Showing posts from 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!!!

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 su…

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 de…

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 c…

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 hea…

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:
We are operating tours daily and can get you on the water for a great time.

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…

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.
123 West San Juan Island
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

Check out Discovery Sea Kayaks Blog

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.

San Juan Kayak Tours and Adventure

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 …

Discovery Sea Kayaks - Kayak Tours San Juan Island

Not only does Discovery Sea Kayaks offer the best sea kayak tour adventures on San Juan Island, check out our new website!
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 tou…

3 Day Kayak Tour

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 amazin…

Rockpool Alaw Bach TCC Kayak

Once again sorry for not having any images.
I recently had a chance to paddle the RockpoolAlaw Bach TCC kayak that is made here in the US. It is being manufactured by Eddyline in Carbonlite material. I have almost no experience with the Carbonlite material so I will not get into much detail on Carbonlite.
First off I will start with saying the kayaks are beautiful. Great lines and the Carbonlite finish is smooth and flawless. The interior looked liked the kayaks are put together with care and for a little flare there are sea star shapes pressed into the bulkheads.
I am roughly 5'9 and 195 pounds, I thought the kayak had a great fit. It is a bit more narrow than my NDK Explorer and has more of a snug fit and a slight different knee orientation than I get in my NDK Explorer. I worried at first that I would not be comfortable sitting in the kayak for a long time, but after a decent paddle I did not notice any discomfort. Make sure you check the seat if you are going to take on …

Emotion Kayaks

The long weekend was full of clouds and rain here on the island. So the weekend is was not as busy as we would have hoped it to be.

I hosted a Emotion Kayak Demo Day on Saturday and it was rainy and windy. Not many people showed up. But those that did come by had a blast messing about with these fun recreational class kayaks.

If you are not familiar with Emotion Kayaks and you are looking for a recreational flat water style kayak, you should check them out. I took all the demo models out for a little paddle and it was really fun. If you are looking for a "sea" kayak then this is not the brand for you. But if you live on a protected bay, lake or slow moving river, then you would have a blast.

So the update for the shop on demos. We have select models available for demos. All you have to do is give us a call and set up a time and we can get get you on the water for a test paddle.

In stock in the shop I have the Glide, Advant-Edge and the Spitfire. I also have the Temptation, G…

Kayaks I Like to Paddle

There are lots of kayaks out there and they come in different designs. But we all end up setting on designs and kayaks we are most comfortable with. Not all people like the same kayaks as I do and that is why they come in different designs. But I thought I would give everyone a bit of info on the kayaks that I like to be in.
First my two primary kayaks are a Nigel Dennis Explorer and a Nigel Dennis Romany HV. So my might start to see I am a pretty solid NDK fan but there a few other kayak out there that I love to paddle as well.
Why I do I like the NDK kayaks so much? First off my two NDK's are several years old and are built pretty much like tanks, which is the way I like. I know that they can be a bit heavier than other kayaks out there, but I am not to worried about how hard it is to get on and off my car. I am more worried about running a tiderace with rock all over and not destroying my kayak. My NDK's have taken a beaten and just keep on going. That is not to say…

Sea Kayak Safety Full Circle

Now that I have reached a good place in my post about safety. I wanted to bring things full circle and kind of give a thought process to safety. I hope the reading has not been to bland, but I feel this is a topic that really is good for anyone who is on the water, cold or warm waters.
After you have reached the point of purchasing a kayak and all the extra gear needed to be safe. It is time to practice. I cannot emphasize how important it is to practice with all of you equipment. This will allow you see what works and what might need to be modified or replaced. It is better to find flaws and weakness when you are practicing and not depending on the gear for your life.
Practice with partners you plan to paddle with. This will develop you kayak relationship with you partners. In the process you will learn each others strengths and weaknesses. This is invaluable information when faced with real world emergencies. Work with each other on scenarios that will help develop better te…

Should I Wear A Drysuit?

So I have been focusing some of the past few post on safety issues and equipment. There always is some interest in should I wear a drysuit, westsuit or dry top and dry pants. I am going to give my opinion on the topic and you can take from it what you wish. But please be clear that the information here represents my opinion only.
As always, it really depends on the region you are paddling. I paddle the Pacific Northwest most of the time, so my experience padding cold water is a reflection of my what I say here.
To be upfront, I paddle a Kokatat Gore-texdrysuit. I wanted to get that out in the open first. Before I started paddling in a drysuit I either wore a wetsuit or just clothes I did not mind getting wet.
When I got into sea kayaking and wanted to learn skills that require capsizing and being out of my kayak, I wore a wetsuit. For my daily pursuits I generally work some quick dry pants and polypro. Working rescue skills in the cold water was doable, but not much fun when in …

So Whats In Your Kayak?

I have noticed over the years that people seem to head out kayaking for the day with little to no spare gear. Being a guide for so many years around the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest I have developed a system of always having gear in my kayak. Depending on where you live, this may seem a bit over kill.
Here is a list of things in my kayak by hatch:
Day Hatch First Aid Kit: I always have a basic first aid kit that I can access while on the water. Emergency Signal Devices: I have a few different types I like to have on board. I have signaling smoke, signaling flares, strobe, chem lights and a spare whistle. Warm Items: Spare gloves and beanie Stove: I keep a Jet Boil Personal Cooking System handy. On cold rainy days having access to hot water in a hurry really is nice. Documentation Materials: I like to keep a paper and pen/pencil along with tide data in a water proof case. Water Bottle and Snacks: I like to keep a water bottle for drinking and a extra for emergencies. For snacks I…

April Fun (Kayaking, Tall Ships and More)

April is over and man what an April. I was luck enough to get on the water to guide some trips. We ended up having a pretty good month as far as tours go. The weather could have been a little better, but you deal with what you get. I hope that May will start to mellow out and the winds start to fade.
But all in all there was lots of fun to be had. We had one multi day tour out in April and it was a blast. The first two days of the journey were rainy. But the last day was calm seas and sunshine. The beauty of the San Juan's stepped out from behind the clouds and graced our last day with sun and red checks. It was a larger than average tour so I had two co-leaders long with me, Shawn and Richard. It was so much fun to be out with other guides, as we usually operate alone.

Early morning view from my tent. Rain all night and rain for breakfast.
A few days after the tour, back on San Juan, two tall ships came to port. The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain were open to dona…

Kayak Demo Day San Juan Island

Welcoming Emotion Kayaks to Discovery Sea Kayaks.
To kick off the new line kayaks arriving at our shop we are hosting a Kayak Demo Day May29th. Starting at 9:30am we will have kayaks at Jackson Beach for test paddles. Bill Walker, the rep for Emotion Kayaks, will be here to provide in depth information on the different models.
Discovery Sea Kayaks will have kayak packages for sale in the shop, 185 First St Friday Harbor Wa. If you test out a kayak you like just drop by the shop and take it home. We have great package deals in the works for the Demo Day.
Demo Day will end at 5:30pm May 29th. So make sure to drop in and check out the kayaks.
Emotion Kayaks are great for beginner kayakers, wildlife watchers, photographers, fishermen, and to toss on your boat for quick exploration of bays.
You can pre order a kayak package before May 15th and receive 10% the package price.
Contact for details: 360.378.2559

Mothers Day Special

Discovery Sea Kayaks is offering a Mothers Day Special. May 9th all Moms receive 50% Off West Side Half Day Kayak Tours departing at 930am and 230pm. Please check out the tour on the company website: West Side Half Day Kayak Tour.

Limited Space: Book Now: 360.378.2559

Discovery Sea Kayak, Seattle Magazine

Discovery Sea Kayaks was mentioned in Seattle Magazine May 2010 for Great Escapes for 2010.
Here is a link to the article: We are mentioned in the "what to do" section
Once again the Discovery Team is very grateful for being recognized for our hard work. We strive to provide the highest quality kayak adventures possible, not just in the San Juan Islands. The Discovery Team's passion for kayaking and the outdoors shines on every tour. Thanks to our great Guides and Staff we are able to share our vision with everyone who joins a DSK San Juan Island Kayak Tour.
Thanks again.


Just wanted to share this video that is posted on the Canoe and Kayak Magazine homepage.It is a short video and will only take 5 minutes of your time.I hope you can take the determination of this one person and let it inspire you to take on the difficult tasks in your life.

Discovery Sea Kayaks Recognized

Just wanted to post a quick announcement that Discovery Sea Kayaks took Second Place in the King 5 Best of Western Washington contest. We are always faced with touch competition here in the Pacific Northwest, where there are lots of outfitters. But we were please to see we made the mark at Second Place. Though First Place is always the hope, this leaves us a bit more room to improve and provide even better service than before.
This is Discovery's second year making the list in the Top 5! Thank you to all who voted to help Discovery be recognized for all of our hard work.
So come back and join us on a true kayak adventure around the San Juan Islands...

To Skeg or Rudder? That is the Question.

I have had a few people looking to get more information on buying a kayak with a skeg or a rudder. I am not going to write a post and say you should have one over the other but I will give some simple facts and then my opinion.
First I will start out with the skeg. For those who are not familiar with the skeg system, I will give a quick description. The skeg is located on the hull side at the stern of the kayak. It is deployed from the cockpit via by a rope system or a cable slider system. When deployed it moves vertically out of the hull and retracts the same. It can be adjust variably to reach the desired effect.
The most common mistake people make is thinking that the skeg is just a different form of a rudder. A skeg is not used to maneuver a kayak. The skeg is used to create lateral resistance. So you might ask yourself, why do I need this lateral resistance?
To answer this question we have to look at the design of kayak and a few terms. Kayaks generally will turn into the…

Transient Orcas

So I was at work yesterday day and the Marmot order came in. So it was time to open boxes and start getting it all in the computer, priced and then out on the floor. I decided to grab a quick lunch with my buddy Eduardo when my phone rang. It was my buddy Ivan who is the owner of Western Prince Wildlife Cruises. He got word there was a pretty good size group of Transient Orcas out in the Straits. He called around and wanted to see if anyone wanted to go out on his fast boat Western Explorer. It is nice to be able travel fast when the Orcas are pretty far away and the Western Explorer does just that, TRAVEL FAST.
It was a great day out. There was a bit of rain when we left the harbor but the sun won the battle by the time we got on the scene with the Orcas. There were a couple different groups just traveling around. There was a few tail slaps here and again and we got an unexpected close pass by a small group.
There were some great photos taken from the encounter. I only had my IP…

How to Select a Kayak Outfitter

I am going to outline some basic steps to help find a kayak outfitter to take a kayak vacation. I will mainly use references to sea kayaking as that is what I am most knowledgeable about, but this advice could be applied to many kinds of outdoor adventure vacation activities. Through my years as guide and business manager, I have seen people put in unsafe situations and people spend money on vacation activities that was less than it could be - if not a bad experience. Therefore I thought I could provide some helpful tips to get the most out of your kayak vacation.
Many regions have a different sets of guidelines for choosing and outfitter and it is important to understand the environment in which you will be heading out in. Being the in Pacific Northwest where the water temps are pretty cold, winds can be strong, the currents can be extreme. It is important that you know a bit about the situation and that you choose to go with guides that are skilled and tall all the extra precaution…

Kayaking All Weekend

I was on the water leading kayak tours Saturday and Sunday. It was nice to be out and on the water all weekend. Saturday the tour started out with a bit of chop and following seas. The winds were out of the NNE at a steady 15kts. But the wind pushed us South pretty fast. We arrived well ahead of schedule at Deadmans Bay. We got out and took a short walk along the coast. Before long it was time to head back out on the water. The NNE winds were stiff so paddling was slow and choppy. My guest did well and had a great time being on the water.
Today was a bit nicer with lighter winds out of the N. I had a group of students from the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Labs. It was a good size group and everyone did a great job. It was a nice time to be on the water. The winds faded as the afternoon turned to early evening. Tours are always fun when you have a large group that listens well and gets on the water quickly and on the flips sides gets things loaded quickly. …

Nice day for a hike.

Well after work Robin and I decided to head out and get a bit of hiking in. It was a great walk. We headed out to the DNR land to explore the area. As we hit the trail head Guinness was excited to be outside as he sniffed and tugged at his makeshift leash.
It was nice and windy but we had some protection as we approached Young Hill from the East and with the wind being out of the West, it was nice. The sun was warm and bright, though the trail was nice a muddy. Spring flowers were popping out of the ground everywhere. We managed a few off trail excursions though some nice thickets. But we always returned to the trails to move on. We poked around having fun along the way and finally got the to top of Young Hill. Reaching the top, we were met with lot of heavy gust of wind. It was still a beautiful sight. We did not hang out to long as it was getting a bit chilly in the wind. We headed back into the woods and down the hill. On our way our we saw a few deer starting to move …

Let the wind blow.

Well it is another windy day here on San Juan Island and luckily we do not have any tours out. There seems to be a good amount of people roaming about town, but I am sure that kayaking is the last thing on their minds today.

I hope to get out for a short walk or run today. It will be a cold one out there, but I need to get out. I have a kayak tour going out on Saturday and there are spaces available. Stop by the DSK SITE or give us a call to join, 360.378.2559.
Western Prince Whale and Wildlife Tours are operating tours as well. Enjoy a trip around the island looking for wildlife and enjoying the scenery. Plus if you book a tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks and the Western Prince you will get 10% Off each tour.
**If you have a Washington State ID Discovery Sea Kayaks will give you 15% Off our West Side Day Tour till May 15th.
Looks like the winds are forecast to ease up this weekend. So the kayaking should be good. So don't be afraid to travel on up to the island and enjoy the ear…

Kayak Tours and Wind

Well it has been busy over the week and I have been getting on the water for some guiding. I had a good 6 days in a row of Day Tours. That is always good, but not when the wind will not stop blowing. The sea state has been a bit cranky due to all the SSE and SSW winds we have been having on the island. Though the seas have been rough my groups have been having a great time.
I have not seen any Orcas yet, but I have read reports of some Transients out near Race Rocks. Bald Eagles have been busy building on their nest and going through the motions of courtship behavior. Some of the summer sea birds are hear and a few loons are still around. We had a great encounter with a fox on the shoreline. The fox had to scale a pretty steep area to get down to the waters edge. But when we approached, it scaled the near vertical with ease. On one trip we had a great view of two different California Sea Lions swimming north in the Haro Strait. So there is plenty to see right now.
Today I ma…

San Juan Island Kayak Tours

Just wanted to let everyone know that Discovery Sea Kayaks is OPEN and operating Kayak Tours. Day Tours are already booking for this weekend. Plus we have a great deal going for those who are residents of Washington State and have a Washington State ID. We are giving 15% OFF our West Side Day Kayak Tour with your Wa State ID till May 15th.. This is a great opportunity for those that live around here to beat the crowd and get a discount.
Multi Day Tours are also booking. We are getting lots of interest in our 3 and 5 Day Kayak Tours. So if you are thinking of getting a group together for and Kayak Island Adventure, give us a call 360.378.2559.
If you are looking to buy your own kayak, we have some good deals on USED KAYAKS.
So I have had some questions when people have called lately. They are concerned about the Ferry ride and thinking about taking a tour in Anacortes instead.
First let me say that the Washington State Ferry ride from Anacortes to San Juan Island has long been though…