Centennial Canoe Outfitters Inc.

FAQ - San Juan Islands Sea Kayaking

  • How do I get to Friday Harbor? You are required to provide your own transportation to and from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.  Our trip packet that you will receive once you are signed up for the trip, details the bus charter service from the Seattle/Tacoma Airport to Anacortes, WA, where you can then catch the Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor, or sign up for float plane service to the island.
  • Will I see whales? The San Juan Islands are famous for Orca whale sightings, but it is not guaranteed.  Your guides will make every effort to provide a sighting for you.
  • What is the minimum age? The minimum age is 8 years old. Younger children may go, but must paddle in the center of a 3-person sea kayak provided one is available; these boats must be reserved through Centennial at the time of the reservation. Children under 8 are welcome provided their parents realize that once the trip embarks, there is no turning back. Parents might consider introducing children to camping in a less remote area first. Children should be comfortable around water.
  • What is ocean paddling like? Your guides try to take the shortest route from island to island, which sometimes involves paddling two miles from land. Generally, the surface is calm but occasionally waves form or it becomes windy.
  • What is the average group size? 6 to 8 guests and 12 max. unless it’s a custom trip. 
  • How many people will be in each sea kayak? Each sea kayak is roughly 20 feet long and designed for carrying lots of gear. They’re equipped with a bow and stern (front & back) seat ideal for carrying two adults. A spray skirt will be provided which prevents water from coming inside your sea kayak.The boat also has a rudder system and is steered by the feet of the stern paddler.
  • How many hours per day will I be paddling? Each day varies, but generally you’ll spend about 4-5 hours in the sea kayaks. Lunch takes about 1 hour, which provides a nice break from paddling.
  • What is the hiking like? Generally, the islands where you camp are 1-2 miles long with some hills.  Hiking near the shoreline is suggested because beautiful ocean views are exposed.
  • Are there any special physical requirements? No previous experience is required, but participants should be in average physical condition. Activities are always more fun when you’re physically fit. You’ll be required to carry your own gear to your tent site.  Helping guides carry group gear is optional, but always appreciated.
  • When is the best time to go? Any sport that involves water is most enjoyable when it’s warm. Warmer summer weather begins in June and lasts through September. As the weather is always hard to predict, here are some average temperatures (Fahrenheit) that we encounter.
    • June: 66 degrees during the day & 47 at night.
    • July: 70 degrees during the day & 49 at night.
    • August: 70 degrees during the day & 50 at night.
    • September: 66 degrees during the day & 47 at night.
  • What equipment is provided?
    Safety gear, personal flotation device (PFD), sea kayaks, paddles, dry bags for your gear, all food and kitchen equipment.  You’re welcome to bring your own tent. However, a 2-person tent comes with the cost of your trip and will be given to you at the put-in. Notify Centennial 15 days prior to your trip if you’d like to rent a sleeping bag with liner or a mattress pad for $5/night/item.  So a 3-day trip would cost $20 for bag and pad because this gear is used “2” nights. A 4-day trip would be $30 person.

  • Where do we sleep?
    We sleep on islands equipped with pit toilets and occasional running water. Some people prefer to sleep in a tent while others are happy to sleep out under the stars.

  • Where do we bathe?
    Bathing is done in the ocean with biodegradable soap. The water is salty, cool and crystal clear.  The salt concentration is not high enough to cause itching or dry skin.