Whale Watching Early in the Season

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14,365 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
From posts on this board, it appears that Juneau is a good place to take a whale watching excursion. What I'm wondering is how is it early in the season, May/June? If your experience has been that mid- or late-season is better for whale watching, I'd like your opinion, too.

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Poulsbo/ Seattle Area
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Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by Alberta Quilter
I've had great whale watching experiences in Juneau in mid May. Go for it! It's so cool to see them.
CLIPPER!, was that this may? I'm booked for a one week on June 5th, AMSD
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Originally posted by jhannah
From posts on this board, it appears that Juneau is a good place to take a whale watching excursion. What I'm wondering is how is it early in the season, May/June? If your experience has been that mid- or late-season is better for whale watching, I'd like your opinion, too.

We've had great luck with May whale watches in Juneau! Do it Once in early May we saw humpbacks AND a pod of orcas that stayed with the whale watch boat for a long time. Spectacular!
New Mexico
5,532 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I go whale watching most every early-May and have never failed to see many whales while on any Juneau excursion. All of the vendors are connected by radio and when a whale is spotted, it is quickly surrounded at a reasonable distance to enable photographs.

Our excursion naturalist related that some whales stay year-round in Auke, Bay (Juneau).
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We did an Alaskan cruise the third week of May one time.

Saw very few whales anywhere.

June, July and the first couple of weeks of August were much better.
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We were in Juneau last May and saw the most whales we had ever seen in 6 trips to Alaska. The orca pod put on a great show spy hoping for all to see. Spectacular to watch !!!!!
Albuquerque, New Mexico
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2nd week of May 2009 we saw lots of Killer Whales (Orca's) in Auke Bay. The one below broke away from the pod he was leading to come over to us and swim under our catamaran before pausing to literally give us a birds eye view of his beauty

First photo is from the aft of our catamaran, 2nd is of my favorite Killer Whale May 2009


We have only once not seen whales close up and almost personal since 2008.

We cruise Alaska every year, early and mid May, July and Mid and late September. Only in July were we disappointed. It was our catamaran captain who caused our disappointment not for lack of whales, but for his seemingly refusal to get less than 500 yards from the whales. Law states, IIRC, 300 yards. Other boats had better captains

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We just returned from our cruise to Alaska, and there a lot of whales to see in Juneau's Auke Bay. Whales are air-breathing mammals that surface to get air. So you are are bound to see whales throughout your cruise in open waters. Keep a watchful eye and you will be able to catch a glimpse of a dorsal fin right after the blow.
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Thank you all for your input. It's very helpful ... and reassuring. If we go end of May/early June, it looks like we should be fine.
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Best whale watch ever last week in May, Juneau, Orca Enterprises. Saw many whales and even saw them bubble netting. A great experience!