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kayaking orcas island

colorado springs...
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kayaking orcas island

Planning a first trip to Orcas Island. Does anyone know if you can rent kayaks to take out yourself(independantly), either orcas island or SJI? And the cost? We are thinking about camping the third week of September, is it likely to be cold?

Poulsbo, Washington
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1. Re: kayaking orcas island

I have my own kayak so I can not tell you about the cost. Google kayaking San Juan Islands. Yes you can go independently. Hopefully you have done open saltwater kayaking if you go out of sheltered areas and know about riptides etc..

San Juan Island...
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2. Re: kayaking orcas island

Unless you have quite a bit of experience with ocean kayaking in cold waters it is best for people visiting here on the Islands to go with a group tour. You will find info on the companies on Orcas that do kayaking at visitsanjuans.com/what-to-do/orcas-Island-ka… (Shearwater is the one that has been in business there the longest) and for San Juan at visitsanjuans.com/what-to-do/san-juan-island… (San Juan Outfitters and Crystal Seas are the two that depart from docks which IMO is a big advantage for a day trip). Links there lead to prices and much more information.

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: kayaking orcas island

Ditto what Drifting Clouds said. The tides and currents there are infamous. Motor boats have issues. People occasionally die kayaking in the islands, due to capsizing in rough water+hypothermia. Seaquest Kayak Tours won't even let a person use a solo kayak on one of their guided tours unless you've completed a rescue class. San Juan Outfitters says,

"San Juan Outfitters will rent traditional sea kayak equipment to outdoor professionals with the appropriate training. The waters surrounding the San Juan Islands can pose real danger to anyone but trained professionals. If you are one of these people, feel free to contact us regarding sea kayak rentals."

September should be nice for camping. It could rain, so bring the appropriate gear. It won't be cold.

Edited: 20 August 2012, 21:03
Battle Ground...
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4. Re: kayaking orcas island

Just in case you are looking for a beginner-level recreational opportunity...we rented kayaks by the hour at Lieber Haven Resort: http://www.orcasislandkayaks.com/

The kayaks are for local use in Obstruction Pass Bay and you can paddle around Obstruction Island. We (2 teens and 2 out of shape parents) made it around the island in 1.5 hrs but we were working to get back by the 6.30pm deadline (read the contract). We received strict instructions about staying within the bay or on the shoreline of the island so not to "end up in Vancouver". We also selected a time they suggested would be best (per the tide schedule) before renting.

It was a good choice for us.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: kayaking orcas island

I've also rented at Lieber Haven and had a good experience. There is a kayak rental place on the bay at the top of the horseshoe (this will make sense if you look at a map of Orcas) and I rented from there one year. Went back a few years later to rent from them again and they had unreasonably high prices and wouldn't give us safety gear (not even an extra rope) to take with us, so we didn't rent from them.

colorado springs...
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6. Re: kayaking orcas island

Thank you for your advice, we definitely don't want to have to be rescued. We've done quite a bit of kayaking in Colorado but open water in a cold ocean is a different story. Looks like the protected bay will be the answer. Thank you for the heads up on camping, we can deal with rain as long as its not too cold.

San Juan Islands, WA
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7. Re: kayaking orcas island

Greetings from Orcas Island. I am one of the owners of Shearwater Kayak Tours. We do not rent kayaks, but are happy to offer information about tides, currents, camping, and routes in the islands.

All of the other replies have had good info. Those of us who have paddled here for years know all too well that inexperienced kayakers sometimes get into serious trouble in the islands. There are also ways to minimize your exposure to risk. The 3rd week of Sept will have weak to moderate currents. Night time temperatures will be chilly (low 50's).

Feel free to email us or call if you have questions. info@shearwaterkayaks.com 360-376-4699

8. Re: kayaking orcas island

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