The tour begins when a transport picks you up just outside the gates of Icy Strait Point, where it will drive along Shaman Point to meet the charter boat. Along the way you may spot some of our local wildlife including Alaskan Brown Bears, bald eagles, blacktail deer, and more.
Once aboard and traveling along the shorelines, sightings of bears, deer, coastal ducks and geese, blue heron, puffin, swans, terns, cormorants, and more are common. In the water you may get a chance to spot, orca, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, and seals in addition to the feeding humpbacks.
Humpback whales come to Hoonah in huge numbers to feed on the nutrient rich waters of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait every summer beginning in May before migrating south again in September for the winter. Humpback whales are large baleen whales that can reach over 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 30-50 tons. Humpbacks are amazingly active and typical whale sightings will include diving, blows, and flukes (tails). Lucky whale-watchers may get to see breaching and bubble-net feeding, a cooperative feeding method where a pod forms a circle and dives under the water; they then blow air to create a wall of bubbles that force krill and plankton to the surface where the whales can eat them. Observing humpbacks practice bubble-net feeding is a real treat and a truly thrilling experience.
The charter boat is built for speed and comfort, and perfectly suited for travel along Alaska's waterways. Guests will stay warm and dry with viewing decks and heated cabins as they experience the wonder and beauty of our whale watching trip. We will return to the docks and transport you back to Icy Strait Point with plenty of time to board your ship or explore downtown Hoonah.
Duration: 3 hours (Roundtrip from excursions hub.)
- Roundtrip transportation from Icy Strait Point gates
- Bottled water and a light snack
- Restrooms onboard boat
Duration: 3 hours. Tour time below are approximate:
- 30 minutes roundtrip transportation
- 2.5 hours of whale watching onboard a charter boat
- This tour meets at the Icy Strait Point Adventure Center. Fully detailed instructions are included on your finalized ticket vouchers.
Will I get seasick?
We get this question a lot. The waters we operate in are usually pretty calm. If you are prone to seasickness, we recommend Dramamine or a wristband. Over the years, less than 1% of our guests have gotten seasick.
How many passengers does the boat hold?
The charter boats used have a capacity of 18-30 passengers.
What is the seating arrangement in the boat?
Every boat has open seating as well as outside viewing areas when permitted.
Is there an inside seating area on the boat, is it heated?
The interior of the boat is heated when needed due to weather conditions to keep a comfortable environment.
Are there restrooms on the boat?
Yes, the boats are equipped with restrooms.
How close will we get to the whales?
Humpback whales and other sea animals are protected species and a safe distance of at least 100 yards must be maintained at all times according to NOAA regulations.
Are whale sightings guaranteed?
Sightings are guaranteed or you'll receive a 0 refund for the whale watching portion of your tour.
What is the temperature on the water?
Air temperature can drop as much as 20°F with the wind chill factor when viewing whales outside.
Are there any age restrictions for children?
There are no age restrictions for this tour.
Can I bring a backpack?
Backpacks, small bags, and purses are allowed on this tour.
Can I bring my own food or drink?
Non-alcoholic beverages in a closeable containters and snacks are allowed on tour.
Are food and drink included?
Bottled water and a light snack are included.
Not seeing answers to your questions?
Check out other frequently asked questions here!