Whale Watching Naturalists
Our Whale Watching trips are more than just an exciting way to see and learn about marine wildlife in its natural habitat. Onboard trained Naturalists are with you throughout the entire voyage, sharing their passion for the Salish Sea and the intricate connections between the animals that live here, as well as identifying places of historical, cultural, and environmental interest along the way. The Naturalist’s Station on the main deck hosts a variety of field guides, children’s books, nautical and animal identification charts, and specimen samples for you to explore.
What will the Naturalists do?
All of our Naturalists have an individual approach to the topics that they discuss depending on their own specialized backgrounds. Here are some examples of topics and what you may see and experience:
- As conditions allow, our Whale Watch trips include plankton sampling, allowing you to see firsthand the tiny, fascinating creatures that form the foundation of the food chain in the Salish Sea. Results of each sample can be seen from the comfort of your seat via video screens located around the boat, or feel free to visit the Naturalist’s Station to take a closer look with our digital microscope.
- During, the whale and sea life search, your naturalist will help you to understand the behaviors demonstrated by whales and other wildlife, as well as natural history about the diet, habitat and factors affecting the long-term survival of the animals you see. In many cases, the individual whales seen are known to our naturalists and can be identified by distinctive markings.
- Whenever possible, your naturalist will identify the individuals as they are seen, or from your digital photos. You can try your hand at identifying the whales yourself, using charts at the Naturalist’s Station.
- Want to know more? Our naturalists keep up to date on the latest Salish Sea marine mammal research, and we keep current reports and articles on board for your enjoyment. They love to talk about whales and wildlife and will be happy to answer your questions. By the end of your voyage, you’ll have a new appreciation for the beautiful waters and wildlife you have visited.