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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!
Spokane Valley, Washington
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed September 23, 2012

I was a little wary about kayaking. Maybe a little afraid of dunking in the water. This did not turn out to be the case, and if we had, we had very good instruction about what to do if we did fall in.
The trip was fun. My husband and I were both first time kayakers. Luckily we got great instructions from our guide before embarking on our tour.
We saw a couple of bald eagles and some harbor seals, oh, and some jelly fish. The weather was perfect and the water was amazing.
All in all the trip was a lot of fun and my arms weren't even sore the next day. The only thing I had a problem with was hearing the guide. He was a wealth of information, I just couldn't hear all he had to say.
Thanks for the wonderful experience and if we return to Orcas Island, we will be sure and look you up again!

Visited September 2012
3 Thank Cindy V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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218 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great staff but not much to see out if Deer Harbor.”
Reviewed September 9, 2012 via mobile

It might be the time of year but we only saw one harbor seal. There were no birds either. Nice row & good staff but kind of dull.

Thank crider98
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, September 12, 2012
I'm glad you enjoyed our guide and wish you had seen more wildlife. Unfortunately, the wildlife is unpredictable and there are seasonal changes. We usually see more than a single seal on each tour, but there are those trips when all the wildlife seems to be taking the day off. Even on those rare trips with few wildlife sightings, the islands and shorelines here provide a beautiful setting for kayaking.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
4 Thank ChrisK4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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.

Visited September 2011
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.

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