All-day trip from Port Townsend to San Juan Island offers an opportunity to admire orcas, humpback whales, and other marine wildlife
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- What’s included: departure from Port Townsend, voyage on board of a 70-seat Glacier spirit, two-hour stop at the Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, stop near the Smith Island, and return to Port Townsend
- Departure time: 9 a.m., passengers are required to check in at least 30 minutes before departure
- Trip duration: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Free admission for children under 2
- Good for travel: May 2-June 19, 2020
Need To Know
About Puget Sound Express
For the Hanke family, it seems like Puget Sound Express has always been part of their lives. Raised in the Puget Sound his entire life, Pete Hanke honed his seafaring abilities alongside his father, Pete Sr. Together, the two started leading weeklong sailing adventures across the Pacific Northwest in 1981 and eventually started whale tours. Today, the business still remains a family affair, with grandparents, children, and grandchildren working side by side. Sherri Hanke, Pete’s wife, feels this is the company's biggest feature. "We have three generations of captains, so there is a wealth of knowledge there."
In addition to their family members, Puget Sound Express's crew is well acquainted with the area's menagerie of whales, which naturalists can identify based on their markings and slick leather jackets. Tours also pass into the habitats of other wildlife, often spotting humpbacks, sea birds, and bald eagles. The Hankes' most popular voyage tours the San Juan Islands, pausing at the fishing village of Friday Harbor. According to Sherri, this region is well known for its weather. "We refer to it as the Blue Hole, because it is like this circle of sunlight. It could be raining in Seattle and extremely sunny here."
The Hankes take adventure-seekers out on the M.V. Glacier Spirit, a modern, 70-seat vessel with open-air viewing decks and large windows allowing sightseers unencumbered views. Additionally, an on-board hydrophone listens in on whales' vocalizations to see which songs are currently stuck in their heads.