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“Great tour” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Maya's Westside Whale Watch Charters

Maya's Westside Whale Watch Charters
210 Madrona Drive, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Attraction details
Owner description: Maya's Westside Whale Watching Charters has been in business since 1997 and Captain Jim has been taking folks out to see Orcas on the waters of the San Juans since 1988. We are rated Number 1, and have the highest sighting percentage of any whale watching boat in the San Juan Islands. We are the only smaller boat with a naturalist. Our whale watching cruise tour operates out of beautiful Snug Harbor at the end of Mitchell Bay Road.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Montreal, Canada
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
52 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Great tour”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

I would recommend this tour, Captain Jim is a friendly guy and a great tour guide. The only drawback was that the orcas weren't feeling very sociable the day we went out and the seas were quite choppy at times.

Visited May 2011
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288 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Los Altos, California
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Highlight of our vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2011

Captain Jim is a warm, smart, patient person - a teacher with a love and passion for San Juan and the amazing animals that inhabit the area. His boat is terrific and our three girls said this was the highlight of our vacation...my wife and I agree!

Visited November 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Magical, intimate experience of a lifetime - humpbacks, eagles, seals and MORE”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2011

Two adults on this trip to Friday Harbor and neither of us had ever been, so choosing a whale watching tour was a roll of the dice. You never know what you're gonna get, especially in November, which is considered the off-season for whales. Well, we hit a home run and can't say enough about how amazing this experience was. Captain Jim is a great guy who knows his stuff. We went out early and came back late because there was just soooo much to see. We experienced six humpback whales, including a calf with his mom, sea lions, harbor seals, two regal and gorgeous bald eagles, plus a game of tag and good play with four Dall's porpoise. To top it off, Captain Jim recommended a fabulous spot to watch the sunset and a restaurant to grab a juicy burger - two more home runs. You absolutely cannot go wrong with Maya's Westside and Captain Jim. Before we left on our trip, a dozen different people told us we wouldn't see any humpbacks in mid-November. So glad they were so wrong and that we listened to Captain Jim. When researching tours, you also want to pay attention to the type of vessel you will be taking and the operator. Captain Jim's boat has a cabin and is outfitted for 360-degree views, so you don't miss anything. And because he will only take 5-6 people at a time, you get a personal tour and lesson on anything. This was a trip of a lifetime and thanks to Captain Jim, we have magical memories that cannot be matched.

Visited November 2011
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Sparks, Nevada
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“An intimate day with the whales!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2011

My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary with a trip to San Juan Island. We booked a whale/wildlife watching charter with Jim Maya's charter. We couldn't have had a better time! The weather was phenomenal-the sea was glass! We met Capt Jim and the naturalist Jeannie. We lucked out; although Jim doen't take more than 6 people out at a time, we had the tour to ourselves! We weren't sure if we would see the orca as they had been out to sea all week. We first saw a bald eagle, several seal pups and Dall's porpoise. Then, we were in luck! All three pods J, K and L were out to play! The calves were rolling around and wrestling, others were napping. Amazing! Jeannie could name every single whale at the blink of an eye! We spent a good 2 hours watching them. There is no way to describe how incredible it is to see these beautiful creatures up close! On the way back, a pod of Dall's porpoise decided to play and they surfed the bow of the boat. AWESOME! Capt Jim and Jeannie were personable and it is apparent they are passionate (and respectful) about the whales. I HIGHLY recommend Maya's charters to anyone!!!

Visited September 2011
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Sioux Falls, South Dakota
1 review
“Everything you imagined it would be.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2011

I went to Seattle for a business conference last week. A friend from another state and I decided to meet up a day early and find something to do. She found Captain Jim Maya and we headed up to Friday Harbor. Captain Jim and Jeannie (the onboard naturalist) were extremely attentive and made us feel very welcome and cared for on the boat. In addition, they provided a wealth of information about the islands and the wildlife. The boat rides to and from the areas where Captain Jim's research indicated that the Whales would be that day were fast and serene at the same time. The views of the ocean, islands, wildlife, and the barges and ships in the distance, all were breathtaking. And then there were the whales. Captain Jim brought us to an area where we drifted for miles while Orcas surfaced, jumped, and skimmed the surface all around us. There was absolutely no need for the binoculars we brought along. There were five other adult passengers and whispers of "over there", "over here", "to the right", "look to 4 o'clock" were constantly present. After awhile we all sat in silence just watching the Orcas surface all around us. It was awe-inspiring and I was moved to tears. After a considerable amount of time with the Orcas, Captain Jim took us to another area, not too far away where Humpbacks had been spotted earlier in the day. Sure enough, it wasn't long before the telltale water sprays could be seen in the distance. As we came closer, their humps became obvious and we were lucky to view fluke after fluke, spray after spray. The whale watching trip was worth every dollar. As the other reviews have mentioned, there is just nothing else as important as being in a small boat because there is no impediment to the views and you feel at one with nature. The seven of us truly bonded on that boat, sharing that wonderful experience. In closing, Captain Jim and Jeannie are clearly both genuine people sharing their love of the whales, spreading the word about protecting their habitat. I wish I could go out on the boat every day. Like I said when we got off the boat, Captain Jim, you are a lucky man.

Visited October 2011
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