Friday, May 30, 2008

Kayaking Season in the San Juan Island is Upon Us!

The San Juan Islands are one of the most beautiful sea kayaking locations in the world. Advanced to beginner, the islands offer great tours with time spent on the water that will leave lasting memories of picturesque views and memorable wildlife encounters. It is not uncommon to happen upon the local resident community of killer whales on the west side of San Juan Island..and your day should be filled with watchable wildlife at every turn. River otters cavorting in the kelp bed, eagles perched on treetops, herons hunting the shallow- the islands offer it all.

Bald Eagle Overlooking the Haro Straits print

Kayaking at Sunset Postcard postcard

Commemorate your trip to the islands by visiting one of the local retailers or be sure to check with your tour operator to see what they have to offer. I also have some kayaking gifts on Zazzle! You may want to visit and check them out-

Kayak Shirt shirt

There are many choices in the islands- be sure to check out your selected operator to ensure they follow the Whale Watch Guidelines established to protect the southern resident community of orcas. You can obtain a downloadable brochure at the Whale Museum's website here:

Whale Watch Guidelines

Whale Watching
+Be cautious and courteous – approach areas of known or suspected marine mammal activity with extreme caution. +Look in all directions before planning your approach or departure.
Avoid approaching closer than 100 meters to any whale.
+Stop immediately and allow the whales to pass if you are unexpectedly within 100 meters.
+Avoid approaching whales from the front or from behind. Always approach and depart whales from the side, moving in a direction parallel to the direction of the whales.
+Keep clear of the whales’ path and avoid positioning within the 400 meter area in the path of the whales.
+Limit viewing time to a recommended maximum of 30 minutes and do not swim with or feed whales.

Porpoises and Dolphins
Observe all guidelines for watching whales.
+Do not drive or kayak through groups of porpoises or dolphins.
+Reduce speed gradually and avoid sudden course changes if dolphins or porpoises approach.

Seals, Sea Lions and Birds on Land
+Avoid approaching closer than 100 meters to any marine mammals or birds.
+Slow down and reduce your wake/wash and noise levels.
+Pay attention and back away at the first sign of disturbance or agitation.
+Be cautious and quiet when around haul-outs and bird colonies, especially during breeding, nesting and pupping seasons (generally May to September).
+Do not swim with or feed any marine mammals or birds.

But most of all, take a deep breath of fresh sea air, paddle hard and have some fun!!!!

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