What kind of wildlife will I see on my Skagway tour? (Part 2)
You’re on a cruise to Alaska and good things are happening, but you still haven’t seen any wildlife and Skagway is your last stop. What next? This is a problem we hear about all the time in the tour booth, and we always do out best to make sure that guests get the most from their Skagway tour. So, this series is dedicated to helping you figure out which tour gives you the best chance to spot the type of wildlife you’re looking for.
Wildlife lives on land and in the ocean
If you read Part 1 (and you should have), we discussed both bears and wolves. If you live in Canada, seeing a moose or bear may not be that big of a deal for you. However, if you live in Miami then seeing a moose may be better than just about anything. If you’re from one of the many places without access to the ocean, then you are probably excited to see some aquatic wildlife on your Alaskan vacation. Boy howdy, are you in luck!
Let’s review the marine animals you’re most likely to see when you travel up the Inside Passage to Skagway.
Humpback whales – Seeing a whale for the first time is magical. These gentle giants will jump all the way out of the water in a display called “breaching.” It’s a pretty awesome thing to see unless you’re underneath the whale when it lands. Fortunately, this doesn’t really happen. Skagway has its share of humpback whales, but we recommend booking a tour with us in Juneau where whale spotting if off the hook (so to speak). Fun fact: You can book a Skagway tour and Juneau tour and get a discount. Simply ask when you book.
Orcas – Sometimes orcas are called killer whales, but this is a dumb moniker you won’t hear a local use. Orcas are rare visitors to Skagway, but they are sometimes seen right out around the docks where the cruise ships tie up.
A seal eating a pink salmon in the Skagway Harbor.
Harbor seals – These things are cute. They remind a lot of people of dogs, even though they spend the majority of their lives in the water. You can see seals from the shore, and they are commonly spotted hanging out on the shore when you go on an Ocean Raft Wildlife Adventure. This is a popular Skagway tour with people that like to have fun.
Sea lions – These marine mammals are way bigger than seals, which they are often mistaken for. Sea lions are commonly spotted on many tours and can be seen hanging out in their rookery on the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. Why do they call it a rookery? Nobody knows!
Eagles – Yes, eagles are not really marine animals, but they are commonly seen from boats in and around Skagway. Plus, you will see a giant eagle’s nest when you take the Ocean Raft tour.
Otters – Man, are these guys cute. Otters are commonly seen around the docks in Skagway where their curious nature sometimes draws the ire of local fishermen. Some say that seeing an otter will bring good luck, but no sane people actually believe that.
Ducks – You may think that ducks are no big deal, but some of the ducks you may see around Skagway are pretty great.
Seagulls – Yes, indeed. We have those here too. But we call them Alaskan seagulls.
The best way to see marine wildlife is to be near the ocean
You may think that being on a cruise ship will make it easy to spot oceanic wildlife, but you would be wrong. Cruise ships are big and noisy, and animals don’t like that. If any of the above animals are on your wildlife checklist, ask one of our tour salespeople which tour they recommend. And be sure to read tomorrow’s blog entry about some of the more unusual forms of wildlife in our area.