Just wanted to put a note out there that the water and weather have been great for kayaking around San Juan Island. I am a guide here in Friday Harbor Washington and we have been taking tours out daily. Not sure if there are any readers here in to taking kayak tours, but if you are, stop by www.dskayaks.com and check out what we offer.
For those with your own kayaks, it is time for a weekend getaway to the San Juan's for a bit of kayak fun. Stop by the shop if you have any questions on tides and weather.
All in all I just cannot wait to start seeing more kayakers arrive to the island as the weather progresses from Spring to Summer.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
I wanted to spend a moment to write about my recent trip to Baja for 10 days of kayaking. My goal is to not simply share how much fun the trip was, but also a good description of the logistics and planing for the trip.
First off the trip was not a guided trip. We decided to rent kayaks and explore on our own. This is a good option if you have good experience camping in remote areas, good route finding skills over water and of course a good set of kayak skills. This is a fun way to do thing
Let me add that even being an experienced kayaker, guided trips can be lots of fun. The trips offered by the various outfitters in the region seem to be pretty amazing and have a lot to offer to those of any skill level.
So let me get started with the plans we made while still in the states. After selecting our dates and deciding on a general route we need to find kayaks. With a bit of searching on the internet we found two companies in La Paz, Mar Y Adventuras and Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA). After having conversations with both companies we were able to secure kayak with Mar Y Adventuras. Along the way we had email communication with Benjamin at Mar Y Adventuras. Any questions we had were answered.
Now that we have kayaks and the dates secured we needed to get all the travel details to La Paz out of the way. You will have two options for airports to fly in to. You can fly directly to La Paz or you can fly to San Jose del Cabo airport. We flew into San Jose del Cabo since it was cheaper. We still have to get from Cabo to La Paz. With all the research we really could not come up with the best way. So we decided to just arrive and figure it out. When we arrive everyone was really helpful and in no time we had a bus set up with Eco Baja Tours. We were lucky and arrived minutes before a bus was leaving. I recommend reservations which can be made over the internet. The buses are really nice sprinter vans that have internet service and movies. It is a pretty nice way to get to La Paz. Out friends arrived later and rented a car. Renting a car seemed like a good way to go if you have 4 or more people.
So the route we decided on was from Loreto to La Paz. The actual route we did was based on where the kayak company could drop us off and pick us up. So we departed from Ensenada Blanca to Punta Coyote.
I highly recommend getting the book The Guide to Baja Sea Kayaking by David Eckardt. I would also take the book along on the trip. The book combined with a GPS will allow you to travel to the exact beaches you want and have a good description of all the beaches along the way.
The night prior to the kayak trip we stayed at Posada Luna Sol which is attached to the kayak company. It is a great place to stay for the day before and after the trip.
We did all of are food shopping in La Paz. There are good super markets that offer anything you will need to fulfill your meal plan. Once all the food was back at our place we spread everything out and packed. We had plenty of space at Posada Luna Sol to layout all of our gear and food to get organized.
The morning of our departure we loaded the van and the driver tells us it will be around 5 hours to the launch location. So we set back and got comfortable for the ride.
After arriving at Ensenada Blanca we quickly packed our kayaks so we would get on the water and get a at least 5 miles of kayaking done. You can camp at Ensenada Blanca but there were a good number of people there and we wanted to push on to have our own beach for the night.
Over the next 10 days we kayaked and camped at stunning
beaches. The first part of the trip was wind free and the water was calm. We traveled at a comfortable pace logging around 10 miles a day on most days. Some days we would put in 15 miles. But overall a nice an ease pace.
There was no good way to collect weather information when you are out. I had a VHF radio but never picked up any weather data. We mainly chatted with local fishermen and took their word on the weather. They were usually correct.
The typical flow is the be up early and be on the water near sunrise and off the water in the early afternoon as the south wind usually begins to puff a bit. On days where the norther lies came in we would get on the water early and only have a modest plan for the day. The north winds are strong and for us they picked up by 1030am. But overall the water conditions were calm.
I recommend getting a fishing license. You can get a 7 day license an
d you can buy one once you are there. I used pretty light tackle and could have used a bit
heavier line. I would use 20 pound test line next time I go. You can hand line or rod fish from y
our kayak. I chose to you a small rod and real. The two lures that seemed to work best for me were 3 inch silver and back diving Rapala's and 3 inch Buzz Bomb. The fishing is good and we could have fish for pretty much any meal.
As for wildlife we saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, Blue
Footed Boobies, Pelicans and more. Oh an I do not want to forget the thresher shark jumping. The wildlife is abundant and you will always have something to see.
Once at Punta Coyote we had to search around to find a place to take out near the road. There
was not designated location so we simply found a spot that was closet to the road and hauled out and waited. Eventually our ride showed and we packed all the gear and head back to La Paz.
We spent our last night at Posada Luna Sol and the next morning we use Eco Baja Tours to get back to the Cabo airport. This time we had reservations for the bus, which we made before the kayak trip. The buses do sell out so I do recommend a reservation.
Spend some time in La Paz if you can. We planned to have a couple days before the kayak trip to explore La Paz. There is great food and night life along the water front malecon. The general atmosphere is fun and lively. We stayed at Casa Verde Inn for a couple of nights. It is a wonderful place. Located a short walk to the malecon but yet far enough away to avoid the noise of the night life.
Well I hope this post helps those out there looking to plan a kayak trip to Baja. I am sure I missed lots of things that you might want answers to. Feel free to leave a comment to ask me questions.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Check out the following link to receive 15% off of a Discovery Sea Kayak Day Tour.
15% OFF KAYAK TOUR
This is a great opportunity to save a little on your San Juan Island vacation.
Paddle the west shore of San Juan in search or Orca Whales, Seals and other wildlife. Enjoy distant views of the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island. This is truly one of the best kayak tours you can go on and with 15% off, it is the best price on the island.
It is true. I am using my blog to try and bring in a little extra business and help those looking for a San Juan Island Kayak Tour save a little money.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Discovery Sea Kayaks is offering a great deal for those shopping for San Juan Island Kayak Tours for this coming summer 2011.
If you book your trip and prepay we apply a 15% discount to the price of the kayak tour. The prepay is nonrefundable, but we provide the flexibility for you to change your tour date to another booked tour of the same value on the 2011 calendar.
This deal is good until March 31st of 2011. So if you are planning a San Juan Island vacation and know that you would love to get on the water for a few day and do some camping. Well BOOK NOW and PAY NOW and SAVE!!!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Discovery Sea Kayaks has started the quest for new Kayak Guide Staff for 2011. We are located in the Pacific Northwest on San Juan Island in Washington State. Our tours travel amazing routes throughout the islands. Wildlife encounters range from Killer Whales to Bald Eagles.
We seek outdoor enthusiast that have a keen interest in water sports and natural history. Out tours are mix of fun and education. Guides provide the Naturalist information that the guest seek to enhance their vacations.
We operate Half Day and Full Day Kayak Tours as well as Multi Day Expedition Kayak Tours.
If you have experience kayaking or guiding, that is a bonus. If you are someone who wants to get into the outdoor industry as a guide we offer intern positions as well. All guides regardless of experience have to go through guide training.
If you are interested in working for Discovery Sea Kayaks, send your resume and an attached photo of you kayaking or enjoying another outdoor sport. Please make sure your resume includes all your outdoor experience, training and medical/first aid certifications.
Send resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Discovery Sea Kayaks
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Have you every wondered what it must be like to show up after booking a kayak tour and meeting the outfitter you have selected and not feel like basic safety protocols are being followed.
I know that I may be a bit strict in my thinking here but really as a commercial outfitter you would think some things would be basic. Something as basic as wearing a life jacket (PFD) should be a must.
I can hear some of you now. It is 90F outside and the water is 80F. That is true and on your own I feel if you do not want to wear a life jacket then that is your business. But as a professional outfitter you should be an example setter.
In the Pacific Northwest where air temperature is not always that warm and the water is never warm. I still see images of people not wearing life jackets on commercially operated kayak tours websites.
Coast Guard records will show that most kayak and canoe related deaths can be attributed to the person not WEARING a life jacket. Having it simply strapped to the deck or in the cockpit does not count as wearing your life jacket.
Not only is it "my opinion" that it is a bad practice for commercial operators to tell guest it is okay to not wear life jackets. But to have images on their websites is, again in "my opinion", irresponsible.
As a guide I feel it should be your job to promote safe paddling concepts and good stewardship all around.
So if you find yourself in a situation where your outfitter/guide tells you it is okay to not wear a life jacket or any other behavior that does not seem to be obvious basic safety. Don't do it and feel free to ask questions. Any questions of safety should be dealt with and your outfitter should handle your concerns with respect.
Going out with a commercial outfitter is suppose to be fun and above all safe. So pay attention to all the images on the websites when shopping. Think to yourself if what you see in the images on these sites are adhering to common sense safety.
I respect any ones opinion to disagree with me on this topic and hope you can respect my opinion.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I just wanted to post a note that Discovery Sea Kayaks is looking for people for the 2011 kayak season. I know it is early to start thinking about 2011 kayak season on San Juan. But we get a lot of people that are passing though the area and should come out and get on the water with us if they are interested in getting a position in 2011 as a sea kayak guide.
We are looking for outdoor minded people that understand the seasonal lifestyle. People that show up prepared to work long hours and day after day if need be. If you have kayak skills and interested in becoming a guide, get in touch. If you have strong outdoor skill and have guided in the outdoors, but do not have tons of kayak experience, get in touch.
We have an extensive training period that will help develop on skills you have or new skills. We cover natural history and human history of the San Juan area as well.
Guides must be responsible and punctual. A guide must be prepared to help out in anyway possible. Guiding consist of: shuttling vans, cleaning gear, packing kayaks, hauling kayaks, taking care of guest, washing vans, and various duties and at some point there is kayaking. So my point is there are many duties other than kayaking. It is a must that you can take directions and follow them to completion.
Being a kayak guide can be fun or stressful. It really depends on the perspective you bring to the job.
So if that all sounds good to you get in touch: email@example.com 360.378.2559
Friday, August 20, 2010
I know that many may have forgotten all the mess last fall when NOAA announced the possible closure of the majority of San Juan Islands west side. The west side of San Juan Island is one of the best places to kayak in all the San Juan Islands.
The following link is full of information from last fall that I posted here on my blog. There are links in the post that will take you to the Recovery Plan and info on the closure prospects.
So what is going on today?
The San Juan Island Kayak season has been in full swing and the season has been busy. As a commercial operator that runs tours out of San Juan County Park we have agreed to new terms in our permit that is call the Kayaker Code of Conduct. This is good stewardship information that we pass along to every guest that we take to the park for kayaking. We collect signatures from each guest that they have received the information. If you are a kayaker heading out on your own to San Juan County Park. You will have to pay a fee and listen to a short presentation before you can launch from the park.
Here is some info that some may not know. There are observers along the coast that are recording kayaker behavior around the whales to see if the Kayaker Code of Conduct is enough to have people act in a more respectful manner around killer whales. This information that is collected will be used to determine if: A. Commercial Kayak companies can be a self regulated industry. B. If the public will follow the new regulations without enforcement.
What does all this mean?
So as of last year after the public comment period NOAA decided to have a grace year where the new Kayaker Code of Conduct would be in place and monitor its success.
In the end the area that we all love to kayak is still in jeopardy of being closed to all kayakers. I am sure that this fall NOAA will have a public statement to present. What that statement will be, I have no idea. Either way I fear over regulation by any government organization.
From an outdoor enthusiast point of view, I hate to see any public lands and/or waterways closed. I understand the need to protect resource such as wildlife and land. I come from a biology background and support conservation. But when we have an issue like we have here, where there is a total lack of information on how Southern Resident Killer Whales react to kayaks. Combined with an overwhelming amount of data that supports depletion of food resource as the major cause for concern for the killer whale population here in the San Juan Islands.
I fully support realistic endeavours that will foster a healthy salmon population. Given the complex problems dealing with fisheries I find this should be the area where most energy should be spent. Figuring out a sustainable way of replenishing fish stocks for the San Juan Island region would go a long way to fostering a healthy environment for the killer whales here.
The killer whale population has arguably been in decline. I say arguably because when we look a the historical numbers before orca captures and I am not sure we are taking fish (salmon) stocks at the same time period in to account. The carrying capacity for species change when the habitat evolves. Basically we cannot expect the numbers to increase for a species if their habitat cannot support feeding at an increased population level. We all know that salmon populations are low and can then deduce that we cannot expect the Southern Resident population of killer whales to reach historic levels.
If we look at the numbers of Souther Resident Killer Whales over the past 10 years we do see a rise and fall of the population. A possible indicator of reaching a threshold for the habitat. So why do we see a higher mortality rate some years vs other years? There are some orcas in the population that are fairly old and the life span of killer whales have been decreasing due to increase toxins in the environment and the food web. So if we have a bad salmon season and the killer whales are having a harder time making a living. We might see an increased mortality that season due to a couple of reasons: 1. Natural mortality of aging animals in the pods. 2. Bioaccumulation of toxins combined with the lack of food means the animals will have to produce energy from fat stores. This will increase the likely hood of death by the toxins interfering with other physiological processes.
So in the end I feel the government should be spending all of their energy working on the food source issue. But instead they have amassed a lot to money to challenge that kayaks, of all vessels on the water, are contributing to reduction of the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. In a time where government resources are maxed out and that economies are backed against the wall. We see a total disregard of tax dollars going to solve a problem, that in the end, will do nothing to save the killer whales. Harder questions should be asked here. Ones that justify the expense. How can we get good to the killer whale population? How can we further protect our watersheds and waterways from toxins?
But instead we get, kayakers are a threat to the Southern Resident Killer Whale population.
So keep your ears and eyes open. There will be a statement coming this fall. This is only my intuition that leads me to believe NOAA will start following up with the closure. Read news papers or check back here. I will post any updated info I get.
Help protect San Juan Island kayaking and support logical, sustainable conservation efforts.
Thanks for reading.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Finally our summer is in full swing and then today the winds moved in. It is still nice and warm, at least warm for the Pacific Northwest. But today the winds are strong and keeping people off the water. We do have a tour out today but we changed our kayaking location to get away from the wind.
I had a really nice Half Day Kayak Tour out just the other day. The water was nice and the skies were clear. Really nice to be out there on the nice days.
Looks like the wind will die down tonight and then it is looking really nice for the rest of the week.
Getting ready to head out on the water.
Nice and clear out. The Olympic Mountain are in the distance.
Team work when paddling a tandem is a good idea.
Well if you plan on getting on the water. Check out our web page: www.discoveryseakayak.com
We are operating tours daily and can get you on the water for a great time.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Today is kind of crazy here in the little town of Friday Harbor. Lots of people came over to enjoy the weekend for the 4th of July. Plenty of fun things to do while they were here. Town hosted a wonderful small town parade. The evening was filled with music from Rock the Docks.
I went to a friends house and BBQ'ed. His house is on the water so Robin and I took our kayaks to do some rolling practice. The evening was met with clouds, light rain and then sunshine again.
The whale were in the area all weekend, so I am sure there are many happy folks that went out whale watching for power boat, kayakers that explored the west side of San Juan and those who visited Lime Kiln State Park.
Discovery Sea Kayaks was busy as ever on the 4th and the 5th seems to be no different. Now I sit watching loads of people stage for the ferry to head back to the mainland. Back to their normal pace in life. It is nice that for a short time San Juan Island can offer a break from the day to day life of the city goers.
Now that the holiday is over, the island will remain busy but with a bit more of a relaxed vibe. So from here on out it is a great time to come out and join Discovery Sea Kayaks on a Kayak Tour.
Take a break and come on out..
Monday, June 28, 2010
If you are looking to stay in the heart of Friday Harbor and have a harbor view, check out 123 West.
123 West has a fun modern design with interior details you will love. From culinary kitchens to stunning vies of the harbor. You will be close to everything in town.
They recently launched a new website and if you are planing on coming to Friday Harbor for a visit, you should check them out.
On another note Kayaking have been great the past week. The Souther Resident Killer Whales have been hanging on the west side of San Juan Island almost everyday. Stop by the Discovery Sea Kayaks blog for pictures or book a tour.
Thanks for visiting
Friday, June 25, 2010
So I am starting the use the companies Blog a bit more. I will continue to blog here as well but I plan to update more kayak tour and trip information on the Discovery Sea Kayak Blog.
So Stop by and check it out and bookmark it please.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Summer is slowly working its way in here on San Juan Island. We have been running lots of tours to the west side of San Juan and have had early success with orca whale encounters.
Remember if you are shopping for a Kayak Tour on San Juan Island that Discovery Sea Kayaks has the smallest group tours on the island. The main benefit to small groups is that you get great service from your guide and you travel with less impact on wildlife. Since we travel through prime killer whale feeding areas, we do everything we can to minimize impact. One of the best ways to do this is by reducing the number of boats in a group.
I have been out having fun with a couple of our interns doings some fun kayak training. Yesterday we practiced towing exercises. Plus we working on off side rolls and a few other skills. It is nice to have a chance to help young paddlers develop their skills.
Multi Day Kayak Tours seem to be very popular this season and it is a great way to see the San Juan Islands. If you have a group of friends come out and see us. We put together a tour that you will remember for years to come.
Discovery Sea Kayaks is located a few hundred feet from the ferry landing in Friday Harbor. So we are easy to reach. Just walk on the ferry in Anacortes and walk up the the shop and we will take care of you. It is an easy day trip from Seattle.
Kayak is one of the reasons to come to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. People travel from all over the work to kayak here. I know of you live in Seattle the Juans are you back yard. But everyone should come check it out.
If you book a Half Day, Full Day or Sunset Tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks and a Whale Watching tour with Western Prince Cruises you get 10% OFF each tour.
Yikes! Sometimes you can get surprised by an Orca. Even when we try as hard as we can to maintain distance from Killer Whales, they get curious..
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Not only does Discovery Sea Kayaks offer the best sea kayak tour adventures on San Juan Island, check out our new website! http://www.discoveryseakayak.com/
We specialize in providing Half Day and Full Day San Juan Island Kayak Tours and Trips to areas where Killer Whales (Orca) are commonly seen. We launch our Kayak Trips in the heart of the wildlife view area for San Juan Island. No need to spend half the day kayaking just to get to the zone when you go with Discovery Sea Kayaks, we spend the entire day in the area. This increases your chances to have encounters with Killer Whales from kayak.
If you are looking to go out for more than one day. Check out our Multi Day Kayak Tours. We will take you all over the islands in search of beauty and wildlife. Camp on outer islands and enjoy meals prepared by your guide. When I say meals, there are no dehydrated beans here. We prepare fresh foods using as much locally grown goods as possible. So be assured this is the top of the line tour for San Juan Island Kayak Tours.
Let us take are of you! Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866.461.2559
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Last weekend I was out guiding a 3 day kayak tour. I took one of our new guides along for training. It was a nice small group of 4 people. It was really a great trip despite the rain.
The first day was a nice long paddle day as we made our way to Jones Island to set camp. Soon after arriving at Jones Island the wind picked up and we were all happy that we were off the water. Katie and I set camp and started working on dinner prep. The guest took off for a nice hike around the island. Even with the winds the evening was amazing. Off the bed early to avoid the chill of the wind and get a bit of rest after a long day.
Day two, Katie and I were up early and the guest got up slowly at their own pace. The day was shaping up to be beautiful. The sun was bright and the temps were warm. The day had little tide exchange so the water was really flat. We made our way across San Juan Channel towards Spieden Island. Once we reached the north shore of the island we slowly moved though amazing kelp beds. We then headed over the the Cactus Islands. Wonderful current moves around the Cactus Islands with waving kelp at the surface of the water. Eventually we ended the day on Stuart Island. Once of my favorite islands to visit. I usually do not go to Stuart because it get so much use, but the season has been slow so I figured we would be safe from the masses.
We ended day two with a hike to Turn Point on Stuart Island. This is truly one of the best places to catch the sunset in the islands. Not only did we get to see the sunset we go to see Orcas from the bluff as well. It was a great end to the day.
Day three we were revisited by the rain. Though we had a day of rain the day was really nice. We took off early in the morning and headed off to San Juan County Park. On the way we had two Orcas pass by.
The trip was a great trip. It is always fun to be on the water with great people sharing a kayak experience on the island.