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“Amazing kayak outing for entire family”

Shearwater Kayak Tours
Ranked #2 of 8 Tours in Eastsound
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Explore the San Juan Islands by kayak with Shearwater! Guided tours in stable, 2-person kayaks. Seals, bald eagles, otters, & porpoise are common wildlife sightings. Morning, afternoon, & evening 3-hr tours; or pack a lunch and join a Day Trip. Custom group tours can be tailored to your needs. Special tours include: spring wildflowers and moonlight kayaking. Call now for info and reservations!
Seattle, Washington
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Amazing kayak outing for entire family”
Reviewed August 28, 2012

My extended family and I went kayaking with Shearwater Kayak Tours during our recent visit up to Orcas Island. It was a group of 8 ranging from age 7 to 75! Almost all of us either had absolutely no experience or very little experience with kayaking. Shearwater recommended one of their more calm routes which took us around the Wasp Islands. After a very thorough explanation of kayaking by our awesome guide, Jeff, we were off on our 3-hour tour. We all had an amazing time, and got unique views of the islands. We were lucky enough to see wildlife including a harbor porpoise and bald eagles. Definitely an unforgettable outing and would highly recommend to anyone considering this as an activity in the San Juan Islands.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank ChrisK4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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215 reviews from our community

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English first
Seattle, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Shearwater Psychiatric”
Reviewed August 21, 2012

I can only tell you our experience:

Left two messages to begin with and it took almost two weeks for someone to return my call.
Booked four months in advance for husband’s birthday for the Sucia Island trip.
Never had one call informing us they no longer do the Sucia Island trip.
Called two weeks prior to confirm and was actually told by female answering the phone “. . .we no longer book that trip but you are still on, you will be the last ones going, congratulations.” She actually said congratulations and that stuck in my mind.
Days prior to the trip I received messages from different people until I finally figured out that we were not going on the Sucia trip but that they had changed it to a day trip out of Deer Harbour without our consent. How hard is it to actually say to someone “ We have stopped going to Sucia, what would you like to do?”
We showed up on time tired from an amazing horseback ride the day before and decided to ask the guide if we could switch to a three hour tourin the afternoon if there was one available? I figured since they were so laid back and unorganized that and since they cancelled our original trip perhaps we could switch out or cancel.
The young guide at Deer Harbor Marina could use some serious people skills. We were met with unbelievable resistance, rudeness and threats to charge us anyway all before I could explain our situation. Wow. My husband actually had to put his foot down to get this person to pay attention fully to my request. We were perfectly willing to be told that there were no openings with no hard feelings. But we were not willing to be charged. I ended up having to call the Shearwater office(wherever that may be) from the Shearwater office at the Marina. Why couldn’t this guide tell us this to begin with? If he had no authority why not just tell us we would have to call the main office?
At this point you may say, I get what I get. We should have just cancelled.
They allowed us to reschedule that day for an afternoon 3 hour trip.
We did not have the same guide. We got a guide who proceeded to label us “The Cancellations” in front of everyone one while she was showing us how to get in the kayak. Oh, and this was after we paid her and included 20% gratuity hoping to still have a good experience. Clearly graciousness is not a part of this woman’s psychological makeup.
I have been canoeing, rafting, mountain biking, snorkeling with paid guides in Chania, Greece, skydiving in Perris California, and more. I don’t need a thirty-two year old who pretentiously lives in a yurt to preach to me her philosophy of life while we are trying to enjoy the water. We are not rich we just try to experience life but I know how people should behave and these kids in charge of kayaking groups need to pull up their bootstraps and behave with a little more patience and class and less arrogance.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
15 Thank JenMethvin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jeff Z, Owner at Shearwater Kayak Tours, responded to this review, August 27, 2012
Shearwater has offered a wide variety of kayak tours in the San Juan Islands for 30 years. In that time we have had a vast majority of positive experiences and responses from our guests. It’s unfortunate that this reviewer’s experience was different, and I wish it had been otherwise. We have people and groups that return year after year to kayak with us, and we are happy that people enjoy our tours so much that they make that choice.

I did not personally interact with this reviewer, so I will not address each of her points. However, the following quotes are from reviews involving one of the guides mentioned here and another canceled trip.

“He was a great guide, and added a lot to the trip. We saw bald eagles, a sea lion and porpoises. It was a really nice trip. The companies are well organized and I'd recommend the trip to anyone!” online review

“The day of the trip was brutal and blustery, so we had to cancel, but Shearwater was wonderful by re-booking 8 of us for the next day (July 4, a holiday!) and they accommodated another 2 of us per my request.”
online review

Of course, these quotes do not change this reviewer’s experience, and I do wish that she had enjoyed her trip with us. Our goal is to share our love of kayaking, wildlife, and the San Juan Islands with everyone who joins our tours.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastsound, WA
Level 3 Contributor
12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Fantastic Company”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

Last summer I took my first kayak trip. I'd never sat in a Kayak before and I was worried about safety with the strength of the sea. The guide was very careful to make sure we heard and understood the safety stuff and in no time we were in paddling off into the beautiful sound.
It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I’m not athletic, yet being shown the proper technique made the whole afternoon a breeze. And even the experienced kayakers in the group were thrilled. I’ll be back again…..It was fantastic.
Sorry I can't think of my guides' name.
JanC

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
3 Thank JanCEastsound_WA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Geminize, Owner at Shearwater Kayak Tours, responded to this review, April 19, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to review Shearwater Adventures here. All of our guides are trained to emphasize safety at the outset of the tour, so our guests can enjoy the scenery and wildlife for the rest of their time with us. We love kayaking and the San Juan Islands, and we love sharing this experience with our guests!

Last week we ran our first kayak tours of our 30th season on Orcas Island! Some German exchange students will go home with stories of the wildlife and kayaking here in the islands. I think they had as good a time as you did!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Lovely kayak around Sucia”
Reviewed August 26, 2011

I had not kayaked Sucia since about 1986 or 87. Beautiful as I remembered it to be, and so nice to be able to take the kids along before going back to college. Alan was a perfect guide for our group - just right amount of "laid back" vs info on wildlife, island lore, geology, etc. Hate to say it, but I loved being able to take power boat over to Sucia and back - made for 5 great hours of kayaking/lunch without a couple more paddling back and forth from Orcas.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank Metr0traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Sunset trip was awesome!”
Reviewed August 20, 2011

My girlfriend and myself went to Orcas Island last week for the first time and were informed to take a kayak trip and preferably at sunset. We looked at our options and Shearwater seemed the best for our needs. We set up the 3 hour trip to depart from Deer Harbor and couldn't have asked for a better day to go out.

Our guide was Brady, and he was very knowledgeable of the area and answered our kayak questions clearly. He was conscious of our entry level experience and taught us the proper way to navigate the islands. With neither of us ever kayaking before by the time we were heading back I think we got it down pretty well. We also got excellent pictures that blow my mind every time I look at them.

I plan on visiting Orcas Island again and will book another kayak trip through Shearwater, but depart from one of their other launch points and book a longer trip. I believe that they have 3 or 4 spots on the island.

I recommend a Shearwater Kayak trip to anyone looking to experience Orcas from the water. We can't wait to visit again!

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
4 Thank Nate R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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