Sea Kayak and Orca Whale Watch in the San Juan Islands off Washington’s Coast

San Juan Kayak Expeditions

kayaking san juan islands
Kayak and orca whale watch in Washington's San Juan Islands

San Juan Kayak Expeditions is a sea kayaking and whale watching outfitter based in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, a scenic 1 hour and 20-minute ferry ride from Anacortes on the Washington mainland. By a generous measure, San Juan Kayak Expeditions company is most experienced outfitter kayaking oSan Juan Islands and a precursor of an iconic Washington outdoor activity that has become popular around the world. For many years, before expanding his business to include additional guides, Tim Thomsen, the founder and owner of SJKE, conducted all the tours himself earning him the undisputed title of the man who has more kayaking San Juan Islands experience than any person alive.

Day, Multi-Day and Custom Kayaking San Juan Islands

Rugged and picturesque coastlines and an abundance of wildlife highlight guided half-day, full-day and two, three and four-day sea kayak trips. Each trip includes the opportunity to see orca whales, river otter, steller sea lions, Dall’s or harbor porpoise, harbor seals, bald eagles and more. Three and four-day trips spend a day and a half in prime orca whale habitat giving guests a good chance to paddle with these majestic marine mammals.

Sea Kayak Rentals for Self-Guided Tours

Guests who wish to embark on a self-guided one-day or multi-day adventure kayaking San Juan Islands may rent double sea kayaks (no singles rentals) and necessary boating equipment from San Juan Kayak Expeditions. All multi-day rentals include a detailed itinerary based on the number of days on the water, campsites, tides and other instructions. Water and weather conditions can make sea kayaking challenging in the islands. Renting kayaks is only for those fit and experienced in the outdoors.

Orca Whales

Three pods of orcas, about 85 whales, live in the San Juan Islands from April to October then in the fall leave for the Pacific Ocean, although no one is quite sure where they go. But they always come back to the San Juan Islands for the salmon runs in the spring and summer. During their summer stay, they stay on the move.They’ll go through the Strait of Juan de Fuca back into the Pacific or around the west side of Vancouver Island. The three pods sometimes break into sub-pods. So sometimes there might be nine groups of orcas traveling up to 100 miles a day searching for salmon. With a chance to encounter sea lions, harbor seals, river otters, bald eagles, porpoise, humpback and minke whales, seeing orcas is a bonus for kayaking San Juan Islands but if it happens, it can be the wildlife viewing experience of a lifetime.

Read More about San Juan Kayak Expeditions

Brown's Guide
About Brown's Guide 195 Articles
Brown’s Guides is a website about the top outdoor experiences in America and about the professional outfitters and guides who know them best. BG selects guides and outfitters located in or in close proximity to the Natural Areas they provide activities in. These outfitters know the areas and care about protecting and preserving them in a way that outfitters based in other states never can. Hiking, biking, sea kayaking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and over 100 other outdoor activities are indexed on the site. BG has been doing this type of thing since 1972 in books, magazines, maps and on the Internet.

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