San Juan Island, WA - Friday Harbor
June - September:
- Your guides have over 25 years experience and were a 2009 recipient of National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine's "200 Best Adventure Travel" award
- These pristine waters are host to over 80 resident Orca Whales and many other marine mammals and birds
- Your experienced naturalist guide will lead you as you explore San Juan Island, paddle along Lime Kiln State Park, and enjoy views of the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island
Sea kayaking on the west side of San Juan Island affords participants the best chance in the lower 48 states to observe Orca Whales in their natural habitat. The pristine waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands are host to over 80 resident Orca Whales. They are also home to many other marine mammals and birds, including porpoises, seals, river otters, bald eagles and more.
During your kayak tour, you'll kayak for about an hour and a half and then stop for a break at a beautiful little cove just south of Lime Kiln State Park that has outstanding views of the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island. You'll then continue paddling and exploring along the rocky shores of San Juan Island.
This trip will provide you with unparalleled opportunities to observe, study and learn more about the fascinating marine mammals and birds that range along this wonderful area.
Participants must be at least 12 years of age. Double kayaks, paddle, life jacket, sprayskirt, lunch and guide are included.
Tour provides numerous opportunities to observe a vast array of wildlife, but cannot guarantee Orca Whale sightings.
Trip departs from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
Approximately 6-7 hours. 4.5 hours on the water, plus driving and on-land safety orientation. 10:30am departure from Friday Harbor.
Group sizes vary
We go rain or shine so dress appropriately.
What to Wear:
Wear shoes that can get wet, shorts/long pants, shirt. Please avoid wearing cotton pants, sweatshirt. For hot sunny weather bring sunglasses, hat, sunscreen. For wetter, cooler weather bring rain gear.
For this experience, it is recommended to request bookings 4 days in advance.
Prior to scheduling/booking a date for this experience, Cloud 9's standard return and exchange policy shall apply. Once you have scheduled a date and received a booking confirmation no refunds will be given; however, cancellations made at least 4 days prior to the Experience will incur a cancellation fee of $30, with the remaining balance to be applied to another future booking of a Cloud 9 Living Experience of the participant's choice. Failure to appear on your booked date or to cancel and rebook at least 4 days prior to your booked date will result in the loss of the value of your Experience.
How do I get to the Friday Harbor?
Most people drive from Seattle to Anacortes and then take the ferry to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. If you are not staying on the Island it is strongly recommend to park at the terminal and walk on the ferry. The ferry to the Friday Harbor is not included in the experience price.
Am I guaranteed to see Orca Whales?
The Orcas are generally found in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands between May and October when salmon, their primary prey, come from the ocean to spawn in either Fraser River or the rivers of Puget Sound. Late May, June and early July are the best months for seeing these magnificent creatures. However, mid to late July, August and September can also provide great opportunities for seeing Orcas, but it's never guaranteed.
What kind of wildlife will I see?
Some of the more common wildlife sightings are Minke whales, Dalls porpoises, Harbor porpoises, Harbor seals, and river otters. In terms of birds, the San Juans are host to the second largest breeding population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states. Other birds include terns, gulls, ducks, various alcids, and a host of others. Unfortunately it's not guaranteed that you will see all wildlife, but hopefully a large variety.
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"Had a great time! Our tour guide was extremely friendly and knowledgeable! Had never been kayaking before, so I was kind of nervous. But with the instructions our guide gave us, I felt comfortable after getting in the water! She had a ton of experience and a great sense of humor! I would most definitely recommend this adventure!"
"Our guide for the orca tour was extremely knowledgeable and did a wonderful job of preparing us for the kayak tour. She was an awesome guide. We were not prepared to see the orcas from such a great distance and did not have proper equipment to be able to see them well. We had falsely assumed (from many advertisements and photos) that we would be closer than 1,200 feet. At ocean level it makes it difficult to even see them. We purchased a Go-Pro to record our trip, but you cannot even see them in the Go-Pro recordings. We are cognizant and aware of the need to protect their habitat and way of life, but we weren't near enough to really see much of their activity. We thought the kayaks would put us up closer to them without out the disruption of a motorized boat. We had a good day being in this beautiful environment and we feel blessed to have had the experience. Thank you."
"We had a great time! The owner of Outdoor Odysseys was very flexible with some scheduling issues we were having. Our guide was wonderful and very knowledgeable. He was also very flexible with changes in the group that day. We had planned for rain but it was beautiful weather. Overall a very wonderful trip! "