Friday, October 9, 2009

Good Times

The weather here has been amazing. Most days I am still in short sleeve shirts and enjoying the warm temps. I know it will soon be changing, the Pacific Northwest always changes to the gray and wet. But for now I am happy to soak up the nice weather.

On Oct 7th we headed off island on the 6 pm ferry. The sunset on the ferry ride was amazing. It felt a little silly leaving such a beautiful scene. But we were headed to Seattle to spend some time before heading off for a weekend of fun. I have included a picture of the sunset below.

The weather has been nice here in Seattle the past couple of days. Oct 8th was my birthday and I spent it being pretty low key and then we went to Richard Dawkins lecture on his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth. It was the first time I have seen him speak. It was a pretty funny scene, but none the less it was fun to be there. A short stroll through campus and we were headed home.

Our weekend plans are up in the air as of now. We had planned on going to Tonasket to the barter fair, but we are not sure right now. Looks like we are going to head to Leavenworth tonight.

I know I usually share pictures of the beautiful San Juan Islands. But after the weekend I hope to share pictures from other areas of Washington State. Overall this is a beautiful state and many opportunities to see scenic views.

The sunset from the car deck on the ferry. It was really a nice sunset. Actually on of the best ferry rides I taken.

Messing about with the camera. I know it is a dark image, but it is still nice.

Check back Monday for more pictures.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Septemeber Day Paddle

Yesterday I was happy to get out on the water for a few hours with friends. Robin had a childhood friend in town. They just got back from backpacking in the Olympic Mountains and wanted to go out for a short paddle. It was a beautiful day to kayak on San Juan Island. The heavy grey clouds loomed over head with a bit of rain falling. It was the perfect temperature out and we were ready to enjoy the smooth waters. We had a blast laughing and paddling the coast looking for sea stars and other creatures at the waters edge. Bald Eagles perched high in trees looking for an easy meal. Dall's porpoise were everywhere. Some groups were moving slowly along the surface making shallow dives and others were speeding along throwing a rooster tail of water forward. Drifting back home in the flood current was nice and easy and we just bobbed along with smiles. It was really nice to meet Robins friend Melissa. I hope she enjoyed here short stay on San Juan.

Robin enjoying the clam waters around San Juan.

Ahhh. Old Friends.

Melissa leaving Small Pox Bay

Rafted checking out the beautiful scene.

Kelp Beds are lots of fun.

Heading down the coast!

Well that is all I have to share. This is a wonderful time to come out and doing some kayaking. We (Discovery Sea Kayaks) will be running tours all fall, so come out and have some fun!

Friday, July 31, 2009

NOAA Proposal to Close West Side of San Juan to Kayakers

In the below information please understand that KAYAKS are included in the no-go zone!

Please make a public comment to NOAA.
NOAA states that public comments can have a major effect on the decisions made in this process. There is a limited time period of 90 Day for comment. You do not have to be a resident to make a comment. Please comment now.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) recently released a proposal on Vessel Regulation in the presence Killer Whales in the San Juan Island region. In the proposal they have set a closure zone that would prohibit most vessels (power, human power or sail) from entering the area.

Exception Vessels will include Treaty Vessels engaged in commercial fishing, research vessels, government vessels, cargo and rescue vessels and private land owners with beach property in the closure zone.

The proposed regulations would prohibit vessels from entering a no-go zone along the west side of San Juan Island. The area would extend seaward from the mean high water line to a line approximating 1⁄2 mile (800 m) offshore, from Eagle Point to Mitchell Point, and include an area totaling approximately 6.2 square miles.

Click above map for larger view.

Much of the information cited in the Proposal as scientific justification for the closure to kayaks has, in my opinion, little scientific relevance to the Southwest Orca population. Creating a closure that would not only decrease the amount of people visiting San Juan Island for the purpose of personal kayak trips but would also have a significant impact on the commercial kayak companies who have limited public use beaches for operating tours, is unjustified.

Economically speaking, many San Juan Islanders who make this our only place of residence, rely in some way on the tourist populous that visits San Juan Island. Eliminating kayaking on the west side of San Juan Island could have far reaching effects on the economy of the island.

The following information was obtained though the cited publication:

Economic Development Overview of San Juan County

R Civille, K McKenzie, I District, WA … -
Page 1. 1 Economic Development Overview of San Juan County December, 2000

*The study concluded that the County economy is driven primarily by tourism.

*In 1997, it was $19,548 and ranked thirty-fifth among
Washington’s 39 counties. The statewide average was $30,755.” The report
shows that the county has much of its employment base in the tourism-related
services and trade sectors.

Kayak Tour Companies provide a service that brings people from all over the world to kayak here. Limiting areas of access would have an impact on the number of people traveling to San Juan Island. Given the number of people that arrive here each year to go kayaking, there would be a trickledown effect in the economic loss as less people come to kayak. This would have an effect on various businesses such as: Restaurants, Hotels and B & B's, Retail Shops, and Camp Grounds. Tax revenue derived from tourist would drop and have an accumulated effect on local service where tax money is used for the County.

Kayak Tour Companies work hard to ensure all guides are trained to understand operations and guidelines while the Killer Whales are in the area. Guides double as Naturalist and pass great stewardship practices to guest on each tour. Guides provide education to guest that have travel from various locations local and non-local. As an educator their role is to pass along proper information to guest that will increase awareness for issues that face all wildlife in the San Juan's.

Many have made a proposal to have a permit system set up and have an education system set up so that guides can be certified to lead tours in Critical Habitat Areas. All of the ideas NOAA states is not cost effective and there insufficient research on the success of such programs.

To view the NOAA Proposal please follow the link below.

Take notice of the following pages"
Pg. 37679 Vessels Subject to Proposed Rule
Pg. 37680 Outline of the Proposed No-Go Zone on San Juan Islands West Side
Pg. 37683 Alternatives. Notice NOAA has take the most drastic of the alternatives.

Please understand that the Southwest Killer Whale population is listed as endangered and in part of the reason for the designation was due to the display of being culturally unique. In the concept of culture I feel it would be most appropriate to use scientific research that was done with the Southwest Killer Whale population. Most of the cited research pertaining to kayaks was done on different species in different geographical locations. Give the idea of culture I would thing that cultural tolerances would be different in different cultures, not to mention different species.

Therefore creating a closure with the current scientific evidence could be seen as negligent. The concept of the closure could be seen as an experiment in its self. But at the expense of a small community that relies heavily on tourism. Nothing but clear and concise science with definitive proof should ever be considered when dealing with the lively hoods of those affected by unfounded scientific proposed regulations.

Please make a public comment to NOAA.
NOAA states that public comments can have a major effect on the decisions made in this process. There is a limited time period of 90 Day for comment. You do not have to be a resident to make a comment. So please comment now.

Thank you for reading
Jason Gunter

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kayaking With Friends

I took a couple of days off to hang out with some friends and doing some kayaking. Last Friday we headed down to South Beach and launched in the fog. We set up a shuttle so we could paddle one way to San Juan Co Park. The water was calm and sea birds and gulls were everywhere. As we made out way along the shore enjoying clear water and a wonderful low tide, there were lots of Harbor Seals. It was fun to see so many of them messing about the kelp beds. As we headed north the fog started to lift to blue skies above. There were five of us on the paddle and most of them I had just met. It is always fun being on the water with new friends.

We stopped for a quick bite on a little pocket beach and then hit the water for some more fun. We were getting a nice push from the current as we headed north but soon we lost the push. Shifting gears and paddling a bit harder out pace slowed. Which was not big deal to slow down. We really were in no big rush to get off the water.

We finally made it to San Juan Co Park and the hard part started, loading gear. It was a bit of a juggle but we all ended up at home eventually. I know I was pretty tired and hit the hay early.

Guinness Update:
Things have been rocky for ole G Dog. I have had him on steroids since he has been home from the vet. I tried to reduce his dosage and he started to get worse. I consulted a close friend of mine who is a Vet and we both decided to go back with the higher dosage. Since then things have been a bit better. It is amazing how much things have changed for Guinness and for me to. I can see that our relationship has changed a bit. I know I have to use more patience and he tries to do things he could do before and just cannot do and ends up needing lots of help. Plus he never seems to want to say put! So he walks around slipping and falling on the hardwood floors. But we are working it out. I have a week left of meds for him. After that we will have to see how he does. If the swelling or whatever is going on in his back is reduced and he can walk without meds all will be well. If he cannot walk, well then I have tough decisions to make.

I hope everyone out there had a great weekend.

Here are a few pics.

Ah. San Juan Island Sunsets!

This deer was sleeping on the beach we had lunch.

Just enjoying good company.

Wait a minute, what is the punch for? LOL

Live music outside. The Elephant Revival. Good stuff!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Busy Times

Sorry for not getting around to posting. I have been busy with work and some personal life issues. Things are starting to even out a bit.

So the season has been busy, a bit down compared to previous seasons, but we are doing ok. Guides are busy but not over worked as we seemed to be in the past. So given that, spirits are still high as we approach August.

I was out on a multi day with a great family and on my return I was hit with bad news all at once. First on the plate was Tayrn (Guide) freaking out because one of our trailers had a metal failure on the frame of the trailer while driving down the road. No one was hurt and that we just luck. But some kayaks were damaged and the trailer is a loss. So operations are going on with the normal loads of guest. It just takes a bit more logistical detail. We are awaiting a response from the company that custom built the trailer. Sandy and good friend who is a master of fiberglass has been working hard to get the damaged kayaks back on the water. She amazes me with the amount of skills she has. She has all but two kayaks already for use to use! WOW!

The next set of bad news was that my dog Guinness was at the vet. A couple days before I left for my trip Guinness slipped on the stairs on the way to my room. It was a minor slip but just enough to cause a limp. The day I was leaving on my tour he seemed to be having a hard time getting up. I asked my friend Robin to check in on him and if she felt he needed to go to the vet, just take him. Things seemed to be fine as it just seemed he had pulled a muscle. But on my return day from my tour, Robin was most concerned as it seemed he had lost the use of his rear legs. She rushed him to the vet (Thank you so much).

I got to land around 330pm and had to get some work done. I tried to get some stuff done, but the other guides told me to leave that they would take care of the rest. I meet up with Robin since I had no idea what vet Guinness was located. When we got to the vet they told me he was paralyzed in his rear. If he did not regain mobility in 48 hours he probably would not walk again and that he could not empty his bladder on his own. So a decision would have to be made on putting him down. I have had Guinness since he was a tiny little puppy. He as been though a lot with me in my life. He is for sure a valued family member. Just thinking of having to decide to put him down was a bit much for me and as I went to the kennel to see him, well I did not do a graceful job of holding back my emotions.

He stayed the night at the vet and I was planning on bringing him home the next day. If he had to be put down I would set the date for Friday and we would have a party with Guinness's friends so everyone could say bye. But we went back to the vet in the morning and Guinness was able to stand. I would not say walking was something he was doing but he was moving. That afternoon I took him home. He needs assistance getting down the stair to go out. I can deal with that.

Today he is doing a bit better. Stairs are still a problem and I help him with that. But outside he stumbles about with a bit more mobility than before. I doubt we will share times on the trail jogging anymore but right now I am happy that he is home and seems to be doing a bit better. He will have to learn to operate with his new condition but he adapts well.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out with my tour clean up. Thank you Robin for being there for G Dog.

For those that live here, feel free to stop by and say hi to Guinness. He loves it when people come by.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Kayaking Days on San Juan Island

The past week was really busy for us here at Discovery. But we are seeing a bit of a slow start to this week. I unfortunately have a cold now and I am not too happy about it. It is never fun to have a stuffy head when the weather is sunny and warm. The weather has been pretty good for us over the past week. We had a bit of wind but over all it has been pretty nice out. Between getting on the water to run a Day Tours I was busy getting vans to pick up locations and back to be unloaded and back out to get others. It was a fun week of musical vans!

Yesterday I decided to head out and have a little kayak time without paying guest. My roommate came with me and we had a nice day messing about on the water. It was really calm out, which is not always the best when we are out looking to have a little fun. Though a few large cargo ships passed by and we were able to play around in a some rock with the waves hitting the shore.

Last night I went out to a buddy's birthday party with some friends of mine. It was a nice time but I was fading fast due to the cold. We loaded up and went back to one of my friends house and relaxed there. All in all a pretty wonderful day and night.

Here are a few photos of my day.

Here you can see Lyle in a sweet kayak I just bought. Sorry for the dark image.

Looking to the north along the coast of San Juan Island.

Pig Roast! My buddy Tawm had a great party with love music and a roasted pig! Lots of fun and good music!

A few folks enjoying the sun, drinks, music and great food!

Oh the rough life of living on San Juan Island.

Well that is all I have for now. Other than trying to fight off this cold things on island are great!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Backpacker Magazine

I just wanted to post a quick note that you can see Discovery Sea Kayaks highlighted in Backpacker Magazine.

Monday, June 22, 2009

San Juan Island and Amazing Sunset!

Last night I got a chance to get out for the sunset. I arrived just as the sun was making its way behind the western landscape. Though I missed the sun I did not miss the beautiful show that followed. The clouds were looming with amazing color and contrast north to south. The light breeze was enough to add a comforting chill to the air and the water was jostled enough so you could hear the sea releasing energy at the shore. This time of year people migrate from town the west side of San Juan Island to enjoy these peaceful scenic moments. Sometimes it can be hard to sneak away once I am off work. But I am happy that I made it out there last night. The view was more than wroth it. Let me know if you agree.

No captions needed on the above images. Simply a beautiful sunset. I hope everyone finds time to enjoy a few before the summer is over!

Friday, June 19, 2009

San Juan Island Times

It has been a pretty nice week. But today we have a few clouds and showers in the area with wind moving in over night. That will soon pass and give way to sunny skies and warm temperatures.

Wednesday we had a meeting with all the guides. Now that everyone is here it was time to get us all together in one place and cover some topics for operations. After the meeting we treated to dinner at my place. We cooked out and had a great time.

We have a busy week coming up. I am sure I will not be able to get a post up until some time after the 27th. But I will do my best to get some images and info posted.

Here are a few pics.

AH! Beautiful!

The crew on my front deck!

Relaxing over a few beers!

Well I know it does not look like your normal executive meeting room. But I will take it any day over an enclosed closet for a meeting room!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching Up!

Well I am really sorry that I have been behind in updating the blog. I have been busy training new guides, running kayak tours and setting up new ideas! I will update you all on that at a later date.

The island has been really nice, so we have been pretty busy running tours. Next week we kick off a couple of weeks on insanity and I think we are all ready for it! All in all things could not be better on the island. So far it has been a great summer for me and I hope for it to continue!

I have some pictures to share with you all and I hope you enjoy them!

Getting on the water for the day.

Just off Lime Kiln State Park.

Doing a bit of rescue practice with tandem kayaks.

This can be pretty tough. The tandems are heavy. Kelly is doing a wonderful job!

This is from my perspective in the water.

Taryn and I floating around in the cold water!

That is it.

Well I know it is not much and sorry I do not have more time to post more information. Things are just a little busy and will only get busier, I hope!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunny Kayak Days On San Juan Island

Today started early with a few clouds hanging around the sky. But by the time I was to pick up my clients for the day, it had cleared. A nice breeze mixed with strong currents made for a fun day on the water. I was doing a half day trip today as a training trip for our new guide Taryn. It was her first time to tag along on a tour. Yesterday Taryn and Lyle, both new guides, went out for some rescue training. So I wanted to get her on a tour so she could start to get the flow of how things work.

The day was nice. We saw a couple of Bald Eagles and Harbor Seals. A few sea birds were hanging out as well. The Orca Whales have been gone for some time now and not sure if they were spotted anywhere near the islands today. There is a female Elephant Seal at SJCP beach. The rangers there are busy keeping people away from the animal. She sure picked a busy beach to hang out. Yesterday she was making friends with a tandem kayak on the beach. But we do our best to stay away and keep clients at bay.

All in all a wonderful day. The water was great, the clients were great company and Taryn is doing well.

Enjoy the photos.

Taryn and the clients hanging out as we drift back to the North.

The clients paddling and enjoying the light roll to the sea.

The Elephant Seal was getting of the water and take a new place on the beach.

Here you can see one of the Park Rangers working to set up ropes to keep people from getting to close to the animal. By the time the ropes were set up she had moved to the other side of the ropes and was laying in the middle of the walking path for kayakers to access the beach. No the best location ever, but she does not seem to mind. For an animal that is suppose to be shy and like privacy. This particular animal seems to not really care.

Anyway, that is my day. Have a good one yourself!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yesterdays Kayak Tour

I was on the water yesterday running a West Side Day Tour. It was a great day to be on the water and the group I had out was wonderful. Flat calm conditions with unseasonably hot weather. Truly a wonderful day. On the tour when we reached Dead Man Bay there was a dead Harbor Porpoise. I called the office to have them reach the stranding network as the animal was in good condition and could be of use for getting some data from. I have plenty of pictures to share so enjoy.

A dead Harbor Porpoise.

The Porpoise being taken away.

Another view.

Smooth waters.

Ah I was in a double. I was lucky to have a good paddle partner.

That is me at the bottom. Wearing one of the new Discovery Sea Kayaks hats.

Paddling home.

A nice day.

Sorry I did nit have much for image comments. But it is getting late.


Discovery Sea Kayaks in Seattle Magazine

Recently Discovery Sea Kayaks was mentioned in two local Seattle publications.

First was in the May 2009 Seattle Magazine under Island Getaways. List with The Big Attractions to San Juan you can find information about us under the heading "Being One With The Orcas" Read the article HERE!

Second we were mention in Seattle Metropolitan June 2009. They have a segment written by local from each island. Detailing the special things about each island. We were most happy and thankful to see that we were mention. Read the article HERE! I would like to say thanks to John Boyd "JB" for the kind words!

I just wanted to share some of the exciting news with everyone. I was on the water yesterday and plan on posting pictures later today. So please check back for some nice kayaking images.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Great Island Day

Yesterday I was on the water with a nice guy writing and article for Sierra Magazine. Mainly about Orca Whales. We spent the day on the water enjoying the sunshine. The currents were strong and a stiff breeze out of the west. There were no signs of the Orcas, but the day was still amazing. On our way back to the beach to go home the tidal exchange was in effect and the sea was choppy and confused. Once off the water we all headed for South Beach. Another night where there was live music and good food. The wind gained strength and the water was beautiful. I have some pictures to share with you. A little slice of island life!

The band set up to play at the beach!

People having a great time. Olympic Mountains are in the background!

PARTY! LOL. It was more chill than that.

More people!

Chickens on the rotis. YUMMM!

This little guy was making quick work of this ear of corn.


Ah, looks like trouble to me. LOL.

The set up. It takes a moment, but worth it for slow roasted chickens.

This is from the earlier part of my day.

Before the chop we had amazing conditions! It was a great day on the water.

Well there you go. A little part of the island life. Good kayaking, good people, good music, good food and a GREAT time!

Hope all is well.