Whale watcher berths in Oak Harbor

The Island Whaler will soon be coming to Oak Harbor for whale watching tours. - Staff photo
The Island Whaler will soon be coming to Oak Harbor for whale watching tours.
— image credit: Staff photo

Beginning this spring, Oak Harbor will become home to a new whale-watching business expected to draw about 2,000 tourists each year.

Deception Pass Tours, a scenic tour company based out of Cornet Bay on North Whidbey, is hoping to tap into the local gray whale population with a seasonal operation at the marina.

Company owners Brett Ginther and Terica Taylor have been shopping for a suitable location for months and recently decided Oak Harbor was the best place to set up shop, according to a news release.

“We explored a lot of options,” Ginther said. “Oak Harbor quickly became our first choice because of the facilities available at the Oak Harbor Marina, the overwhelming level of community support and we found Harbormaster Chris Sublet to be an excellent ambassador for Oak Harbor and an advocate for our business.”

The tours, which will begin in March and run through April, will leave from the marina Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and last approximately three hours. The company hopes to run about three tours a day with their high-speed catamaran, the Island Whaler.

Business leaders who have been trying to sway Deception Pass Tours to select Oak Harbor are thrilled with the decision. Jill Johnson, executive director of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said efforts have been ongoing to reestablish the city as a waterfront community and that this is a big step toward that goal.

Two thousand new tourists will also be a big boon to Oak Harbor businesses, especially during the spring.

“For visitors, having an activity of this caliber during these traditionally slower tourism months means better room rates and a more personalized local shopping experience,” said Johnson. “It is exciting to know that now families can afford to have a total Whidbey Island experience because we offer something fun outside of the peak tourist season.”

For more information about the company, call 1-888-909-TOUR or visit


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