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“Worth the money!”

Orcas Island Eclipse Charters
Ranked #4 of 16 Tours in Orcas Island
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: We depart at the Orcas Island Ferry Dock for Whale Watching and Light House tours. 56 foot "Orcas Express"U.S.C.G. lic. 48 seats, heated cabin with restroom and upstairs, downstairs outside. Professional naturalists, under water hydrophone system, listen to the Orca . We serve small or large groups. We host weddings and parties. Our vessel has hydraulic stabilizers for a more comfortable ride. We pride ourselves, on our well maintained vessel and our educational environmental awareness program . We run with b20 bio diesel.
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
66 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Worth the money!”
Reviewed July 17, 2013

Great experience seeing and being educated about the wildlife on, in and around the islands. We did see Orcas but that's not all. The trip took us around several islands and out into the Strait of Juan de Fucua. Along the way, we learned a lot about the wildlife we viewed. Very knowledgable assistants. Great boat, safe, comfortable and warm. Don't pass on this one.

Visited July 2013
Thank CatchnRelease1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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190 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Kenmore, Washington
Level Contributor
6 reviews
“Wonderful day and saw many Orca Whales”
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Orcas Island Eclipse Charters did an excellent job showing off most of J Pod, we also saw
bald eagles, seals beside the whales. It is really a nice boat with inside and outside viewing.
We stayed up on top outside most of the time. Captain Dan and his crew did an excellent
job of explaining about the Orcas and being able to identify the Orcas in J pod. I would recommend them to everyone.

Visited July 2013
Thank Suzanne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“They go the extra mile - quite literally!”
Reviewed July 13, 2013

After a lot of research online, I selected Eclipse Island Charters based on the stellar reviews, and it turns out they were well deserved! The whale watching excursion was the main part of my wife's surprise 30th birthday trip from Tampa to the Northwest to hopefully see orca whales, her favorite animal. I booked two back to back days, one of them using Groupon (they are on there quite a bit from what I've found at 50% off), and I was very glad for booking the two days. We got there the first day and was told that there was a humpback in the are, which are quite larger than orcas and apparently more rare in the area and that the orca were all out to sea, well out of the boats range. Captain Dan took us out in the Orcas Express, which compared to all the other whale watching boats we saw around the humpback, was the best (heated interior, indoor seating, an upstairs for viewing, and fairly fast). We went out and spent quite a bit of time watching the humpback surface and even breach out of the water. Next he took us to see a really active minke whale that was feeding on a school of fish (I think), and then harbor seals and bald eagle nesting spots.

It was pretty great, but we were really praying that the orcas would be back in the area the next day. Knowing that they had been out of the area for the past 6 days, I didn't have much hopes, but my wife kept the faith. We arrived the next day and Captain Dan excitedly told everyone that the orcas had been spotted coming in east of Victoria, but were fighting the current, which was slowing them down. Captain Dan had the option of staying nearby and showing everyone seals, bald eagles, and minke whales, but I think in part of seeing us there, and knowing that we had traveled from Tampa just to see the orcas for my wife's 30th birthday, he made the decision to book it past the normally daily limits of his tour range so that we could hopefully see the orcas. He's the best!

We spent about 90 minutes going at full speed over open water just to get there, but we saw the orcas! My wife cried at the sight out of happiness and even though we only got about 20 minutes with them, it was worth every penny I had spent on getting her there. Captain Dan does a great job of getting as close as he is legally allowed to be to the whales and his crew does an fantastic job of telling the people about the whales and can even tell you the names of lineage of each whale based on their unique fins. Captain Dan says they usually get a full hour or more with the whales when they are close to Orcas Island, which would have been great, and we plan on making another trip one day to find see that.

I can't recommend Orcas Island Eclipse Charters enough. The boat is great, the crew is great, and Captain Dan is the best. Be sure to spend some time in the wheelhouse with him while traveling on the boat. He loves the area and loves sharing his decades of knowledge about it with anyone who listens. Also, be sure to look on Groupon for them to save some money, but even if you can't get one, they are worth whatever they charge :)

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Nickk S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Parkville, Maryland
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great Adventure”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

We were a group of 7 that went on this adventure to see whales. We were able to see a hump back and a minkie (sp?) whale, which are considered to be very rare!! The captain and his team were very knowledgeable on whales and went out of their way to ensure we had the best possible view of the whales.

Visited June 2013
Thank 754JenniferB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“So glad we did this trip”
Reviewed July 5, 2013

We decided at the last minute to join the tour. It was 7:30am and the tour we wanted to take was leaving at 9am. We didn't have a car on the island so Denise even had one of their naturalists Deb come pick us out at our hotel on her way to work.

It was really chilly at the start, but they provide jackets and windbreakers as well as binoculars. By the end, we were so glad to have done this. We ended up seeing 3 orcas from the L pod hunting near San Juan Island, harbor porpoises, a bald eagle, and sunbathing harbor seals, not to mention the beautiful scenery. The crew was really knowledgeable about orcas, explaining the family lineage of resident orca pods and the 3 orcas we saw in particular.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank nyetnyet98
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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