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“Very well organized”

Crystal Seas Kayaking - Day Tours
Ranked #4 of 28 Tours in Friday Harbor
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Premiere Active Vacations in the San Juan Islands Since 1993 Crystal Seas Kayaking specializes in guided 3 hour, full day, sunset and multi-day kayaking and multi-sport trips in Washington's sunny San Juan Islands - mid March through mid October. The perfect adventure for singles, couples, groups, and families - no experience is necessary. We are locally owned and operated by second generation islanders on San Juan Island and proudly support local businesses, organizations, schools and small farms. Besides the incredible scenery and wildlife, our guides are a huge part of why you will love your trip. The majority of our staff are locals who majored in science or recreation and all of them have an infectious love and knowledge of the outdoors. They are all naturalists who are CPR and First Aid certified and many are also Wilderness First Responders.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed July 23, 2013

We had a fantastic trip kayaking with Crystal Seas. Our guide, Albert, was great with my teenage kids and they cannot wait to go back. We took the 3 hour afternoon tour (on the advice of the very helpful reservations person). That was the perfect amount of time for my kids as I think a full day would have been too long for them. The location at Snug Harbor is so convenient--Kayaks easy in and out--no wasted time.

1  Thank girlzinnia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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516 - 520 of 645 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2013

I had a wonderful time on this trip. In fact I wish I had taken a longer one. My guide, Chris, was great, and in addition to being very competent, he was also a fabulous cook. He went out of his way to make sure I was totally satisfied with everything about the trip. I would recommend this trip and the company to anyone!

1  Thank basecamp159
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

Really fun half-day trip on July 11 for our family (ages from 7 to 75 years old) visiting from Georgia. Our guides were Sara and Alex were super helpful and energetic.

We were mostly new to Kayaking, so they made sure the we all knew how to put on our equipment and what to expect when we were paddling.

We paddled for an hour and saw some Bald Eagles nests and some harbor seals sunning themselves on the rocks nearby that didn't seem to even notice us. I was thinking this would be a nice way to spend an afternoon even if I didn't see any Orcas... We paddled along the west side of beautiful San Juan Island - looking across at Vancouver Island (only 8 miles west) and South to the Olympic Mountains with clear skies... Just this in itself would have been worth 4 stars.

There are resident Orcas in these waters that feed on the salmon that hang out there, but no guarantees that kayakers will see them during a short 6 hour excursion. Even when you do see them, boaters are required to keep a 200 yard distance, so close encounters are a real treat because the whales have to swim to you.

But I think we were lucky! Sara and Alex worked hard to earn their 4 stars, but the 5th star goes to the Orcas for not just showing up, but for putting on a show. At first we saw them from a distance - and we all joined kayaks and made a flotilla (safety in numbers??), and the whales swam right up to us and around us. I later found out that there were 2 pods (J and K) that were around this particular afternoon, totaling around 50 whales. Some over 30 feet long, K-Pod includes 'Grandma' who experts believe is over 100 years old. They didn't just swim by, but provided us with behaviors Sara described to us as (spyhops, pectoral slaps, tail flops, full or breaches, kelping, etc.). They were probably around, swimming back and forth for 30 minutes or more and it's like we watched them in their playground... I feel pretty confident they were watching us too (spyhoping). These are totally amazing creatures and I now have a new fondness for them. This excursion was way beyond my expectations and I thank Alex and Sara guiding us and educating us on the whales, area geography and history.

Incidentally, my wife and I grabbed some food the next night (from Backdoor Kitchen - Friday Harbor - very good but expensive) and came back to Lime Kiln state park to watch the sun set over Vancouver Island with small hopes of seeing more whales. We were again honored with the presence of these creatures as they swam back and forth in their playground - within 10-20 yards of the rocky shoreline along Lime Kiln State Park. There was a mom and a young calf that swam by - it was like watching a kid on a playground. They whales were porpoising and tail flopping, etc. The calf did a full breach on several occasions, but never left his mother's side.

1  Thank Ted H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2013

The whole tour was well planned. The guide was really friendly and had tremendous knowledge. Overall had a great time with friends. Highly recommended, as the whole atmosphere is calm and the chance to spot orca whales is really tempting as well.

1  Thank Suraj A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 16, 2013

A year later and we are still talking about this trip. My comment back to Crystal Seas below immediately after the trip about their company and our guide is still true - I highly recommend them.

We spent a few days on the water and then asked that our guide go dry land with us and we explored the English Camp Natl. Park which was really neat and we really appreciated Crystal Seas being flexible for us. Try 'em - you will like 'em!

“My dad (78 yrs old) remarked it was the best long weekend he had in years and years - we both loved it and felt especially lucky to have Joe be so knowledgeable about the area.”

1  Thank nicholas f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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