Icy Strait Whale Watching Tour

The tour begins when a transport picks you up just outside the gates of Icy Strait Point, where it will drive to Hoonah Harbor dock to meet the charter boat. Along the way you may spot some of our local wildlife including Alaskan Brown Bears, bald eagles, blacktail deer, and more.

Once aboard and traveling along the shorelines, sightings of bears, deer, coastal ducks and geese, blue heron, puffin, swans, terns, cormorants, and more are common. In the water you may get a chance to spot, orca, sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, and seals in addition to the feeding humpbacks.

Humpback whales come to Hoonah in huge numbers to feed on the nutrient rich waters of Glacier Bay and Icy Strait every summer beginning in May before migrating south again in September for the winter. Humpback whales are large baleen whales that can reach over 50 feet in length and weigh as much as 30-50 tons. Humpbacks are amazingly active and typical whale sightings will include diving, blows, and flukes (tails). Lucky whale-watchers may get to see breaching and bubble-net feeding, a cooperative feeding method where a pod forms a circle and dives under the water; they then blow air to create a wall of bubbles that force krill and plankton to the surface where the whales can eat them. Observing humpbacks practice bubble-net feeding is a real treat and a truly thrilling experience.

The charter boat is built for speed and comfort, and perfectly suited for travel along Alaska's waterways. Guests will stay warm and dry with viewing decks and heated cabins as they experience the wonder and beauty of our whale watching trip. We will return to the docks and transport you back to Icy Strait Point with plenty of time to board your ship or explore downtown Hoonah.

Whale sightings are guaranteed. If you do not see a whale on your tour, you will be fully refunded.

Duration: 3 hours (Roundtrip from excursions hub.)

Inclusions:

  • Roundtrip transportation from Icy Strait Point gates
  • Coffe, tea, hot chocolate and water provided
  • Light snacks will be available
  • Restrooms onboard boat

Duration:  3 hours. Tour time below are approximate:

  •  30 minutes roundtrip transportation
  •  2.5 hours of whale watching onboard a charter boat

Meeting Instructions:

  • This tour meets at the Excursions Hub. Fully detailed instructions are included on your finalized ticket vouchers.

Will I get seasick?

We get this question a lot. The waters we operate in are usually pretty calm. If you are prone to seasickness, we recommend Dramamine or a wristband. Over the years, less than 1% of our guests have gotten seasick. 

How many passengers does the boat hold?

The charter boats used have a capacity of 24 passengers.

What is the seating arrangement in the boat?

Every boat has open seating as well as outside viewing areas when permitted.

Is there an inside seating area on the boat, is it heated?

The interior of the boat is heated when needed due to weather conditions to keep a comfortable environment.

Are there restrooms on the boat?

Yes, the boats are equipped with restrooms.

How close will we get to the whales?

Humpback whales and other sea animals are protected species and a safe distance of at least 100 yards must be maintained at all times according to NOAA regulations.

Are whale sightings guaranteed?

Sightings are guaranteed or you'll receive a full refund for your tour.

What is the temperature on the water? 

Air temperature can drop as much as 20°F with the wind chill factor when viewing whales outside.

Are there any age restrictions for children?

There are no age restrictions for this tour.

Can I bring a backpack?

Backpacks, small bags, and purses are allowed on this tour.

Can I bring my own food or drink?

Non-alcoholic beverages in a closeable containters and snacks are allowed on tour.

Are food and drink included?

Bottled water and a light snack are included.

Not seeing answers to your questions?

Check out other frequently asked questions here!

Customer Reviews
Aug 2019 - Barbara S.

Enjoyed the boat captain and tour guide! Found bears and whales...was a great excursion!

Aug 2019 - Shelly S.

Professional small crew on a smaller tour boat. Captain share many personal stories and local area and local wildlife info. We saw two humpback whales (one came close to the boat) and some sea otters during our cruise. Wished we had seen some orcas or bears. Captain drove some shoreline for bears but no luck and he said Orcas that were spotted were too far to reach during tour time. Tour seemed to end a little earlier than expected, but still enjoyed it.

Aug 2019 - Joy D.

The excursion was fantastic! The guys who handled the boat were amazing. Gave us a good background of the the Strait and the creatures that populate it.

Aug 2019 - Renee C.

We had a PERFECT day whale watching with Captain Paul. So glad we skipped booking via the cruise line (they had HUGE boats) and booked with this local who knows the area. You will learn a LOT and we saw Orcas and Humpbacks...and otters and more. Thanks for a great experience!!

Aug 2019 - Joseph D.

Awesome experience. Saw several different wild animals along with a Humpback Whale breach. The staff was very friendly and informative as well. Would absolutely recommend to others traveling to AK.

Aug 2019 - Jonathan P.

Tour was amazing and the team including the boat lead and his two girls made the trip spectacular. Would definitely recommend this to everyone.

Jul 2019 - Cindy S.

Small boat, great captain, lots of whales

Jul 2019 - Patrick H.

Some some great whales.

Jul 2019 - Riyaz S H.

Saw Killer whales and Humpbacks - got quite close to them. Was a great excursion

Jul 2019 - Lisa S.

We were happy to see both orcas and hunchback whales. The tour guide kept the tour interesting and shared some wonderful wildlife pictures. Best day of the whole cruise! Also great meal at Fishermans Daughter at a good price.

Jul 2019 - Neal M.

Would have been a great trip even if a pod of Orcas had not swam right under our boat and then hung around the area. We really got lucky but was due to the efforts of the pilot to find them. Also saw a humpback and her calf as well as a whole bunch of otters.

Jul 2019 - Eric B.

This was great! The captain knew exactly where to go to see the whales. He also knew how to maneuver the boat turning off the engines so the whales would not be scared away. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Alaska.

Jul 2019 - Shannon D.

This was amazing. Saw tons of whales and few sea otters and harbor seals. The stories of life in Alaska shared by entertaining boat captain were worth the trip themselves! His 2 daughters were likewise entertaining, helpful and very knowledgeable. I'd go back for another tour with this group!!!

Jul 2019 - Bobbie P.

Very knowledgeable guide and friendly.

Jul 2019 - Fong C.

Very good. Guide was very knowledgeable and shared his experience with the group.

Jul 2019 - Christine B.

So interesting to meet local people and hear their stories. The staff went out of their way to ensure we saw as much as possible. We saw humpbacks and orcas. The most gorgeous sea otters too. Good viewing places so we all had the opportunity to get a great view. We felt very safe and valued.

Jul 2019 - Dahlia W.

Paul was an amazing tour/captain. He was so knowledgeable about the area and so passionate with his job.

Jul 2019 - Malcolm B.

A great trip. Our guides were very friendly and ensured that we viewed Orcas, Hump back Whales, Sea Lions & Sea Otters. An excellent experience all round.

Jul 2019 - Marla K.

The guides were amazing and we really enjoyed the personal stories and knowledge they had to share. The only negative is that we were not able to get very close to the whales on our tour, which of course is how it goes with wildlife!

Jul 2019 - Rodrigo D.

We had a great time on this tour! The boat is not big and very comfortable. The Capitan and his daughters were amazing, very polite and brought us to great places for whale watching!

Jun 2019 - Tyler J.

Best service of the trip. The Captain and crew were amazing and the boat was super nice. We got to see a ton of whales and had an amazing time.

Jun 2019 - Lehla M.

This tour was wonderful. It was half the price of the ship and they still guaranteed to see a whale or your money back. The boat we were on was immaculate and the captain was very personable and filled us with info on the town, various statistics, educational information on the bears in the area and their stats. Info on the whales and other marine life and even shared pictures while we headed back to our ship. They provided water for free and snacks for a minute amount. The other tour operations were beyond polite and friendly and happy to answer any questions. I would definitely use Alaska Shore Excursions again.

Jun 2019 - Jerry T.

James and Andrew did a great job. Gave lots of information and made the excursion fun. It rained but didn't keep us from seeing whales. there were quite a few to see but unfortunately did not get any pics!

Jun 2019 - Richard T.

This was a great experience. After 3 previous trips to see whales elsewhere all of which were complete failures this made up for them. We saw 4 Orcas and followed them for some distance and then numerous Humpbacks in 2 different locations. One surfaced so close to the stern of the boat we could almost lean out and touch it. There were just 9 of us on a boat with capacity of 20 or so and the crew were extremely knowledgeable and informative both about the whales and their personal lives in Hoonah. Our thanks to them and the management for a memorable experience

Jun 2019 - Barbara S.

Excellent crew on our trip. Saw multiple instances of bubble feeding. Whales came up right next to the boat. Mate shot great video with his phone and shared with all passengers on board by air drop. Saw seals, eagles and bears. Spectacular trip. I was a bit under the weather and mate found me a nice wool blanket to keep me warm.

Jun 2019 - Kamla L.

What great fun! Fabulous crew, great boat. Our guide even shared a video he took of one of the whale sightings. Loved every moment. Much better than the crowded cruise ship tours.

Jun 2019 - Amber S.

We had an amazing time, got to see whales, sea lions, and sea otters. The captain and his two daughters were wonderful and knowledgeable. Definitely a highlight of our trip!!!

Jun 2019 - Borer B.

This tour was amazing. The crew was expert in sighting whales and describing the whales movements and eating behaviors. The captain got us close enough see the whales. Added bonus, we also saw two brown bear cubs.

Jun 2019 - Catherine C.

Super good, organized, punctual, accommodating, kept us entertained with stories about Hoonah. Most importantly, we followed a group of 3 whales all over the bay and were able to watch 2 young brown bears up close. Was more personal than the ships excursion which had 3 times as many people on a larger boat that lumbered around.

Jun 2019 - Christy C.

Captain was very entertaining & knowledgeable. The onboard staff went out of their way to make it an enjoyable experience. Well organized and friendly staff at port.

Jun 2019 - Jessee R.

This was a great tour. It was our first time whale watching and we saw many. Our tour guide was funny and VERY informative. He had personal stories and a vast amount of knowledge about the island and the animals that inhabit it. The boat was brand new, very clean. Very good experience

Jun 2019 - Glenn T.

Excellent trip on modern boat and really nice dad and daughters staff. We saw some whales as promised including one close to the boat. Only problem for me was the extreme bumping!

Jun 2019 - Prashant G.

Plus points - a clean boat, small group, and very committed team to ensure that we got the best experience out of the day. Downsides - While we did spot whales, for some reason we couldnt go closer to get a better view. We did see other boats in the vicinity that would move closer on spotting the whales. But ours didnt. That was the only disappointment.

Jun 2019 - Vicki F.

On the boat trip saw one whale up close and we were very lucky to be closest to it. The gentleman who ran the excursion was excellent and we loved his stories about the country, culture and knowledge of the whales. The boat and bus were superb. Thank you. His daughters beautiful.

Jun 2019 - Robert M.

We were looked after really well,good commentary. Some of party saw a whale really close up, otherwise they were in the distance. No photos unfortunately. Lovely scenery.

Jun 2019 - Jennifer J.

We had a great time on this tour - we spotted several whale tails, backs, and spouts, and really appreciated that the guides even stopped to allow us to view a brown bear on the shoreline. A great excursion when in Icy Strait / Hoonah, as there is wonderful wildlife and not much else to do there on your own. Our experience involved about a half hour boat ride out to Point Adolphus, a natural feeding area for the humpback and orca whales in the area. On the day we went it was particularly windy (though beautiful and sunny) so our ride was extremely choppy/bumpy which can be difficult for easily seasick passengers. Loved our guides and got great pictures and memories. Bring layers as it can be cold in the wind even on a warm day!

Jun 2019 - Jim C.

Great experience Captain was great

May 2019 - Rick M.

We had a wonderful time. We saw a mother humpback and her baby, sea loins and seals. The best part was the education we received from the guide. He was excellent and very personable. Highly recommend.

May 2019 - Jan A.

I loved my cruise. Everything was wonderful

May 2019 - Vicki M.

Great trip.....saw and heard orcas right next to the boat! The humpbacks were a bit shy and were a bit further away. Nice small boat, great staff.....loads of fun.

May 2019 - WILLIAM G.

Our guides were great and we got lucky with the first group of Orcas of the season. Highly recommend this one.

May 2019 - Donna H.

What a great excursion! The 2 guys were great and we saw a lot of orcas and got plenty of great photos and videos. We also got to see several humpbacks. This excursion was great and I highly recommend it!!

May 2019 - Kasper H.

Amazing Tour with a very competent captain and crew. The area around Icy Strait is so beautiful!

May 2019 - Susan A.

Our tour guide was excellent. Well spoken, very knowledgeable, and with a good sense of humour. The boat was beautiful and comfortable.

Oct 2018 - Cheng Z.

The whale was less than 30m from us , we can even see the eyes and mouse. Wonderful!

Sep 2018 - Kimberly G.

We ended up seeing a lot of whales on this trip! It was a spectacular day with gorgeous sunny weather. Our guides, Donny and James, were knowledgeable and very helpful.

Sep 2018 - William S.

We thoroughly enjoyed our whale watching tour. The captain was very engaging and he and his staff made the tour even more enjoyable. We would recommend this tour.

Sep 2018 - Paula G.

NICE! Super day, our captain and his 1st mate know their waters and wildlife. Great new boat custom made for this excursion.

Sep 2018 - Marcia W.

Unfortunately we didn't really see any whales but our skipper tried really hard to find them overall was a good trip

Sep 2018 - John Y.

The crew really took the time to keep close watch on where the whales were. And we saw a lot of them. Can't thank them enough.

Sep 2018 - Joel L.

A day of beautiful weather provided a great day of whale, otter and porpoise sightings. Captain and mate were very informative and were great in capturing a lot of sightings.

Sep 2018 - Jennifer K.

Excellent from start to finish!!

Sep 2018 - MISTY S.

The captain was great, but we didn't see many whales in the area. However, others in the area did.

Sep 2018 - June G.

This was an amazing trip of a lifetime. The crew on the boat were very informative and friendly. We were a small group which made the experience even more special. Would definitely recommend this tour rather than a cruise ship tour.

Sep 2018 - Carol M.

Great staff, guide was very friendly, knowledgeable and informative and worked hard to find whales. His two daughters were also very friendly and helpful with spotting whales. Very professional!!! We would highly recommend this tour.

Aug 2018 - Jane L.

Excellent tour. The boat was new and clean. Our tour guide had a wealth of information.

Aug 2018 - Kathy P.

The Captain and Crew were very knowledgeable and brought us to experience some amazing Whale sightings. Our shuttle driver was very proud of his community and we loved hearing about the historic significance of the items he spoke about.

Aug 2018 - Gail P.

We had the best 'skipper' and he did a great job of getting us to see as many whales and other wildlife as possible. I definitely would recommend this trip if you want to see whales.

Aug 2018 - Julie-Ann K.

Whale watching tour was great - we saw a lot of whales and the guides were good with trying to get maximum exposure to the whales and other wildlife.

Aug 2018 - John M.

A GREAT excursion! Lost count of how many humpbacks we saw. A few came right up to the boat. We encountered several pods of whales. I would highly recommend this excursion.

Aug 2018 - Jerry S.

We had an awesome time and the whales cooperated.

Aug 2018 - Suzanne W.

Highly recommended. Small boat personalised experience. Friendly and knowledgeable guide/skipper who knew exactly where to take us for the best sea-life viewing. We were super lucky to see several humpbacks breaching at once with a large group of them bubble net feeding. Also saw orca and sea otters. The whole team were incredibly friendly and helpful including directimg is to an eagle's nest once we were back on shore.

Aug 2018 - Linda H. T.

Nice excursion fir our smaller group on a brand new boat. Crew was great. We saw about 8 humpbacks w plenty of diving by the whales for good viewing of flukes. Also saw one breach. Even without the whales - Icy Strait Point is a beautiful place. Had some pretty awesome dungeness crabs there too. Going back on same excursion on oir next cruise.

Aug 2018 - Angelo C.

This was a real highlight of our vacation. I highly recommend this excursion less crowded makes it so enjoyable.

Aug 2018 - Kimberly M.

The captain and daughters were wonderful It met all my expectations I'll be recommending to all friends

Aug 2018 - Huascar R.

Paul and his crew did an excellent job. I would definitely use them again.

Aug 2018 - Sandra W.

So much better than we EVER anticipated... Our Captain was keenly aware of the locations to check out resulting in a fabulous experience. With only 13 folks on board there was ample wiggle room to capture the best photos and viewing comfortably.... A five star event

Jul 2018 - Pierre C.

Excellent with Paul, the boat driver, who have lot of informations, nice stories and his 2 daughters.

Jul 2018 - Niki W.

Loved it! Got some nice close-up pics of whales. The boat captain/tour guide was great - very knowledgeable about whales and shared a lot of information about local life.

Jul 2018 - Attel M.

Best excursion of the cruise. The tour operator did an amazing job on this small group (24 ppl) cruise to find whales. The boat was comfortable and fast and the Captain and his crew (his 2 daughters) made sure we had a wonderful time and saw many whales. Loved the Captain's insights to living in Alaska as well. Highly recommend this tour !

Jul 2018 - Norman B.

Really worthwhile. Never seen so many different species in one place and time.

Jul 2018 - Diana D.

Loved it. Captain Paul was very knowledgeable and had some good stories. Liked the smaller boat. Got some great pictures.

Jun 2018 - Rebecca L.

We only saw a few whales, but the scenery was absolutely beautiful and our guide was very informative about wildlife and local culture.

Jun 2018 - Marie-Helene M.

They try to give us the Best for the time allowed for the excursion. The group was small, we appreciate that. I am an old lady so the only thing that bothered me was the speed of the boat, a little too fast.

Jun 2018 - Ann L.

Our guide mike was amazing. His knowledge of hoonah was inspiring. Saw whales proposes sea otters.

Jun 2018 - Michael T.

Great tour. Beautiful water and not only did we see quite a few whales, we saw several sea otters and sea lions. Would do this tour again the next time in Icy Strait Point.

Jun 2018 - JULIANNE E.

AMAZING!!!!! Our pilot and captain was able to get us right into the whale pod areas! Had whales around us the entire excursion feeding, breaching, and swimming. Swam right up to and under the boat area! Tour of a Lifetime!

Jun 2018 - Angela W.

The tour guide was excellent with his two daughters as helpers..

Jun 2018 - Frederick L.

This was a fantastic excursion, we saw humpbacks bubble feeding on many occations, our skipper was enthusiastic with local knowledge and fun stories. We saw many many whales - what a great day!

Jun 2018 - Robert G.

Saw large groups of whales. Four went under our boat for a great close-up view. Best tour for the money. Nice boat, Captain and crew. Highly recommend

Jun 2018 - Alice B.

Wonderful captain and staff. We saw lots of whales. We learned so much and had a great time. Thanks.

Jun 2018 - William P.

This was fabulous. There were only six of us plus the captain, Billy, on a small boat and we had a close-up (but not too close) view of humpback whales breaching, feeding and diving. Other highlights included sea lions sunning and quarrelling amongst themselves and a brown bear with two cubs on the far shore. With us being close to the water it was a terrific experience. Pick-up from the meeting point and return journey was well organised.

Jun 2018 - Graeme C.

This was the highlight of the trip. Paul and Jamie our skipper made this the absolute highlight of this trip. Cannot recommend this tour enough!!!!

Jun 2018 - WAH-KWAN L.

Excellent! We could see the whales closely.

May 2018 - Elaine M.

A great tour for a total passenger group of six people in a small fishing boat with Captain Bill - I understand from the Tour Company that groups of up to 18 people are usually booked and that larger vessels are used. The Tour is concerned with Whale Watching so the smaller vessel, sitting almost at water level was perfect for the job - a larger boat may have had more creature comforts but could not offer the viewing angles of the smaller vessel. We were collected from the Excursion Hub in a minibus and driven the 1 mile or so to the departure jetty where Captain Bill was ready to go - less than 5 minutes later, we were underway to the first site where whales aplenty awaited. Captain Bill is really knowledgeable and he told us to watch for the group of hovering seabirds who use the oxygen bubbles breaking on the water to spot where the whales will surface a few seconds later. Captain Bill then talked us through the cycle of whale activity each time to ensure we, and our cameras, were prepared for the surfacing, the 'cruise', and the shaping for the 'Tail Photo' - we all got photos like the picture opposite this Review! We moved on to 2-3 other whale sites, interspersing viewings with a 10-15 minute visit to the Bell Marker to view and film the sea lions who use it as a refuge from the hunting whales. On the way to the final whale site, Captain Bill spotted a brown bear and her cub on the shoreline - unfortunately, the rocky shelf prevented us from getting closer than about 400 yards away so the binoculars were at full stretch watching the bears for the 10-15 minutes of enchantment - magnificent! We spent about 2 1/4 hours on the water (I took 300 photos ...) and had a wonderful time. Creature comforts are not plentiful - there is a lot of standing/leaning and twisting to gain the best views of the Whales breaking the surface, so the 4 star rating acknowledges this. We stayed at sea until the last possible minute to get the last few whale photos and returned to the courtesy minibus with sore feet, stiff legs and stupid grins on our faces after a wonderful, tiring excursion with marvellous pictures from a brilliant tour! I want to take the Tour again - aching feet recover, but the memories (and the photos!) remain!

Sep 2017 - Kelly B.

Great tour followed a pod of 10 Whales great time the boat was clean and well kept. I also forgot my phone in the van on the way back the driver had it back to me before the boat left ....I was shocked and grateful!!

Jul 2017 - Julie E.

Paul and Gabby were great! Interesting and we got to see a LOT of wildlife and Whales too!

Jul 2017 - Michael A.

The captain looked like a pirate which made it more fun. We saw Orchas and 2 big whales. He took us to where the whales were and the 2 guides were very helpful and fun to be around especially for our kids. I know the 1 guide told us she was in the field as a naturalist but she made a few slip ups about the sea life.

Jul 2017 - Carol B.

Our captain, Paul, was great along with his first mate daughter. Being a local resident he told great stories. He found whales and stayed with them. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't great and the whales weren't that active. Glad we did it with a small group of 18 rather than the larger ship group.

Jul 2017 - Nancy P.

excellent guide, gave a great history and cultural review as well

Jun 2017 - Alyssa F.

Our guide's knowledge of the area, history, ecosystem and respect for native cultures and customs was truly impressive. I can't remember his name, but his daughter Gabby was also with us, and was really knowledgeable as well. The boat was comfortable and ideal for whale watching. Overall, an amazing experience.

Jun 2017 - Nicholette K.

An amazing experience. Saw several grouos of whales just off the shoreline and was able to catch 5 or 6 bubble feeds. Felt like the whales were really close on a number of occasions and the boat , being small, was able to respond quickly to nearby sighting. Also saw sealions,

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$158.00

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Duration: 3 hours


Number of Passengers *

Adult: $158.00

Child (12 and Under): $148.00

Total
$0.00
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