San Juan Island's Original Sea Kayak Outfitters & Guides Since 1980

FAQs Day Tours

Can I take your trip with no previous kayaking experience?

By all means! For many of our clients, this is a first. If you are in average or better physical condition, enjoy camping outdoors, would enjoy moving through the water by the power of your own body and don’t mind outhouses, you’re in!

What are the best months to see whales?

May and June are usually the best, but over the last two years July and August have been excellent too!  Because each of our two, three and four day trips spend a day and a half to two days paddling in prime orca whale waters, you stand the best chance of sea kayaking with whales.

How often do you see orcas?

It is hard to predict how often wild whales might appear, and it varies from season to season depending on the strength of fluctuating salmon migrations.  2016 and 2017 have seen a decrease in local pod sightings and a dramatic  increase in transient orca sightings (as well as humpback and minke whale sightings).  I do know that observing wild orca whales from a sea kayak is an incredible experience and, to do so, one must get out there and give it a chance.

What are your minimum and maximum group sizes?

Our maximum group size is ten guests.  Our minimum is three.  We believe small groups mean a higher quality experience for you!

Why are your guided trips less expensive than your competitor’s?

Because we own and operate our company, we are able to keep overhead costs to a minimum.  We are a small compay with years of experience and specialization, and that makes our tours the best value in the industry.  We pass these savings on to our clients without sacrificing quality, service and professionalism.

Do you supply dry bags?

All of our guided day tours supply dry bags for your electronics, snacks, layered clothing, etc.

Where can I store extra clothing, gear and luggage while I am out on the trip?

Your things will be safe in our van/shop while we are on the water, and they will be waiting for you at trips’ end.

Do I really need to be in great shape?

No. But you do need to be in fair to good shape. The better your physical condition, the more you will enjoy the trip. We do my darnedest to use the tides and sail with the wind, but we can’t always have it our way. When these elements are against us, a prolonged period of exertion may be necessary. You best be ready!

What are the best months to take one of your trips?

We like May, June and September! Things are green, wildflowers abound and whales are everywhere. July and August up the odds for warm, summer weather. September finds fall in the air and serenity on the water and is probably the nicest time to be paddling out here!

What is your minimum age?

Eight to thirteen years in a triple kayak on our full, half-day and sunset tours, fourteen in a tandem sea kayak on our guided day and multi-day trips and sixteen on sea kayak rentals. Children or young adults must be able to interact well with adults, be physically active individuals and enjoy camping in the out of doors.

Do you ever cancel a trip due to weather or lack of clients?

We very rarely cancel a trip because of weather. This is because rain rarely lasts more than a few hours, and there is always a lee side from which to launch and alternative routes to paddle if strong winds exist. We will cancel a trip if I have less than three clients. This very rarely occurs.

How often do you have capsizes?

We have had only rare, accidental client capsizes in thirty-eight years of leading kayak expeditions here in the San Juan Islands!  That safety record cannot be matched in the sea kayaking industry!  Our extensive experience and knowledge of the islands, honed observational skills, thorough instruction on the beach before launching and top-notch, new equipment insure a safe and memorable voyage for our clients.

May I bring my own kayak and/or paddle?

We prefer all participants to use my double kayaks and paddles. We know how our equipment will perform in island waters, and we carry spare parts and repair materials to fix them if need be.

I am single. Is that a problem?

Definitely not! You will get a two person tent to yourself on multi-day adventures and will paddle with another member of the expedition or with your guide. On day tours, you will paddle with your guide or another member of the tour.  Our trips attract an equal mix of couples, friends and single people. You will fit right in!

Do you supply wetsuits?

You do not need one. If you have your own, please do not bring it. Paddling in a wetsuit is too restrictive and hot. Our top-of-the-line double kayaks are stable and dry to paddle.

What are your routes?

Our routes are planned to utilize tidal currents, maximize our chance to paddle with orcas, observe the best the San Juan Islands have to offer,  stay off the beaten paths most other outfitters use and stay, as much as possible, away from civilization.  Each kayak trip page has a thumbnail route map for your perusal.


All photos in our website have been contributed by past guests. Thanks to all who have shared their experience! And special thanks to guest Philip Robinson for his fun pics.

Contact Info

San Juan Kayak Expeditions
Tim and Sally Thomsen, Owners/Operators since 1980
PO Box 2041
275 A St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA
Open 7 days a week for questions & reservations.

Facebook By Weblizar Powered By Weblizar