What is Alaska's orca season?
Killer whales can be seen in southeast Alaska between early May and early June with whales more sporadically spotted in June through September. They can be seen in the waters of Resurrection Bay, near Seward, as well as throughout Southeast Alaska, with the largest abundance found near Juneau and Ketchikan.
Gray whales are the first to arrive, typically in April when they're often spotted off of Seward. By May, we start to see more orcas, then humpback whales come June. Alaska's peak whale season is considered to be May through September, and it's during this time that the boat tours operate.
When Is The Best Time Of Year For Whale Watching On An Alaska Cruise? You're in luck. April to November is the best time to see whales in Alaska and that nicely aligns with the Alaska cruise season. Like most of us, whales enjoy Alaska in the spring and summer months, when the days are long and food is plentiful.
Best areas to view orcas: waters outside of Juneau and other Inside Passage communities, Kenai Fjords National Park, Prince William Sound, Kachemak Bay State Park, waters around Kodiak Island, Aleutian Islands.
Resident Orcas are a beloved fixture of the Puget Sound, and there are three pods - J, K, and L pods - that live in the area year-round. These orcas are also known as Southern Resident killer whales and are a unique population that is genetically distinct from other orcas.
The best time to visit Alaska is during the summer between May 10 and September 15. You'll experience temperatures in the 60's to low 70's, 16–24 hrs of daylight, leaves and flowers in bloom, rushing rivers, and the best wildlife viewing.
Found worldwide but more commonly in the higher latitude colder waters and in polar regions. In the North Pacific Ocean, killer whales are often sighted in all parts of Alaska, including the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Prince William Sound, and Southeastern Alaska.
Juneau is the best port for whale watching, because seeing whales is 100% guaranteed. Icy Strait is also a good choice for whale watching, because whales are abundant (though not guaranteed).
In the summer months, whales are less active at night due to their prey being more accessible during the day. Whales are never diurnal, but they can be crepuscular. This means they are most active during twilight hours which are both before sunrise and after sunset.
What Whales Could You See? May - September you might see Humpbacks (the most common), Orcas, Minke, and Fin Whales. If you visit in March - May, you may catch the spring Gray Whale Migration as they travel north from Baja.
Can you see orcas in Juneau?
The orca, or killer whale, is also common to Juneau.
May through August or September is the best time of year to look for orcas in Alaska. Juneau and Seward seem to have more consistent sightings, while orcas come and go from other places like Homer and Kodiak during this time.
Where They Live. Killer whales are found in all oceans. While they are most abundant in colder waters like Antarctica, Norway, and Alaska, they are also found in tropical and subtropical waters. The most well-studied killer whale populations occur in the eastern North Pacific Ocean.
– Peak season is considered the summer months of mid-June through early September. During this time, we see whales (orcas, humpbacks and/or minke) on over 90% of our tours. There are whales here year round, but much less predictably so outside the summer months.
Always practice ethical viewing and follow all laws! Orcas are most active in the morning, so try to get an early start.
Whales are generally most active in the morning and late afternoon, making these the best times to spot them. During the morning, whales tend to be more active as they start their day and may feed. As the day progresses and the sun sets, whales become more active as they prepare to rest for the night.
High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly from the United States is January.
Best Times to Visit Alaska for Lower Prices
The shoulder season months (May through early June and late August through mid-September) offer the best value for travelers on a budget. Hotel rates for a weekend stay at this time of the year are significantly lower than what you'll find in mid-summer.
Most visitors spend seven to fourteen days in Alaska. Much of this decision depends on where you want to go and how you're getting around.
Habitat. Killer whales are found in all the world's oceans. In Alaska, they occur most commonly over the waters of the continental shelf from Southeast Alaska through the Aleutian Islands and northward into the Chukchi and Beaufort seas.
Can you swim with orcas in Alaska?
Be brave, head into the ocean with Snorkel Alaska to snorkel with orcas for an adventure you will talk about forever. Snorkel Alaska will take you to the perfect snorkeling location at Mountain Point, Ketchikan's premier snorkeling destination. Enjoy a glimpse of Alaska's intertidal marine life and fun day in water.
It is estimated that resident and transient killer whales have not interbred in almost 700,000 years. There are believed to be about 1200 resident killer whales that live in Alaskan waters.
Northbound Alaska cruises sail up the coastline through the Inside Passage and along Hubbard Glacier, so your best view of Alaska's scenic landmasses are likely on the starboard side of the ship. Southbound Alaska cruises are the opposite.
Alaska Cruises Can Be Bumpy in the Gulf of Alaska
Rough Waters: The majority of sailing on an Alaska cruise is done in the protected waters of the Inside Passage, but ships sailing to Seward, Whittier or Anchorage must cross the Gulf of Alaska, which is much rougher.
Don't be surprised if you feel seasick in Alaska's waters, even if no other cruise has made you feel that way. Cruising through the Inside Passage is generally calm, but the open waters of the Pacific Ocean can be choppy. Even the bays can churn up quickly during summer storms.