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Ends in 2 Days
You’ll have opportunities to search for Orca whales and other large marine mammals as you paddle among numerous small, uninhabited islands.
Kayak amongst the numerous islands that circle San Juan Island. Paddle through excellent whale and bald eagle habitats. Enjoy sublime views of Mount Baker and the Olympics. Camp on islands only accessible by boat. Savor organic, gourmet cuisine and sip on local wines.
This four-day San Juan Islands kayak tour will give you a chance to camp and kayak amongst the many islands that encircle San Juan Island. With sublime views of Mount Baker and the Olympic Mountains, this trip is a Northwest classic. To top off the great kayaking and wildlife viewing enjoy an all-inclusive camping experience featuring delicious camp cuisine and bottled wines.
You'll be fortunate to paddle your kayak through the favored habitat of the Southern Resident Orca Whales, which are currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. There are over 80 known resident whales in this area, composed of three distinct groups -- maternal families known as the J, K, and L pods. Orcas are also known as "killer whales," but don't let that frighten you. Orcas are actually oceanic dolphins, and the beautiful and intelligent creatures you may encounter on this trip feed exclusively on salmon.
Arrival and getting settled
On day one you will meet your guides at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Your guides will walk you through a through on-land orientation and paddle talk. Once you feel completely comfortable in the kayak, you'll depart from San Juan County Park. Paddle through prime orca whale habitat as you head north towards the campsite on Stuart Island. After setting up your tent at the waters’ edge, take a break while your guides prepare delicious cuisine.
Circumnavigate Stuart Island
Enjoy waking up to the smell of freshly brewed gourmet coffee, teas, and famous cinnamon swirl French toast. After you've filled up with delicious breakfast, circumnavigate Stuart Island keeping a sharp eye peeled for orca whales, bald eagles, and osprey.
Speiden and Sentinel Islands
Break camp and point the nose of your kayak towards Jones Island, one of the jewels of the San Juan Islands. Paddle along Spieden and Sentinel Islands and stop for lunch at a beautiful little cove on the east side of San Juan Island. Set up camp at one of the numerous delightful waterfront sites that ring the island. While the guides prepare your last night’s dinner, you'll have the opportunity to explore the island.
Paddle the San Juan Channel
Depart from Jones Island and kayak past picturesque Yellow Island, which is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. Work your way down San Juan Channel, taking a break at Turn Island for lunch and take out. Arrive back into Friday Harbor between 2 – 4 p.m.
Outdoor Odysseys has been in business since 1987, and has built a well-deserved reputation for offering quality, handcrafted kayak tours. Contrary to other operators who run trips in Baja or Costa Rica, Outdoor Odysseys focuses solely on the San Juan Islands—the guides know the islands intimately, resulting in high quality trips with great customer satisfaction. The Outdoor Odysseys’ guides are safety oriented, knowledgeable regarding all aspects of kayaking, informative about the local area and environment, and, most importantly, they genuinely like and enjoy people and their work. Most of the guides grew up in the Pacific Northwest, and most have degrees in biology, environmental science, and zoology.
I just returned from a FANTASTIC trip with Outdoor Odysseys. The trip exceeded my expectations in every possible way. Sarah, our guide, was so knowledgeable and informative. She was incredibly warm, welcoming, fun, laidback, and patient... the perfect type of personality for guiding. Plus, to top it all off, her cooking was out this world (healthy, fresh, and filling). I would highly recommend Outdoor Odysseys to all of my friends and family.
Trip of a lifetime! We saw harbor seals, bald eagles, porpoise, and orca whales just 50 feet away. We did some hiking and kayaked to small deserted islands with incredible views, and spotted a California sea lion swimming by! The scenery was breathtaking, the food Michael cooked for us was absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed every minute of it tremendously. Can't wait to go back next summer for a longer trip!
— Olga P.
My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our San Juan kayaking experiences with guides Taryn and Nikyn. Three days of incredible scenery, orcas, minke whales, seals, eagles, oh and the food! Every time we stopped we had gourmet snacks and meals. Hot cooked breakfast with local roasted coffees fresh from the French press, tasty lucnhes, wines and cheeses, expert dinners with delectable desserts. The guides are amazingly knowledgable of the local area and its inhabitants; we had difficulty coming up with questions they could not answer. Thoroughly impressed by the Odyssey Adventure Team. You have not completly experienced the San Juans until you have played frisbee in a kayak on the Salish Sea! Thanks Taryn and Nikyn, you ladies are awesome!
— Jeffrey E.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get to Friday Harbor from Seattle?
You have a number of different travel options. Most people take a shuttle van that leaves right from Sea Tac airport 8-9 times a day and transports you to the Anacortes ferry terminal, which is about a two and a half drive. At the terminal it is simply a matter of purchasing a round trip walk-on ticket to Friday Harbor, which will cost around $12.00 per person. You can also book commercial flights from Sea Tac airport as well as seaplane flights. When you sign up for a trip Outdoor Odysseys will e-mail you all the travel details you’ll need to arrange your transportation.
What are the camping facilities like?
You'll camp on various islands in the San Juan archipelago that are only accesible by boat. The campsites are beautiful waterfront sites administered by the Washington State Parks Department. All of the sites have picnic tables, fire pits, potable water, and outhouses.
How large are the groups?
The average group size is around seven guests, with a maximum of 12. If there are more than nine guests, they'll add another guide.
How far do we kayak each day?
It varies, but the average ranges from 7–10 miles a day, with 12 miles maximum. The tours are geared towards novice and intermediate paddlers, and there's a lot of flexibility built in to give participants the option of going for a hike, an evening paddle, or simply lounging around in camp.
I've never kayaked before, is that going to be a problem?
No experience is necessary! Your safety is their number one priority, so Outdoor Odysseys uses very stable double kayaks that tend to be wider and much more stable than single kayaks. They employe mature, seasoned guides who will give you a very thorough on-land orientation before you start your trip. You'll learn the basics of kayak paddling, including how to steer and fit the boat. Throughout your kayak trip, your guide will be there to give you pointers and assist you with your paddling skills.
Should I purchase travel insurance? If so, do you have a recommended provider?
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for all trips. Travel insurance allows you to seek reimbursement if you are forced to cancel your trip for unforeseeable reasons, or if you need to cover medical help, emergency transport, and/or theft or accidental damage while traveling. The Clymb Adventures has partnered with World Nomads to offer flexible, best-in-class insurance options tailored to your specific needs. Instant quotes available here: World Nomads Travel Insurance
Can I cancel the trip?
You may cancel reservations up to 72 hours after the booking is made. After that time period all modifications/cancellations will be granted solely at the discretion of Outdoor Odysseys. Cancellation processing fees may apply.
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