

  • When should we arrive?

    • Check in begins 30 minutes prior to departure for all of our regularly scheduled whale watching excursions.  We ask you to take a moment to review your departure location and predicted travel time  the day prior to your trip. The only thing that is consistent about the traffic in this area is that it is inconsistent!  We cannot hold the boat for excessively late arrivals.  

    • If you have any questions please call our office directly at 360-376-3711  for assistance. ​

  • What should we wear?​

    • Layers!  The weather is temperate year round in the San Juan Islands, but our boats go very fast which will feel at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler on the water.  Having a sweatshirt or jacket is a great option.  Sunglasses are also a great idea.​

  • What route do we take?​

    • There is no set agenda or specific route that we follow.  Working with the Pacific Whale Watching Association means that we have access to the most up to date information on where whales have been spotted.  Paired with our extensive experience on the water of the Salish Sea we see whales on more than 95% of our trips.​  The whales in this area are not tagged and can swim more than 100 miles in a single day so we like having the flexibility to go anywhere!​​

  • What should we bring?​

    • Less is more!  The less you have to keep track the easier it is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip.  ​

  • Is there food served on board?​

    • We don't serve food onboard though we have light snacks available during the summer months.  We don't recommend eating any large meals directly before or during a tour.  While our boats are very stable and seasickness is unlikely the best way to avoid it is by focusing on the fun.  We recommend small snacks and water bottles instead.​

  • Is this tour appropriate for families with small children?​

    • Absolutely!  We take passengers of all ages.  While some small children are too young to understand exactly what they are viewing they very much enjoy the experience of being on the boat.  All passengers, regardless of age need their own ticket. ​

  • Which departure time/location/date do we recommend?​

    • Whales don't wear watches so we don't think that there's a "best" time or date to see them.  It's always beautiful out on the water so choose the date and time that works best for your party and leave the whales to us!​

  • What's your cancellation policy?​

    • We offer changes, updates, and cancellations on our tours as long as they are more than 72 hours in advance of your departure date.  If a cancellation is made more than 72 hours in advance we are happy to refund 75% of your purchase price.  We do not make any changes, updates, or cancellations​ within the 72 before departure. 

  • How close can we get to the whales?​

    • We follow all local, state, and federal regulations while viewing wildlife. For most whales, guidelines stipulate that we view from approximately 100 yards away (200 yards for orcas, 400 yards for J, K, and L Pods during whale watching season). While there’s no rule about how close the whales can come to us, please plan for viewing from a respecful distance.

  • ​Are whales bothered by the boats?

    • ​We work closely with researchers and enforcement to develop guidelines that do not impact local wildlife. We travel at slow speeds around whales and view from respectful distances. Washington has the most conservative whale watching regulations in the world and we're happy to comply with anything that helps the whales be healthier and safer.  By being a member of the PWWA, we are contributing our knowledge to the shared research base and developing better regulations all the time.  We frequently observe whales feeding, mating, and even sleeping; which is an indicator that our presence does not change their natural behavior.

  • What happens if it is rainy or cloudy?​

    • We operate our tours in almost all weather conditions. The whales don't mind if the weather isn’t perfect, and neither do we.  As residents of the Pacific Northwest we expect to encounter a rain and our vessels offer great protection from the weather. The only conditions that would cause us to cancel a tour wind be a severe weather.​

  • Will seasickness be an issue?​

    • Guests typically do not experience seasickness on our tours. Our vessels are very stable and the shelter of the many islands creates a calm environment on most days. If a person is very prone to motion sickness we suggest taking a non-drowsy Dramamine or Bonine the night before and the morning of the tour. ​

  • Are pets allowed on board?​

    • No.  Pets of any kind, size, or weight are not allowed on our tours. While we can accommodate service animals we do not recommend our tours for those guests needing service animal support. ​

Kayaking Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long are your tours?

    • Our  Point Doughty tours are 3 Hours Long

    • Our Sucia Island tours begin at 9 and return on our 3:30 Ferry. Actual paddling time is between 5 and 6 hours

    • Our Sunset Tours are 2 hours long  ​

  • When should we arrive?

    • Check in begins 30 minutes prior to departure for all of our regularly scheduled excursions.  We ask you to take a moment to review your departure location and predicted travel time  the day prior to your trip. We cannot hold the tour for late arrivals.  

    • All Kayak tours begin on Orcas Island.  If you are not staying on Orcas Island you must have a ferry reservation to get here.

  • What should we wear?​

    • Layers!  The weather is temperate year round in the San Juan Islands, but you will be paddling so you may get warmer as the tour continues.  Having a sweatshirt or jacket is a great option.  Sunglasses are also a great idea.​

    • Remember to have shoes that can get wet.  We launch from the shore and guests will be in ankle deep water

  • What should we bring?​

    • Less is more!  The less you have to keep track the easier it is to paddle and enjoy the trip. 

    • Point Doughty tours should bring water and a light snack (like a granola bar)

    • Sucia Island tours need to bring water and lunch - enough to sustain them for the full day  ​​

  • Is this tour appropriate for families with small children?​

    • The Point Doughty and Sunset tour have a minimum age of 8 years

    • The Sucia Island tour has a minimum age of 13 years

  • Which departure time/location/date do we recommend?​

    • Whatever works best for your group.  There is no "Best" time to go paddling

  • What's your cancellation policy?​

    • We offer changes, updates, and cancellations on our tours as long as they are more than 72 hours in advance of your departure date.  If a cancellation is made more than 72 hours in advance we are happy to refund 75% of your purchase price.  We do not make any changes, updates, or cancellations​ within the 72 before departure. 

  • Will we see whales?​

    • It's incredibly unlikely, and typically only happens once a year. 

  • What will we see on our tours?​

    • We typically encounter harbor seals, river otters, minks, sea stars, peregrine falcons, harbor porpoises, bald eagles, and tons of sea birds - not to mention the stunning scenery.​

  • Can we bring a dog?

    • No.  Kayaking is not suited for dogs of any size or age.​

 

Sucia Ferry Frequently Asked Questions

  • When does your Sucia Island Ferry run?

    • Depatures:

      • Spring / Fall​

        • 9:00 AM​

        • 4:00 PM

      • Summer​

        • 9:00 AM​

        • 2:00 PM

    • Returns​​

      • Spring/Fall​

        • 10:00 AM​

        • 4:30 PM

      • Summer​

        • 10:00 AM​

        • 3:00 PM

  • When should we arrive?

    • Check in begins at the time of departure, i.e. 9:00 AM.   There is no need to arrive earlier than that  

  • Is overnight parking offered?

    • Outer Island Excursions is located within Brand'ts Landing Marina.  The Marina offers secure overnight parking at $15 per night.  Please contact them directly to organize parking at 360-376-4477​

  • Can we stay overnight on Sucia Island?​

    • Camping is allowed.  Outer Island Excursions is not able to assist with booking campsites and does not know when/how many/what campsites are available.  The Washington State Parks have that information and it can be accessed here:  Sucia Island Marine Park

 

General Frequently Asked Questions

 
  • What's your cancellation policy? ​​​

    • We have a 25% non-refundable deposit/cancellation fee. Your trip is transferable until 72hrs before your departure. No-shows will be charged in full.

    • Outer Island Excursions may cancel trips due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. If this happens, you will be refunded in full.

    • If you do have to cancel within 72 hrs of departure, you will be charged 100%, unless we are able to resell your tickets.

    • Please remember that if you need to cancel or reschedule the activity for any reason, you can call (360)376-3711 or email at outerislandx@hotmail.com. ​

  • What boat will we be on? ​

    • We won't assign the boat until your departure.  With 11 different vessels we adjust each departure to work with the the number of passengers who have signed up.  We do not assign boats ahead of departure.​​