Whale Watching

Few things are more thrilling than seeing a whale surface and dive ocean waters.  The classic shot of a whale tail or a breaching whale is a lifelong ambition of many photographers.  Even seeing and hearing a whale spout is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. Taking the time to sit by the ocean and watch and listen for the sounds of whales is relaxing as it is exciting. Just wait until you hear a spout and then the eerie sound of a trumpeting whale!

Whale watching opportunities in Kodiak rival those offering similar activities in southern latitudes. Baleen whales, the largest marine mammals found in Kodiak waters include: Fin, Minke, Sei, Humpback and Gray. Whale migration to northern waters begins in April starting with the Gray whale. In June expect to see the Fin, Minke, Humpback and Sei. Fins and humpbacks are common June through November.

Many charter boats are available for whale watching and other marine wildlife tours. You can also spot whales from many cliff sides or beaches on Kodiak Island including Miller Point at Ft. Abercrombie State Park. Surfer Beach and Fossil Beach in Pasagshak are also good whale spotting sights as are many cliffs offering broad ocean views along Chiniak Highway. The whales often swim directly under the cliffs so whale watchers can easily look down on them.

Who Can Take you Whale Watching?

Adventure Kodiak

Kodiak and Katmai NP Coast. View and photograph brown bears interacting and catching salmon in their natural habitat. Fully guided, small groups (max. 4) luxury 6 day cruise, all inclusive. Visit Puffin Rookery, see whales, eagles, sea birds and other marine mammals... More »

Gray Whale Project

On May 28, 2000, a 36-ft long, Gray Whale washed up on Pasaghak Beach on Kodiak Island.  A former school teacher reported the dead whale to the National marine Fisheries Service and asked for permission to use the skeleton for an educational community project that would result in a fully reassembled skeleton to be displayed in Kodiak. That permission was granted.

On June 1, 2000, the whale was buried just above high tide on state land at the head of Pasagshak Bay. This was done to allow the flesh of the whale to decompose. The whale’s flippers were wrapped with landscaping fabric and duct tape to ensure that the small bones in the flippers would not be lost. The burial trench was lined with more fabric before the whale was rolled into it.

In May of 2004, a test pit was dug to determine how much the whale had decomposed and to see if it was ready for a full evacuation. They hit bare bones!  Volunteers and Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were called into action to help dig up the skeleton. The job was completed in three days.  After a year and a half of cleaning and drying, the bones were moved for rearticulation by a whale skeleton expert.  His work continued through October of 2007 when it was installed in the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge Interpretive Center in downtown Kodiak.  For more information, visit:  

Whale Fest Kodiak

Whale Fest Kodiak is a 10-day long festival in April that celebrates the return of Eastern Pacific Gray whales to Alaskan waters. Thousands of Gray Whales following their northerly migration route from Mexico to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. Kodiak is one of the best locations to see the whales along their migration route.  Many people come to Kodiak to participate in activities ranging from lectures, music, art, and environmental forums and, of course, to have an opportunity to spot a pod of Gray Whales. For more information visit: