Since 1962, owner and U.S. Coast Guard?licensed captain Terry Buzzard has gotten to know the San Juan Islands and surrounding miles of water pretty well. Having hauled mail for the Post Office, salvaged wrecks, assisted in oil spill cleanups, and ferried passengers throughout the San Juan Islands, he has built quite a resum? of seafaring. This relationship with water isn't so surprising considering he began boating at the age of 3 when he was allowed to pilot a single-horsepower boat by himself with his trained rescue dog, Rusty.
Regardless of the actual job he's performing, Terry is always drawn to whales. By 1978, this fascination lead him to chartering trips specifically for whale watching, especially toward the schools of orca that made the region their home. Looking back, he's pretty certain his boat was the only one in the area at the time dedicated to the thrill of witnessing some of the world's largest and most beautiful animals. Today, the waters are spotted with various boats filled with passengers snapping pictures of the great aquatic beasts and shouting ululations whenever one smacks its enormous tail against the water, takes a playful leap, or belts a Mariah Carey song.
Terry's boat, the 110-foot Island Caper, provides generous sightlines to all passengers via its spacious outdoor deck and ample indoor viewing areas, and is decked out with a 34-speaker sound system. In business for 53 years, Island Mariner Whale Watching's unparalleled time and experience on the water offers cruise-goers an ideal experience, and also employs a seaplane to help spot whales and guide tours. With his chief navigator??a 8-year-old airedale terrier also named Rusty??Terry is right out there amid the excitement, ferrying whale watchers and sharing his life-long passion.
When most of the local boating club's members decided to venture into sailing large cruisers and racing, a small group of sailors remained loyal to their first love—sailing dinghies. This tightly knit crew formed Rocky Point Sailing Association, which today encompasses a fleet of about 40 boats and a staff of more than a dozen Sail Canada instructors.
At their headquarters inside of Rocky Point Park's Old Mill Boathouse, the sailors instruct kids as young as 4 years up through adults in all levels of sailing. Rocky Point's team also extends membership privileges, such as the use of a restored Columbia 27 cruiser, the Orane. To indulge competitive spirits, RPSA's crew also maintains a race team.
Inside Paddlewheeler Riverboat Cruises' signature vessel, the MV Native, captains transport passengers 100 years back in time when scores of paddle wheelers churned through the rivers of British Columbia. Before the authentic vessel casts off into the Fraser River, the crew tailors each voyage to a different theme that treat passengers to off land DJ dance parties, views of local wildlife, and journeys to historic locales such as Fort Langley. Their boat also plays host to special occasions including weddings and private parties. Towering mountain ranges act as a backdrop for each tour, and the ship's white and red exterior greets eyes with a classic design that echoes the Canadian flag flown at its bow and the giant candy cane used to anchor its stern.
The abundance of natural splendour surrounding Burnaby's small lake inspired the creation of Deer Lake Boat Rentals. With blue herons standing tall in the waters, eagles soaring overhead, and turtles playing duck-duck-goose with Canadian geese, the region is teeming with wildlife. Fourteen years under the current ownership and opened in 1972, Deer Lake Boat Rentals rent kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and canoes to make the lake and its wildlife accessible to families. They are also equally focused on safety, so they provide all the requisite necessities, including lifejackets and staff a skilled crew ready to assist in any way necessary.
If there’s a whale breaching on the protected waters of the San Juan Islands, there’s a good chance a passenger on Mystic Sea Charters’ 100-foot vessel will see the splashy spectacle. The company’s five- to six-hour tours have an impressive track record when it comes to spotting the gargantuan mammals, introducing tour-goers to different species of whale up to 99% of the time. Onboard the ship, a naturalist divulges facts about ocean life as passengers watch for whales from the heated cabin or from the deck, which has 4-foot railings so guests can hold on if whales start singing and dancing to the hit song “Rock the Boat.” The company promises that voyagers will see at least one gray, orca, humpback, or minke whale, depending on the season. If not, they’ll receive a follow-up whale-watching tour for free.
Located in Anacortes, the "Gateway to the San Juan Islands", Anacortes Yacht Charters has established itself as the leading charter company with the largest selection of power and sail boats available for charter in the San Juans and Gulf Islands.