If you had told me that in 2020 I’d do Sitka Alaska whale watching in September, I would have said, “huh, where?” Prior to July, I had never even heard of Sitka. One night, my dear friend called me and told me she and her family were considering moving to Sitka Alaska. I pictured giant glaciers and her family living in an igloo. Ok, not quite, but I definitely didn’t know what to expect. The moment my friend decided to move to Sitka, I told her I was coming to visit.
Although I still have many concerns about traveling during COVID, the flight prices were too good to pass up. I also knew that I was traveling to a place where there are under 50 COVID cases total since the beginning of the pandemic. Alaska also has strict travel protocols when entering the state – every passenger must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of entering and the must quarantine until they get their results. Then, if you stay longer than 7 days, you must get a second test.
Prior to arriving, my friend and I discussed several things we wanted to do. At the top of the list was Sitka Alaska whale watching. My friend did some research and found a highly rated tour guide. Gary was great. He gave us so many fun facts about Sikta and showed us all around the glorious islands. As you can see from my photos, Sitka is truly breathtaking.
Within the first 24 hours, I’m pretty sure I said, “this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been” at least 100 times. Although I didn’t really have high hopes we’d see whales, I was pleasantly surprised that we actually saw several! I’ve done whale watching tours in Orange County and San Diego in the past. Although we did see other sea creatures (dolphins, sea lions), we never saw whales. But lucky for my friend and me, during our Sitka Alaska whale watching tour, we saw at least half a dozen humpback whales. Gary explained to us how you can see where they are by their blowhole clouds that rise from the water.
Although it was really hard to catch quality photos of the whales, we did get a few photos as they dove down to get their next meal. Beyond seeing whales, we also so sea lions, several bald eagles, and, shockingly, a brown bear! I had no idea that we would actually catch a glimpse of bears in the wild, but we did. Gary was such a fantastic tour guide because he knew just where to take us for a possible bear sighting. It was amazing to actually see a bear in the wild. We saw the bear catch a salmon (where were spawning while I was in town). We were far enough away in our boat to remain safe, but close enough that we could see so much of the bear and his salmon hunting too.
Overall, Sita Alaska whale watching is a must-do if you get to visit the region. It was truly a mesmerizing experience – to take in and be amongst all of the gorgeous natural landscapes and animals.