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Bioluminescence & Kayaking After Dark

a group of kayaks on the water in the evening

a man standing next to a body of water

Kayaking after dark is a magical experience, when your non-visual senses become more attuned to the environment. Bioluminescence (living light) in the form of glowing plankton is a fantastic sight. We offer limited tours on the darkest nights of each summer month to enjoy this wonder of nature. Long, sunny days create conditions where concentrations of plankton occur in certain areas around the shores of the islands. Anything moving through the water — like a kayak or paddle — causes the plankton to suddenly glow a bright blue/green. Shearwater is the only outfitter offering these tours on Orcas Island.

Full moon tours are also special nights when we watch the sun set in the West then turn around to watch the moon rise in the East as we paddle back to the harbor in the fading light. Our sunset tours enjoy the golden hours at the end of the day, then return to the harbor just at dusk. All of these tours are great ways to end your day on Orcas Island!

Safety is first priority on all of our tours, and we take extra precautions when paddling after dark. We keep our groups small and carry lights for each kayak in case we need to be visible to others. Our double kayaks are comfortably stable, even for first-time kayakers. There is typically little or no boat traffic on the water after dark, and this is often the calmest time of day here in summer months. Join us for a memorable experience!

full moon rising over water

kayak under a full moon

man in a kayak at dusk

night kayaking is awesome!

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