Kayak through the San Juan Islands

About this Adventure




Fact File:
Duration: 3 days
Price: 360 GBP




Experience the true wilderness of America and spot amazing wildlife.

The San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle and Vancouver, are a paradise for nature lovers who want to get close to wildlife such orca whales, bald eagles and a host of other amazing animals.

We think the best way to explore these islands is by sea kayak. They are small enough to be able to get in close to the islands and explore the coastline, but you can also set out further to get right up close to the whales and other sealife. Furthermore, with this style of adventure you can camp on the deserted islands at night turning it into a total wilderness experience.

We recommend starting in Seattle and getting the ferry across to the islands before picking up a kayak and heading out into the wild. The islands are strikingly beautiful even from a distance, the vibrant shades of blue, green and yellow meet the eye in a cacophony of colour.

A real treat of kayaking in this area is the chance to go out at night. Here the sea life light the sea naturally with bioluminescence, creating an eerie glow to the water.

So let’s give you a little more detail…

Day One: You will meet your guide on San Juan Island in Friday Harbour. They will take the group, via van, to the “put-in” site on the west side of the island. There you will have your comprehensive orientation which covers the boat, paddling, how to handle to boat and general safety. The kayaking will not start until everyone is confident they understand everything and have all the techniques down so don’t worry if you’ve never been kayaking before, you’ll get all the instruction you’ll need on day one.

Once in the water you’ll head north along the west side of San Juan Island, which is a known area for Orca Whales so keep your eyes peeled! You’ll also want to snap photos of the Olympic Mountain range and Vancouver Island – it will be a morning that will wake up all of your senses!

After a stop for lunch you will cross Spieden Channel and be surrounded by rocky and forested scenery including Goose Island and John Island. Finally you will camp at Reid Harbour, only accessible by boat, for an extra “far from the real world” feel. Dinner will be delicious and filling and will taste even better with a glass of wine!

Day Two: The whole day will be spent kayaking around Stuart Island. The route does bring you close to other, smaller islands that are all uninhabited. Today will be the day for the birdwatchers as you are likely to spot bald eagles, blue herons and lots of other kinds of feathered friends. You’ll camp at the same spot as day one but tonight after dinner you’ll have the option of taking part in a night “bioluminescence” paddle.

Day Three: If you have chosen the three day option, you’ll paddle the same route back to the put-in site. Again, you’ll be in a great spot for whale watching as there are three resident pods in the area. The tour will end around two-four in the afternoon, depending on how fast or leisurely your pace is.

If you have opted for the four day option, after breakfast you will head off towards Jones Island, one of the jewels of the San Juans. Enroute you’ll paddle along Spieden and Sentinel Islands stopping for lunch at a beautiful little cove on the east side of San Juan Island. As Jones is small, camp will be set up at one of the numerous delightful waterfront sites that ring the island. Guests usually hike around the island while the guides prepare your last night’s dinner.

Day Four: On your last day, you depart from Jones Island and kayak past picturesque Yellow Island, which is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. The group will work its way down San Juan Channel stopping at Turn Island for one final lunch and take out. You typically get back into Friday Harbor between 2-4 PM.

This will be a true wilderness adventure in an area of outstanding natural beauty that you may never have even known existed.

To organise this adventure visit Tourdust.

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