In 1986, Carolee and Jim Maya decided to take their summer vacation in the Great Northwest. They were dumbstruck by the natural beauty, the warmth of the people, the mountains, and the sea. Oh that sea! Jim had been in boats all his life, but had never seen such amazing waters. That very first ferry boat ride set in motion a dream. That dream was to live close to these waters, where they began watching Orcas that summer. A passion was born. Lifelong teachers, Jim and Carolee made the move to San Juan Island, and in 1997 started Maya’s Westside Whale Watching Charters. Their first boat, the Annie May, started them on a journey that today has become Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching.
Nearly ten years ago, life long naturalist, Captain Spencer Domico returned to his childhood playground of San Juan Island where he began filling in for Capt. Jim and offering tours on his own boat, the Island Dream. Jim introduced Rachel to Spencer a couple years later (ask them about that story some time!). They are now married and are Jim and Carolee’s island children. Combining Spencer’s love of the outdoors with Rachel’s passion for art, they strive to inspire others by sharing the beauty around us. They have operated Legacy Charters along side the Maya’s at Snug Harbor, and now the two companies have merged, not only their businesses, but their passion for the Orcas and the other wildlife that live with them on and in the Salish Sea.
In 2014, whale and oceans advocate, Captain Jeff Friedman began talking with Captains Jim and Spencer about his dream of working in the field. His clear and evident love of whales and educating others, brought him to join the Maya’s-Legacy vision. Jeff and his wife, Joelle, have found their forever home on San Juan Island and are looking forward to many more years among friends, the trees, mountains and whales.
Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching carries on the tradition of responsible whale watching and wildlife viewing, personalized private charters and photography tours.
Behind every great tour, is an extraordinary crew. In addition to expert, highly knowledgeable captains, we have marine naturalists and biologists that enrich our whale watching & wildlife tours. They are revered as exceptional educators, each possessing extensive knowledge of the Salish Sea, and especially orca whales.
No matter who is on board, we’ll always take good care of you!