Wildlife Cruises

Protection Island and Olympic National Park, by David Gluckman

".... one of the most important habitats on the planet for a rich diversity of water-oriented birds. The cruises are a fun, fascinating way to experience that diversity". —Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Click here for Puget Sound Express Healthy and Safety Measures

2021 Cruise Dates


Spring Bird Migration Cruises
2:30-5:30 pm | Saturday, April 17, 24
Summer Puffin Cruises
6-9 pm | Saturday, June 26
6-9 pm | Saturday, July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
6-9 pm | Saturday, August 7
Fall Bird Migration Cruises
1-4 pm | Saturday, October 9, 16

Thanksgiving Cruise 
1-4 pm | Saturday, November 27

New Year's Eve Cruise
1-4 pm | Friday, December 31 

Tickets for Bird Migration Cruises and Puffin Cruises are $80 per person* or $60 for members* of PTMSC, Audubon, Burke Museum, or Washington Ornithological Society. Children 2-10 years, $55*. 

Proceeds go to support educational programs at PTMSC.

Bird Migration Cruises and Puffin Cruises are booked through Puget Sound Express. The link to the left will take you there.

All cruises are hosted by seasoned naturalists and PTMSC interpreters.

DISCLAIMER: In good weather, cruises typically go through the Protection Island Aquatic Reserve and circumnavigate Protection Island, a National Wildlife Refuge located at the mouth of Discovery Bay. If the weather is rough, the captain may head south toward Port Ludlow to remain in calmer waters. Route is at the Captain's discretion.

*fee is subject to 9% WA State sales tax

To book a cruise, visit pugetsoundexpress.com

Questions? Email cruises@ptmsc.org or call 360-385-5582 x120

Bald Eagles on sign 20
Photo by David Gluckman

Bird Migration Cruises

Our Bird Migration Cruises offer a unique opportunity for an idyllic natural science adventure, enabling people to gain a better understanding of our marine ecosystems and interrelationships which abound in these waters.

Puffin Cruises

Each summer Protection Island comes alive as thousands of seabirds arrive to breed and raise their young, including rhinoceros auklets, glaucous-winged gulls, pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers, two kinds of cormorants, and of course the tufted puffin.  

Although we can't guarantee a sighting on every outing, the chance of spotting a puffin on our evening Puffin Cruises is very good. 

Protection Island Adventuress Sail

The PTMSC offers one sailing adventure to the Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge aboard the 101' historic schooner, Adventuress. On this cruise, you can help the crew sail this historic vessel while enjoying a leisurely tour around the wildlife sanctuary.

As on all our cruises, a Marine Science Center naturalist and volunteer cruise hosts who know the island very well will help you see and appreciate its wildlife.

About Protection Island

Protection Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to breeding, nesting, and flyway populations of marine bird species at different times of the year. The island contains one of the few nesting colonies of tufted puffins in the Puget Sound area. About 1,000 harbor seals use the island as a pupping and rest area, and elephant seals often haul out to molt there during the summer. We have been leading seasonal wildlife cruises to view the changing community of birds and mammals using the sanctuary since 1994. Our cruises are hosted by seasoned naturalists and volunteer hosts, who provide excellent commentary on the natural history of the island and the wildlife sighted. We look forward to seeing you on a cruise!

To learn how Protection Island came to be designated a National Wildlife Refuge through the work of two local women, read The Protection Island Story.

Photo by David Gluckman

Photo by Wendy Feltham

Photo by David Gluckman

Photo by Betsy Carlson

Six photos above by Mike Reudink