Best place in my experience is on a Kenai Fjords boat trip of at least 6 hours but now I only go on the long 9+ hour one. My preference is definately in the wild but they are on exhibit at the Sea Life Center in Seward with underwater viewing. I have also taken trips to St. Lazaria Island out of Sitka- a puffin rookery with excellent views. Otherwise it is going to be a gamble. I have seen them fly by in Glacier Bay- but if not taking a tour, sightings will be chancy at best and with binoculars you will have a 10 second view. Another part of the country has the best tour I have ever been on- out of Jonesport, Me. with Norton's. Walking among the puffins, standing in blinds with them right outside.
We saw two types of Puffins in Prince William sound, on a Crusie West "nature" type of tour. They were flying around and hanging out on some cliffs where the sea lions were resting. I'm sure most of the people on the boat were mainly intested in the sea lions, but the Puffins were one of the highlights of my trip.
We saw a few on a 3 hour wildlife cruise out of Seward. They move so fast! I tried to catch them with my video camera, but they are just splotches. They were diving in the water looking for lunch. Very hyper. Very cute. Good luck!
i see puffins almost everyday. i am a charterboat captain in sitka. there are large numbers in our area, especially mid to late summer. during late august the puffins will actually follow the boat within a few feet looking for a handout of herring. the photos at that time are extremely close and very colorful. most of the major cruise lines stop in sitka and offer fishing or wildlife excursions. hope this helps.
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