San Juan Island, Washington may just be one of the most popular whale watching destinations. Within close proximity to both Lopez and Orcas Island, these whale watching excursions draw people from all corners of the globe in hopes of seeing Orcas (aka Killer Whales) in action. Orcas live in pods of up to 50 whales, and though they are found in all the oceans of the world, these whales prefer cooler water temperatures, which is why the waters off the Northwest Coast provide one of the highest sighting percentages for whale watching tours.

Maya’s Westside Charters, based in scenic Snug Harbor, is one of San Juan Island Washington’s most popular whale sighting services. Captain Jim Maya, owner and founder, has been captivating tourists with his chartered tours since 1997 and has many previous years of guiding tours of the Orcas on the waters of San Juan before he began his company.Whale sighting in the San Juan Islands

Maya’s whale excursions consist of a 3-hour tour, getting you as up-close and personal with the whales as possible. Picturesque sunset tours, photo expeditions and private tours are also available. Captain Jim Maya’s belief when venturing out to sea is that a smaller boat is better. Usually no more than 6 passengers are on a tour at one time, allowing better and more close up views of the whales.

As of the 2007 season, a 30 foot Glacier Bay catamaran, “The Peregrine” is what carries the Captain and its passengers at sea. This is an exceptionally quiet ride with outstanding visibility for all passengers, which makes for one ultimate whale sighting experience.

Throughout Jim’s tours, many other wildlife and sea mammals may be seen along the way. It’s not uncommon to spot harbor seals, sea lions and various birds of the wild. This is one trip for which you won’t want to leave your camera behind.

For more information on reservations and prices of these guided tours, please go to: