If you want to see whales, visit the coast in the spring and summer. 20,000 gray whales are returning to Alaska, and orcas are often in the area. TheWhaleTrail.org offers numerous land-based sites for whale watching—my favorite is Lime Kiln State Park. If you’d like to take to the sea, Western Prince Whale Watching is excellent. Whether from land or sea, bring your binoculars (10×50 are ideal).

Remember, though, these are wild animals. They go where they please, and they do not show up on cue. They are unpredictable. One of my great joys in whale watching has been, ironically enough, not seeing whales. It adds to their mystery and majesty, and it makes the moment when one does surface all the more special. //

 

Peter Wayne Moe is a professor at Seattle Pacific University.