Bird Watching Cruise
View tufted puffins and other birds in the Salish Sea
- This season our Bird Watching Cruises will focus on viewing Tufted puffins near Smith Island during the months of July and early August. View birds from a unique vantage point as we cruise to this prime viewing location, taking in puffins and other varieties of common and seasonal birds. Our captain and professional naturalists will talk about, and help you spot, the wide variety of birds that you’ll see on this cruise.
- The cruise also includes a delicious, freshly baked lasagna lunch (meat and veggie available), along with a Caesar salad, garlic bread and a brownie for dessert. Our vessels also have additional snacks and beverages available for purchase.
- Smith Island is one of few areas left that tufted puffins are regularly seen in the San Juan Islands. Historically, these birds had many nesting colonies throughout the islands. However, due to population declines they have become rare and are listed as a “species of concern”.
June 29 – July 13 – July 27
JUNE 29 – JULY 13 – JULY 27 – Smith Island Puffin Search
Smith Island is one of few areas left that tufted puffins are regularly seen in the San Juan Islands. Historically, these birds had many nesting colonies throughout the islands. However, due to population declines they have become rare and are listed as a “species of concern”.
Bring your binoculars, a camera, sun screen and jacket/windbreaker. Our vessels have plenty of indoor seating, as well as ample outdoor viewing areas on two levels of the boat.
This tour departs from the Alaska Ferry Terminal in Bellingham, WA.
View birds seen on past cruises on our blog.
About Our Naturalist
Victoria Souze is a Marine Naturalist, member of the Salish Sea Marine Naturalists Association (SSMNA), Education Director of Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network (WMMSN), an avid birder from Alaska to California to Hawaii, and a 20 year resident of Lummi Island.
Great Blue Herons
Cormorants (Pelagic, Double-Crested, and Brandt’s)
Red Tail Hawk
Common Murres (later in the season, towards late June)
Marbled Murreletts (later in the season, towards late June)
Birds Seen Seasonally:
Red Throated Loon
Long Tailed Duck
Other Wildlife Commonly Seen:
California and/or Steller Sea Lions
“We went on a day cruise to Smith Island to see the tufted puffins and had a fabulous time. The staff were very organized and knowledgeable. Our cruise stopped by several bird-friendly sites and islands as well as Smith Island, the home to over a dozen puffins. The captain made sure the boat was angled correctly so photographers could get the best photos possible. Lunch was a choice of meat or veggie lasagna. I had the veggie and it was delicious. There is an inside cabin and washroom available. A wonderful experience and everyone came off the boat happy!”
“We went on a full Puffin Cruise to Smith Island where there is a breeding colony. We ended up seeing twenty puffins and two rare birds a long tailed jaeger and an ancient murrelet plus a whole host of other local birds. Fantastic trip and the lasagna lunch was delicious”
“This was a great experience. The timing when the birds are nesting and in showing their colours was really beautiful. We saw a lot of birds…the Pigeon Guillemonts were small but there red feet were lovely! The Surf Scoters were a bonus as the well as Black Oystercatchers. The large group of Harlequin Ducks was spectacular. I didn’t see any Rhinoceros Auklet but some passengers did. I did see 14 different birds. The day was calm on the water.I would love to go again. Oh! The lunch was very good. The crew was very nice. “
“We enjoyed a wonderful day spotting birds along the shore as well as other wildlife. The crew was wonderful. The naturalist on board was very knowledgeable and the captain added a lot of historical information about the islands we visited. Highly recommended!”
Location / Directions
Cruises depart from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal / Alaska Ferry Terminal in Bellingham, WA. Please check in at least 30 minutes prior to departure at our ticketing office inside the terminal. (Map / Driving Instructions).
Bird Watching Cruise Gift Certificates
Looking for the perfect gift for friends or family? We have gift certificates available – give us a call at 800-443-4552 or stop by our office.
If your plans change and you need to cancel your reservation, or change it to a different date, please give us a call at least 24 hours prior to departure. Reservations cancelled within 24 hours of departure are non-refundable. When you make a reservation, we will send you a confirmation letter detailing our cancellation policy.