Skagit Valley College Natural History/Marine Biology Course

Credit for Kayaking!


Sea-kayaking is one of the most intimate means of exploring the marine and near shore terrestrial environments. In fact, a writer once described kayaking as “the closest you’ll ever get to becoming a marine mammal.” The slow pace and intimate contact with the environment offered by sea-kayaking provides the paddler with unique perspectives that almost no other form of water transportation provides.

Resident Harbor Seal checkin’ us out!

During this 12 day (2 on land / 10 on water) field based course, participants will take advantage of these unique attributes to explore and learn about the natural history of the Salish Sea of Washington State. Using the San Juan Archipelago as both a classroom and laboratory participants will address concepts in marine and island ecology through a combination of presentations, explorations and hands-on experiments.  Additional topics we’ll be exploring include fauna and flora identification, tide and current prediction, navigation, and expedition sea-kayaking planning.  Participants will sea kayak through the San Juan Island group, setting up camps on different islands, participate in group cooking and trip execution.  Kayaks, paddling equipment, camp fees, and camp meals are included in trip fee.

Dates and Prices

Price: $550 + tuition
Academic Credit: 5 Units of credit available as Biology course with lab.

For questions/more information:
Skagit Valley College Website
Cliff Palmer:
office: 360.416.7656 • cell: 206.526.8226

Trip Logistics

Coming from Seattle? Most guests drive from Seattle to Anacortes & then take the ferry to San Juan Island. Plan on staying on San Juan Island the night before.  See our travel information page for details.

Meeting Place & Time
Meet at 8:30 AM in downtown Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, at the Friday Harbor ferry terminal.

Return Place & Time
Friday Harbor ferry terminal, 2:00 – 4:00 PM

You will be responsible for lodging on San Juan Island for the first night of the trip. There will be a class room day on the first day and it is suggested that students arrange island accommodations for the night before as well. Affordable accommodations are available at the Wayfarer’s Rest ( Check out our lodging page for all our suggested accommodations.

We’ll store any luggage/gear you don’t want to take with you on your trip.

Gear You Will Need:
Water bottle, sunglasses and/or hat, sunscreen, appropriate kayak and camp clothing (preferably not cotton or denim) – Quick-dry, synthetic and/or wool layers work; Chacos, Tevas or Crocs  are good choices for paddling, and extra tennis shoes for camp), sleeping bag & pad.

Outdoor Odysseys Will Provide:
Kayaks & all related gear, large & small dry bags, all meals starting with lunch on the second day, transportation between Friday Harbor and our launch location

Please refer to our Terms & Conditions for further information.

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