All Aboard Sailing

Day Sailing Charters

Peniel sails with Breaching Southern Resident L Pod whales coming down San Juan Channel

Sailing With Us 

Sailing with a maximum of six passengers we adjust to the level at which you’re ready to adventure and heel with the boat. Your confidence will grow as you become accustomed to the dynamics of sailing in the pacific northwest. In a short time you’ll feel connected to the Salish Sea and the abundant wildlife. As we sail we are always looking and listening for eagles, seals and sea lions, a variety of birds, porpoises and whales. We like to hug the coastline admiring the forest and geology. And so relax on the foredeck in our comfy bean bag chairs and enjoy the ride. Every trip is different. 

We aim to educate you about the wildlife of the Salish Sea and provide a memory that will last a lifetime. It is a great experience for all ages and a lot of family fun. Let us know if you’re celebrating a special occasion and we’ll bake a cake. Brilliant for photographers who like to capture the experience of wildlife and scenery in ever changing light.

Each day our route is planned based on wind, current direction and where we believe we’ll have the highest likelihood of encountering whales. Orcas travel in the region of 100 miles each day. We receive real time information on whale sightings by communicating with our whale watch association on a private radio frequency. And then plot a course based on our experience of their likely behaviour. A full day sail gives us the best chance of including time with whales in our sail.

As an alternative to whale watching we may plan a shore excursion on another island by anchoring and using our Bullfrog tender for a beach landing. This can include hiking to visit State parks, lighthouses, viewpoints and wildflowers. Our favorites include hiking to the view atop Lovers Leap on Stuart Island on a full day sail and visiting Yellow Island Nature Preserve on a short sail. 

Winds change as we move through the islands and so we do use our engine to cover ground and explore a greater range. When current is in our favor we drift sail through wildlife areas. We like to include variety and keep things moving as appropriate.

Pick ups and drop offs from Lopez, Orcas or Shaw Islands can be arranged. This is easiest with groups booking the full boat. We understand ferry times aren’t always convenient so we make allowances to help you as we can. Generally we charge $125 each way for this service.  

The Nitty Gritty

We do require your cell phone number when you place your booking. Please inform us if you are catching a ferry on the same day as our sail. And let us know if there is flexibility in your schedule – sometimes we can call and let you know if whales are passing Friday Harbor.

 We’ll meet at the boat. ‘Peniel’ is docked at Spring Street Landing in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Go straight down Spring Street in front of Downriggers Restaurant. You’ll see us down the ramp to your left. The dock is next to the ferry dock about a minute walk. Google Maps

Day visitors: consider leaving your vehicle in Anacortes.  It takes quite a bit of extra time to unload vehicles and find parking compared to first off ferry with less than a 1 minute walk. There is an 8 hour parking lot opposite Wells Fargo Bank on Spring Street and 8 hour spaces at the top of First Street passed the Whale Museum. Warbass Way has 3 day parking.

If you need a vehicle on island we rent out our mint 5-7 seater 2021 Toyota 4-Runner on Turo.

‘Full Day’ 8 hour sail cost $200/person or $1000 for private boat. Our most popular because it allows ample time and range to circumnavigate the islands. This tour length has significantly higher chances of sailing with whales , which is evident if you run through the archives of our Captain’s Blog.

Half Day’ 5 hour sail cost $160/person or $750 for private boat. We sail north or south or sometimes East to check out our favorite wildlife refuges. Summer months we have good luck with Minke whales on the banks to the South. Seeing Orcas requires a little luck but we’re always monitoring reports and watching as they do pass through and hunt the inter island passes. Early March and Late October half day sails tend to be 6 hours 11-5 which gives us a little more time for the banks to the South where we may see Humpbacks. Every day is different   .  

‘Short sail’ 3 hour sail cost $125/person or $500 for private boat. Low odds of whales unless they’re close to Friday Harbor, which does happen on occasion. It’s a quick and fun sail to experience a taste of nature. Short sails work perfectly to anchor and go ashore on Yellow Island Nature Preserve for a short hike. Spring wildflower bloom peaks in May.

Add on 8.7% for WA sales tax. Times are flexible, particularly when booking the full boat. We receive ongoing reports through the day as whales are spotted. We can call to schedule an earlier departure if we hear of nearby whale sightings. Times can be adjusted to meet ferries and seaplanes. We can refund or reschedule should the weather be beyond any persons comfort level. 

Currently our norm is a check payable to All Aboard Sailing on the day of the sail. It is not necessary to provide credit card information for deposit; we trust you will let us know if you need to cancel. Credit card companies charge us a 4% fee we’d rather avoid. Venmo works as well as cash and gold. Pre pay with Venmo or mailing a check is also an option.

Peniel has a fully equipped galley with kitchenware, cutlery, bottle openers, water, a fridge and such. Bring your own beverages and snacks.

Our crew consists of myself, my wife Capt. Barbara Howitt and a new addition of our toddler girl Skye (who now has enough sea time for her Captains lisence). Some occasions Barbara and Skye have the day off and we have a stand in. We both have a background in whale research. Barbara tends to take the role of wildlife guide while I’m at the helm and we both take photographs. We can share our favorite photographs of the day with you and photos are available for purchase.

Checking our Captains Blog is a great way to view our sails. Photos are also archived by month at the bottom go the home page. When conditions are appropriate we use a hydrophone, an underwater microphone, to listen to whale vocalizations.

Wear layers and a hat, particularly if you’re coming from Texas or a southern state – it can get chilly on the water in the Pacific Northwest. Average sea water temperatures through the year range from 44 – 52’F so long trousers and socks beat shorts and sandals. A warm jacket is your friend and bring sunscreen and sunglasses. Personally in the shoulder season I like long thermal underwear. Our experience with folks taking dramamine is that they fall asleep through the sail – look for the non-drowsy kind and let us know if you’re feeling effects of medication. Seasickness very rarely occurs but inform us if you’re prone to it so we can take an alternate route to avoid lumpy seas. 

Our trips are posted on Facebook – check it out, hit like, follow us – we love to stay in touch.  

Cancellation policy
If you have a change of plans be sure to let us know as soon as possible to allow another person this opportunity. Cancellations with less than 48 hours and no shows will be billed at the full price. No charge for cancellations due to weather, medical issue, or if we are still able to fill the seats.

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