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Marine Mammals

The waters of Prince William Sound are teeming with wildlife and Valdez is the ideal port to explore the Sound. You can view a number of marine mammal species from shore or by boat tour in Valdez: otters, seals, sea lions, humpback whales, orcas and more.

Wildlife cruises and tours depart from Port Valdez daily during the summer, offering visitors the opportunity to see marine mammals like humpback whales, orcas, Dall’s porpoise, Stellar sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters. As your cruise or charter travels through Port Valdez and into the Sound, look for whales feeding on fish or krill and groups of otters floating together as a “raft”. Consider a tour into the icefields of Columbia Bay to spot harbor seals resting on icebergs. Tours to either Columbia Glacier or Meares Glacier may pass along the shores of Glacier Island where sea lions haul out along the beach.

You don’t have to head out on a boat, however, to discover Prince William Sound’s sea-life. Use the binoculars at Kelsey Dock to look for humpback whales that come into Port Valdez during the spring and early summer or walk along North Harbor Drive to see sea otters waving from the boat harbor. One of the best places around Valdez to view marine mammals is the Solomon Gulch Fish Hatchery on Dayville Road, which offers a free self-guided tour (June through October), where visitors can see returning runs of pink and silver salmon. The area is a hotspot for sea lions, seals and otters that hang-out around the Hatchery to feast on the returning salmon.

Valdez Highlights