Searching for the North Pacific Right Whale - Atlas Obscura

Seattle, Washington

Searching for the North Pacific Right Whale

Discover the history of this rare species and meet one filmmaker on a mission to save them.

Join Kevin Campion, captain of the historic vessel Orion, at the Center for Wooden Boats to learn about right whales some of the largest animals ever to exist. Kevin will share why these rarest of whales matter today, and his work to make the North Pacific right whale the mascot for the Northwest coast.  

Fewer than 200 years ago, thousands of North Pacific right whales swam in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Today they number less than 50. The story of how we got to this point weaves ecology with industry, and geopolitics with adventure. And the story of how or if we save them is still being written.

At this event, you'll learn about the history of indigenous and industrial whaling in the regions of the North Pacific, explore the tragedies and mistakes of the past, and hear about efforts in place to preserve this magnificent mammal. Kevin will introduce us to the work of contemporary researchers and the extraordinary lengths they must go to in order to collect data, and will share stories of his own team’s voyage to find and observe a North Pacific right whale. We will see clips from a film about this voyage, which is still in production, and listen to recordings of exquisitely beautiful whale songs.


  • This event will take place in the Floating Boathouse Gallery space, which is the wooden building closer to the water.
  • This event is open to all ages.
  • Parking options in the area can be found here, but the Center for Wooden Boats is also accessible by public transportation, including the South Lake Union Trolley.
  • ADA Accessible spaces are available for vehicles with disability permits or for visitors requiring drop-off in both the South parking lot and the North parking lot, next to MOHAI.  Follow the directions at the gate for access to this lot.
  • The dock and Boathouse gallery are wheelchair accessible, though the dock can be uneven or slippery depending on the weather.


Email Tamara Bunnell at

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.