Sunday, October 6, 2013

Winter Mountain Bike Destinations

As fall rolls moves in on us in the Pacific Northwest many start thinking about the snow in the mountains and the upcoming ski and board season.  There are also those that love to ride year round and are preparing for the colder, wet weather.  There is a lot of fun to be had on muddy trails but as much as I love the Pacific Northwest riding in the winter.  I have a destination that offers great single track and warm weather.  Not only is the weather warm but the destination offers the perfect exotic travel that adds up to be a wonderful vacation.

So what where am I talking about?  Thailand. Yep it is a long way from the US and you might even have to take a bit of vacation tie from work.  But it is more than worth the effort to ride amazing single track.  We have created a better way of getting you on the trails.  It is not always easy landing on the other side of the world and get on the best single track mountain biking in the area.  That is where we come in.  Discovery Adventure Tours has all the connection you will need.  Working with local riders we have set up the ability to offer various packages to get you on the trail.  Our basic package is for 5 days of riding and includes your lodging.  We recognize this may not work for everyone and are open to setting up custom variations of time and lodging to find what fits your needs best.

So who is Discovery Adventure Tours or DAT for short?  Yep we are new on the block of offering bike tours, but we are not new to the adventure travel and  tour business.  We have been around for years as Discovery Sea Kayaks or DSK for short.  DSK has been recognized as one of the Best Outfitters on Earth by National Geographic.  So rest assured we have the experience to offer you a tour that will measure up to your standards.  The new name, Discovery Adventure Tours, was created to have a more sensible name for offering adventures other than kayaking.  The two guides that will be in Thailand will be myself, Jason and Colin.  Both Colin and I have years of experience guiding tours and riding bikes.  Colin's riding style is aggressive and fast.  Colin has been riding steep terrain in the Pacific Northwest for years and has developed all the skills needed for fast and rugged riding.  My riding style is a bit more cautious and not as fast paced. Though I have been riding mountain bikes for some time now.  Riding dual crown DH style bikes is newer to me and I like to choose what obstacles I attack. Between the two of us we can accommodate a range of skill levels on the trail.

How does this all come together?  Colin has been traveling and riding in Southeast Asia for years.  I am a recent convert to the trails in Thailand.  In our time traveling in the region we have developed relationships with local riders that we work with to offer well rounded experience.  Our local contacts will work with us to facilitate all our shuttle needs on the mountain plus provide a local guide for all rides.  The riding community in Chiang Mai is amazing and you will enjoy the opportunity to ride with the local shredders.

Should you bring your bike?  Realistically we do recommend bringing your bike.  For the type of trails we are riding it is best to be on a bike you know and feel comfortable on.  We also recommend a freeride to DH style mountain bike.  Suspension is key on the rough terrain we will be riding.  Some can get away with an all mountain style 6 inch travel bike but we feel to get the most out of the trails a bike with 8 inches of travel is best.  There are many ways to pack your bike for travel.  There are services that will box your bike and ship it for you.  If you are comfortable breaking your bike down. You can actually packing in your checked luggage.  We have had good luck using the Dakine Split Roller (100L).


We used the Dakine bag for the frame and most of the parts plus clothing.  We used a wheel box we picked up from a local bike shop from the wheels and miscellaneous tools.  The rest we carried on in our riding packs.  Yea it is a bit of work but if you watch your pack weight you can get around any extra charges.  
The last option for packing your bike is to check out a bike specific bag.  We are fans of the EVOC travel bag.
It is not the cheapest bag but if you plan on doing more travel with your bike it is a worth while investment. 

Traveling from the US we usually book air travel with Korean Air.  There are various airlines servicing Thailand but with Korean Air we are able to fly into Chiang Mai and the luggage allowance seems to be one of the better options.  It is a pretty long travel and I would recommend if you are coming over to try and plan on spending some time in the region. Make the long flight worth its while.    

If you have any questions about the guided service, travel or custom options.  Please email, info@discoveryadventuretours.com


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mountain Bike Tours Chiang Mai Thailand

So it has been awhile since I have been updating my Blog.  With Facebook, Google+ and whatever else there is out there I try and maintain for my business Discovery Sea Kayaks, it is hard to do much more.  But I decided I wanted to reopen the use of my Blog to inform readers on all kinds of news, events and even some of my business going's on.

I would like to start by introducing Discovery Adventure Tours or DAT as we call it around the shop.  DAT is a new business name that was developed to start diversifying the types of adventure tours we want to offer.  So Discovery Sea Kayak and DAT will be owned and operated by the same good folks, Richard Swanson and Jason Gunter. The new name just made sense to add other types of adventures.

The first project DAT is taking on is Downhill Mountain Bike Tours in northern Thailand.  We will be there this winter offering 5 day vacation packages for those looking to get out on steep terrain and get loose on their mountain bikes.

So how did this all come about?  Over the past couple of years I started riding my bike again.  I kind of dove in head first and can't get enough of it.  A good buddy of mine, Colin Blevins, was the right influence on me when it came to getting on the trails.  Colin is a long time island resident that spends a lot of his time on the go traveling around the world.  He has been leading trips in Asia for a long time. One day on the trail he mentioned he was going back to Thailand to ride.  The gears started turning in my head and told I was down to go if he didn't mind.  He was more than happy to have someone tag along.  So before I knew I had a plane ticket and excited to ride a new location.  Colin has long had a dream of running bike tours around the world.  It did not take me long to start seeing how this would be a great thing as well.  Though I concentrate my efforts sea kayaking off the coast of Washington state. The recent reemergence of mountain biking in my life gave me the perspective I needed to start DAT.  Colin has been brought in as the team leader and is working with me as an integral part of DAT Mountain Bike Project in Chiang Mai. It is a long term project and Colin will be in the foundation and every other step of the way.

If you are a mountain biker looking for steep terrain and want to get away from the winter in the US or Canada, this is the cure for you.  Check out the DAT site http://discoveryadventuretours.com/

Sunset Kayak Tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks

Earlier in the season I was able to spend some time on the water with videographer Chris West.  Today he sent me the video he developed from his time on the water with Discovery Sea Kayaks.  If you have never been to San Juan Island or have been here but not on a kayak tour.  You might want to check out the video. Some really great footage and images of town.  






Here is a fun still shot from the evening paddle.



Monday, July 29, 2013

Mountain Bike Chiang Mai Thailand


Last year I traveled with my good friend Colin Blevins to Chiang Mai Thailand.  We had one goal in mind, find fast and fun single track.  What we found was a thriving local bike community, great food and the single track we were hoping for.

Early in the year Colin and I started riding together frequently and Colin would mention the idea of heading back to Thailand to find more single track to ride.  Colin has been traveling in Thailand for the last several years and had a bit of experience with some of the trails. On many of our rides I would just toss out that I was in for the adventure myself.  Not sure if either one of us was taking me seriously.  Well my kayak season was nearing its end and it was time to make it happen or not.  I figured it out and bought a plane ticket. It felt a little head first since I have never flow anywhere with my bike before.  But Colin had a good plan and I was confident.

So we both purchased flights via Korean Air and we decided we wanted to try and take our bikes apart and pack them in our luggage and simply check them on the plane. With Korean Air we were allowed 2 checked bags and 2 carry on bags.  I opted for The North Face Rolling Thunder (Large) and Colin picked up a Dakine bag.  Both bags looked up to the challenge.  Our second checked parcel was a cardboard wheel box.  We completely disassembled our bikes and had no problem packing the frames in our bags.  The wheel boxes tuned into the holding tank for what ever parts we could pack into them without exceeding 50 pounds.  Lots of Gorilla Tape was used to secure the closure of the boxes.  Our bags with our frames were then packed with whatever clothing we thought we would need.  The bags actually had plenty of room.  Weight was the limiting factor.


After checking over the shared google doc spreadsheet we agreed we had everything we should need and maybe a bit more.  Once at the airport things went really smooth. Bags were pretty much right on the dot for weight and they were check in and ready to go.  It was nice to get that over with and know/hope they were on their way to Thailand.  All in all the travel to Chiang Mai went great.  We had great flights and no delays and arrive right on time.  On the ground we were happy to see our bags pop up on the conveyor belt.  Colin's girlfriend was already in Chiang Mai, as she was there working on new clothing designs for her business back in Friday Harbor, Wa.  She met us at the airport and had secured a room in the apartment building on the same floor as the room she and Colin were sharing.


This was the start of a month long trip to seek out fast single track. The first morning we built our bikes and went out for a bite to eat. Then it was time to hit the streets on bikes to ride out of town to Doi Suthep. Rising to around 1,676 meters (5498 feet), it was not hard to located where we needed to go.  We actually have a great view of the mountain from our apartment.  The street riding is an adventure in its own.  At first I was skeptical about jumping into what seemed a chaotic push of traffic with cars, trucks and motorbikes.  But once you make the move into the traffic it is amazingly less chaotic than it seems.  There is an unseen rhythm that you notice once you join the flow.  Finally we reached the base of the mountain and given the objective of the trip, finding steep single track, the plan was to hire a Song Tao (taxi truck) to drive us to the upper parts of the mountain.  This process in itself has some excitement.  But dealing with the drives day after day becomes a bit tiresome.  There never seems to be much of a consistent rate and wait times are variable.



The first trail we rode was the Bamboo Trail.  Yea I will admit I had no idea what I was in for and honestly the Bamboo Trail on day one kind of beat me down.  But it was a super fun single track ride though dense jungle to thick strands of bamboo.  The trail, looking back, is more all mountain style riding, which is right up my alley.  I was riding a 2010 Specialized Enduro Expert and Colin was on his Transition TR 250.  I have to say the TR 250 was more up to the challenge than the Enduro. So Day One was short and eye opening.

The days that followed we continued the routine of traffic ride out to the mountain.  Then the Song Tao hustle to get a ride up the mountain.  Along the way we met some other riders traveling the area. Then one day on the way out a guy pulls over ahead of us and asked if we were headed to the mountain.  We stopped and told him what we were up to and he was on his way to do the same.  He told us to ride to the park and his buddies were there and have their own shuttle setup for getting to the mountain.  We said sure and pedaled on.  Arriving at the park we were a bit surprised to see the rigs these guys were riding.  Everyone one had big bikes with dual crown forks.  We sat around and made some introductions and for a small fee for gas that everyone pitches in, we were on our way up the mountain.  First stop the Bamboo Trail and I was a bit intimidated by all the DH bikes and the amount of body armor everyone was putting on.  I remember asking Colin if we were all riding the same trails. Well these guys are local and know the trails very well.  So they were riding with speed I could only visualize and not achieve at the moment.  Plus the Bamboo Trail was just the mellow warm up for what was to come for the day.

The day was good and lots of new trails discovered thanks to our local hosts.  All the guys were great. Jay was the one who stopped us and the rest of the guys were super nice too.  Note was another great guy we met in the group and given I speak no Thai and he could speak English.  Well it was easy to get to know him.  He is a super friendly guy and we stay in touch today.  Actually we are going to be doing some work with Note in 2013, but more on that later.

So what does a day of riding looking like?  After reaching the top of the mountain we take steep descents through the jungle and end at small little village areas where there is always time for Thai Tea or some other yummy treat.  Then back to the shuttle and to the top of the mountain.  Another crazy fun and challenging run down the mountain and another village and time for lunch.  The process repeats till you cannot hold on to the bars anymore.

Trails are steep and some long.  Some of the longer trails were a good solid hour and a half of down. Trails are a mix of steep rock gardens, deep ruts that create plenty of hazards and the occasional slippery jungle mud.  Every second on the trail is exhilarating and challenging.  Ending the day walking the city streets and finding amazing places to eat.  Then back to the apartment for late night beer on the balcony listening to the bustle of the city.

From exploring steeps in the jungle to traversing the city on foot. This is a trip of a lifetime.  Great people and great riding.  I was there for a month and was not ready to leave when my time was up. Though I had good reason to get home and take care of some personal events.  I was still sad to leave the city.  Yea I was leaving a bit beat up from one of many crashes on the trail, but yet a bit wiser and faster on the bike.  The trade off seems worth it.

The news today.  Spending a decade operating a successful kayak guiding service on San Juan Island in Washington state, Discovery Sea Kayaks. I have decided to give mountain biking a try. Its a perfect complement to the kayak season.  My summers spent operating Discovery Sea Kayaks and winter in Thailand.  So I launched Discovery Adventure Tours (DAT).  My business partner Richard was super excited and supportive of the concept so its officially moving forward.  Colin Blevins is being brought in at the ground building level of DAT.  Colin brings his savvy travel knowledge of Southeast Asia, expert bike skills and over all great attitude to the team.  We are very excited about the project and hope that we can generate a small amount of energy and get people on the trails.  We are working closely with our local friend Note.  Note will be a big part of making things come together and we are excited to all be working together.  The new DAT site will launch in the next couple of weeks.  So if your interested give me a call at my Discovery Sea Kayaks office, 360.378.2559.  We have dates starting early as November.
 










Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time for Kayaking and Kayak Tours

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.

Happy Paddling

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kayaking Baja Planing and Tips

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

Another Great Discount on Kayak Tours

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.

Thanks

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kayak Tour Discount

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

Sea Kayak Guide/ Naturalist Guide Jobs

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: info@discoveryseakayak.com


Jason Gunter
Discovery Sea Kayaks

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Buyer Beware

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

Kayak Guide Jobs San Juan Island

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: info@discoveryseakayak.com 360.378.2559

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kayaking San Juan Island in Jeopardy??

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

Kayaking San Juan Island Wa State

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

San Juan: Open for Business

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

New Lodging in Friday Harbor

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

Jason