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Photos from whale watching tours

Cross Plains...
Level Contributor
1 post
12 reviews
Photos from whale watching tours

My family will be staying on San Juan Island in early August and definitely want to do a whale watching tour so I've been researching the various tour operators on Tripadvisor. I've seen a number of reviews (specifically Spirit of the Orca and Maya's Legacy) that mention that the captain or crew took great photos on the trip and shared them with the people on the tour afterwards. However, I don't find anything about the photo sharing on the tour operators' websites. Does anyone know which operators provide such a service? This would be a big factor in my decision as the stress of trying to get good photos always makes it hard for me to enjoy wildlife tours! Thanks for any advice.

5 replies to this topic
Seattle, Wa
Level Contributor
5,988 posts
49 reviews
1. Re: Photos from whale watching tours

I'd suggest calling and asking (or emailing). Maya's has done that sometimes with me but not everytime--in fact I think a minority of times. It might depend on who they have on board (is the staff person a good photographer?) and when/if they have time to go through them, edit, cull and share. I agree it's a great service since I don't have a camera with super long lens but it is a lot of work on their part.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
31 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Photos from whale watching tours

I was looking at the same thing. The biggest boat, Odyssey, run by San Juan Excursions, seems to be consistent in providing photos. I haven't called them yet to ask, but I think I'll go with them because, like you, I find it hard to enjoy the experience when I feel pressured to take good pictures. It's like Jon Kabbat-Zin says, "Great photo. Wish I were there!" Also, the San Juan Excursions people claim that their bigger boat has less whale and environmental impact because more people can travel with just one motor, and they go slower, which creates less noise. The whales really hate motorboat noise, apparently.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
31 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Photos from whale watching tours

I just called San Juan Excursions. They definitely do take photos on every trip. One other thing -- a lot of the whale watching companies with smaller boats (understandably) have strict cancellation policies of 48 hours. Losing 2 out of only 6 seats would really cost them! But SJE said they would of course like as much notice as possible, but we could even cancel the morning of if someone in our party is sick, etc and we can't make it. I like that assurance. I booked with them for 8/5. Maybe I'll see you there, Orchardwife! :) Have fun.

murfreesboro, tn
Level Contributor
144 posts
264 reviews
4. Re: Photos from whale watching tours

You will be extrrmely satisfied with San Juan Excursions. We were with them last Wednesday and they were excellent!! The naturalists on board are so helpful. We got our photos in Sunday. Hope you have a great time.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Level Contributor
7 posts
37 reviews
5. Re: Photos from whale watching tours

We did a whale tour last week with with Maya's Legacy. I had read about them and had seen comments about one of naturalists taking photos and emailing. Neither of our two naturalists took photos. I loved our tour, our naturalists, our captain and the boats. Of course it is the only one I have been on, but I really liked Maya's Legacy and the smaller, faster boat. We seemed to get around and maneuver so much easier than the big boats.

Having them take the photos is really nice, so it is a toss up if I would choose a company that would take photos for me or the other benefits I mentioned above. My photos did not turn out very well. My daughter has a new Iphone and took videos that turned out really nice.

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