Tom Murphy graduated from Lawrence University with a biology degree in 2003. After graduation Tom spent a year and a half overseas. He traveled through India, worked for an NGO in Nepal, and taught elementary students science in the outdoor classroom of the Swiss Alps. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of the area with novice and seasoned paddlers alike. The San Juans hold a place in his heart and he looks forward to the paddling season year after year.
In the winter, when not paddling Tom is an avid freeskier and ski mountaineer. He can be found hiking and climbing for deep turns in the North Cascades, British Columbia, the Tetons and Alaska. This summer, when he’s not on the water, look for him having dinner on the beach with friends or chasing Suzie’s Mopeds up Bailer Hill on his bike.
Most amazing outdoor and/or wildlife experience you’ve ever had?
One of the most amazing wildlife experiences I have had in the San Juans was while packing up the boats after breakfast. A gull with a broken wing had been pacing the shoreline all morning. As I was loading one of the boats I looked up and there was a bald eagle, talons extended, swooping in to snatch the gull away. It was an amazing example of a predator/prey interaction.
Most incredible whale sighting?
One year on an overcast day I was leading a day trip with a family of three. The four of us were practically the only people on the west side of San Juan Island. We were paddling about a hundred feet off the shore to ride the tidal current. Two resident orcas looked as if they were going to pass between us and the shore but instead turned toward us. There was nowhere we could go and so we drifted in the current, rafted together, as the whales dove beneath our boats.