Paddling the Whale Trail – The San Juan Islands
Their story begins…
Despite living in Seattle for the last 12 years, I’m basically a landlubber. The smallest boat I’ve been on in years was a small county ferry that holds 20 cars. So I was both nervous and excited to learn that I was going to get to write this review for a sea kayaking company that operates out of Friday Harbor, Washington on San Juan Island. The outfitters are called Outdoor Odysseys, and the name doesn’t lie. Before I tell you about the hours spent paddling, the aching muscles, the spectacular scenery, or the gourmet food, let me start at the beginning.
Outdoor Odyssey offers numerous camping and kayaking trips throughout the San Juan Islands in Puget Sound.
I sent an e-mail to Outdoor Odysseys as soon as I received the assignment. It was near the end of summer and I wanted to make sure that there was still a weekend that would work for both of us. Since the three day kayaking trip was essentially a backpacking trip on water, I figured the warmer the weather the better for camping and being that close to the Puget Sound. Not only did they still have weekend trips open, but they sent me a packing list (!) and a longish form letter about how the trips worked, what I should expect both physically and scenery-wise, what kinds of wildlife I might see, and links to their web site so I could read other adventurers comments on what their trips were like. All of this information served two purposes: first, it helped me actually pack for something I had no experience doing, and second, it helped me feel that I would be in good hands and that I wouldn’t have to worry about whether the outfitters were qualified to lead a bunch of inexperienced kayakers on an expedition.