See Tufted Puffins

Visit St. Lazaria Island

Expert Naturalist Guide

Explore Sitka’s Diverse Bird Population by Boat

Alaska is a birders paradise with hundreds of species of shorebirds, sea birds, and raptors. What’s more, Sitka has one of the most diverse populations of birds in the whole of Alaska. Join your expert naturalist guide and captain to spot tufted puffins, enjoy fresh clean air, and take in the awe-inspiring sights of the Jewel of the Pacific on our birdwatching tour, one of the best Alaska excursions.

Trip Details

Trip Details


  • 3-hour tour: $209 per person
  • 4-hour tour: $269 per person

Departure time

Time may vary by date however most tours begin at:

  • 3-hour tour:
    • 8:30 AM
    • 12:00 PM
    • 4:00 PM
  • 4-hour tour:
    • 8:30 AM
    • 1:00 PM
    • 5:30 PM

The 5:30 4-hour tour is only available June 4 – July 16

Meeting point

Non-cruise Ship Guests:

Our vessel “ Catdaddy” is in Thomsen harbor 617 Katlian. It’s the same parking lot as the Harbormaster. It’s across the street from the Petro One gas station. Go down the ramp and we are on the second finger. The boat is toward the end of that finger. Thank You. Please arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled departure.

Cruise Ship Guests:

All cruise ship passengers are transported to Harrigan Hall either by liter or shuttle bus. We have a table set up in front of the building.. Please check in with one of our bright yellow jacket wearing team members. Our vessel is located just down the gangway in the harbor next to Harrigan Hall.


Tours are available Monday to Sunday, year-round. The best season is May 1 – Sept 15.


  • 3-hour option
  • 4-hour option

Group size

Maximum 6 people


  • Bird viewing booklets specifically designed for Sitka.
  • Access to Coast-Guard recommended marine binoculars for all guests while onboard.
  • Beverages and snacks including coffee, hot chocolate, tea, water.

Not included

  • Transportation to and from the meeting point.
  • City and Borough of Sitka sales tax.
  • Staff gratuities.

What to bring

  • Camera or cell phone with well-charged batteries – we have a limited number of USB outlets.
  • Wear comfortable, closed-toe, rubber-sole, flat shoes. Boat (or non-marking) shoes are not necessary.
  • To reduce the number of items in the waste stream (the life cycle of garbage), personal water bottles are recommended.
  • Rain gear – as Sitka is surrounded by temperate rainforest you always need to come prepared.
  • Temperatures on the water are cooler so dress in layers.

About your guide

  • 1 US Coast Guard 25GT masters licensed captain
  • 1 certified naturalist guide


Sail over to St. Lazaria Island, the home of over 50,000 pairs of sea birds.

See the distinctive tufted puffins.

Catch a glimpse of bald eagles and peregrine falcons and marvel at beautiful volcanic scenery.

Spot common & thick-billed murres, black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets, and pigeon guillemots.

Observe loons, marbled murrelets, harlequin ducks, and, at lower tides, feeding surfbirds and black turnstones.

Enjoy commentary from a certified naturalist guide.

What You'll See & Do

We’ll head out on our spacious and comfortable catamaran to explore the wildlife paradise that is Sitka Sound. Our destination will be St. Lazaria Island, a 17-acre, rocky, volcanic outcropping where every square foot of ground is home to the burrows and nesting birds.

During summer, we are often lucky enough to see chicks and throughout the year it is an excellent location to observe tufted puffins, common & thick-billed murres, black oystercatchers, rhinoceros auklets, and pigeon guillemots. The birds use the grassy and rocky slopes to nest and hatch young. Atop the rock faces, we often spot the immense bald eagles and peregrine falcons searching for a meal.

Watch the birds from the boat’s expansive and unobstructed viewing platforms with commentary and guidance from our expert, certified naturalist guide. Your knowledgeable naturalist will interpret the abundant wildlife, landscape, and local history. We’ll provide you with guides on the animals you can expect to see and give you access to Coast-Guard recommended marine binoculars so you can see the birds up close. The 20-mile trip to St. Lazaria Island allows us to appreciate the idyllic landscapes and spot other wildlife in the area’s many ecosystems.

Good to Know

St Lazaria is located 20 miles from Sitka in the Gulf of Alaska, weather and sea conditions will dictate the status of the voyage.

Unfortunately, our vessel is not wheelchair accessible.

Features of our vessel:

  • A spacious heated cabin
  • Deluxe comfortable seats for all guests
  • Restroom equipped
  • Large wrap-around windows for unobstructed viewing
  • Expansive deck space for multiple perspectives
  • Great stability to ensure safety and comfort

Smoking and the consumption of alcohol or any illegal drug while aboard are prohibited.

If the captain determines that you may be under the influence or may pose a hazard to yourself, the vessel, the crew, or other guests you will not be permitted to board, and no refund will be given.

If you are prone to motion sickness, take your remedies at least 1 hour in advance.

Please arrive at the vessel 15 minutes before departure.

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