Outdoor Odysseys has been operating kayak tours since 1987. We have a well-deserved reputation as one of the oldest and most respected kayak tour operators in the islands. We have run cooperative tours with the Whale Museum, Seattle Aquarium, the Sierra Club, and universities across the country. Our goal is to provide safe, fun and educational tours of the San Juan Archipelago.
We are currently seeking mature, personable, sea kayaking naturalist/guides for next season, which runs from June through September. To maintain high trip standards, we seek qualified guides that are willing and able to make, at minimum, a two-year commitment. (On average our guides generally work for us from 2-6 years.)
- Plan, pack, and execute single and multi-day sea kayaking expeditions customized to customer interest and needs (physical, dietary, etc).
- Instruct beginner to intermediate paddlers on paddling technique, on water safety, and rescue.
- Share and discuss natural history and pertinent wildlife knowledge with customers, including legal requirements for proximity with protected wildlife interactions.
- Design menus specific to trip dietary restrictions. Pack and purchase food within financial guidelines.
- Individually prepare three meals a day for up to 8 customers. Collaborate effectively with other guides for larger groups.
- Pack, clean, and report repair needs for all Outdoor Odysseys gear and kayaks.
- Available to work May – September.
- Proficiency in demonstrating and instructing paddle strokes and maneuvers to a variety of experience levels and ages.
- Proficiency in self rescue, assisted rescues, and towing; ACA Level 3 certified preferred.
- Strong knowledge of tides and currents and how to use associated charts and atlases.
- Competent water and weather reading skills; able to adjust route and confidently maneuver paddlers through strong currents, winds, and other open water conditions.
- Knowledge and use of communication devices including marine radios.
- Skilled chart navigation – able to identify navigation aides, account for magnetic variation, take bearings and triangulate under extreme conditions, e.g. fog, limited visibility.
- Weather reading and assessment for 12-48 hour patterns, lightning safety, as well as the importance of gear and equipment preparation.
- Wilderness First Responder certified and up-to-date.
- Adult and Child CPR certified.
- K.E.L.P. certified (completed upon hire).
Camp Maintenance and Outdoor Cooking
- Experience in camp set-up and maintenance, insuring living environment is both comfortable and sustainable in various terrains and weather (heavy rains and wind).
- Competent and creative in the kitchen.
- Confident in cooking and providing nutritional requirements for dietary restrictions and food allergies.
- Attentive to portioning, meal planning, and limiting food waste.
- Conscientious logistics and trip planning experience in areas of equipment and food packing, group objectives, and daily situational assessment with considerations to clients’ special and medical needs, park permits, weather, tides, equipment, and transportation.
- Daily practice in identifying objective and subjective hazards for varying ocean conditions, as well as human error in equipment, health, food and shelter.
- Thoughtful communication skills cognisant of age, gender, cultural background, generation, disability, and other client specific characteristics.
- Comprehensive understanding of expedition behavior and group dynamics with varying group size, personalities, and experience levels.
- Able to facilitate discussion and mediate group tension and frustrations.
- Demonstrates Leave No Trace principles and low impact wilderness travel.
- Passionate and knowledgeable on Pacific Northwest natural history, wildlife, geology, and plant life.
- Plenty of patience and a playful sense of humor.
- Competent in driving and parking 15 passenger vans and trailers.
Additional Knowledge, Skills & Responsibilities
- A degree in the natural history disciplines e.g.biology, ornithology, etc.
- Completed guide training program, e.g. NOLS, IWLS.
- ACA Level 3 certified, or equivalent experience.
Why Consider Working for Outdoor Odysseys?
We have one of the best track records in the islands for attracting and retaining quality guides. We look for naturalists/guides who are smart, personable and ethical. The average length of time guides work for us is typically three plus years.
- Health Coverage: While at work you are insured through WA State Labor and Industry while on the job (not all companies offer this benefit).
- New “Green” Office/Shop: Our new facility was designed specifically to make our guides trip prep easier and more efficient. It features good lighting, dual kitchen sinks, large counter space for prepping and uses sustainable materials.
- Free Use of Kayaks: We encourage you to use our boats and gear for paddling and exploring the islands on your days off.
- EquipmentPro deals: You get great deals on a wide range of industry products (e.g. Outdoor Research, Patagonia, Yakima, Marmot, etc.).
- You get to live, work and play in arguably one of the most scenic areas of the United States – if not the world.
- Guides have daily opportunities to paddle with and view whales and other phenomenal wildlife such as peregrine falcons, seals, eagles, porpoise, etc.
- Outdoor Odysseys is committed to professionalism and works with each employee to continually educate and improve his or her guiding skills. You have an opportunity to train, learn and grow with a company that has an excellent reputation in the industry – as well as contributing your own unique talents and knowledge to our programs.
- Sustainability – We make every effort to set an example to the community and our competitors by operating responsibly and conscientiously with respect for our environment and community. Learn more on our Giving Back page.