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If your plans need to change…

We understand life does not always go as planned. We have generous cancellation policies, but there are conditions for receiving a refund. When you make a reservation we hold space for you on our tour. We keep our groups small for the best experience and space is limited. A reservation is a commitment on the part of Shearwater and participants.

Full payment is required to hold a reservation.

All cancellations must be made by email or text to provide a written record. Cancellations must be made from the same email address or phone number used to make the reservation. Cancellations by phone or voice-mail must be confirmed by email.

If for any reason you need to cancel a reservation after the cutoff times posted here, please contact us as soon as possible. We may be able to fill those spaces and make a full or partial refund.

3-hour, Sunset, Full Moon, and Bioluminescence Tours

For reservations of 1-4 people on our scheduled tours, we refund cancellations and accept changes up to 48 hours before the tour time — less a $5 /person fee. For groups of 5+ we require 5 days advance cancellation for a refund — less the $5 /person fee. Cancellations or changes after these cutoff times are not refunded unless we are able to fill the trip.

Paddle & Picnic or Spring Wildflower Tours

For reservations of 1-4 people, cancellations up to 7 days in advance of the tour date receive a refund — less a $10 /person fee. For groups of 5+ people, cancellations up to 14 days in advance are refunded — less the $10 /person fee.  Cancellations or changes after these cutoff times are not refunded, unless we are able to fill the trip.

Late Cancellations & Changes

Cancellations after the cutoff times posted here are not refunded — unless we are able to fill the tour. We also do not accept changes to a tour on a later date after the posted cutoff times, as this would leave us with unfilled spaces on the original tour reserved. Changes after the cutoff time can be made with an additional 50% change fee.

Washington State Ferries

Due to aging vessels and continuing crew shortages since the Covid pandemic, the state ferry system is less reliable than it used to be. Random sailings are delayed or even cancelled due to weather, mechanical or crewing issues. For this reason we recommend leaving plenty of time between your planned arrival on Orcas Island and any scheduled activity. We recommend against visiting the island for just a day, as a delayed ferry may seriously impact your experience. The ferry system is beyond our control, and Shearwater does not refund for late cancellations or no-shows due to ferry issues.


The Pacific Northwest is known for its rainy weather. Fortunately, the San Juan Islands are in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains and receive about half the annual rainfall of Seattle. There will be some rainy days between April and October. We do not cancel for light or intermittent rain, fog, or chilly temperatures. We have excellent hooded jackets to loan if needed (free of charge).

Cancellations by Shearwater

Any outdoor activity might be cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances — even at the last minute. This is rare for us, but when it happens we do our best to give participants as much advance notice as possible. In the case of cancellation by Shearwater, a full refund is made if participants choose not to reschedule.