About Anacortes Kayak Tours
What drives Anacortes Kayak Tours is really a response to our own experiences while engaging in visitor activities during our travels abroad, and also from nearly 15 years of experience in the tourism industry. We’ve patronized hundreds of different travel-related businesses all over the world. Some experiences were great and others were a disaster, yet we always learned from each experience, took lots of notes, and refined them into our own unique way of interacting with our guests, our staff, and the public.
Superior Guides and Training
As we start our tenth season, in 2013, we can hardly believe how well our tours have been received over the years. Perhaps just as flattering is our amazingly high rate of returning kayak guides year after year. These people are the backbone of our organization and we could never be as successful without them.
Our commitment to raising the bar, and “redefining the standard” on guide training has created a wonderful culture within Anacortes Kayak Tours. We attract professionally minded individuals who are looking for more than just a summer job, they want to improve, grow, and learn as much as they can about being effective leaders and safe paddlers. Our training, which includes investing in professional instruction courses, many many hours of rough water rescue drills, and a dedication to learning the hard-skills necessary to conduct safe tours is far beyond what this industry currently requires. Although our guests won’t see the kind of dynamic conditions that we train in, it makes us very comfortable knowing that our staff is prepared to handle whatever comes their way. Providing a year round venue to promote individual growth in leadership and sea kayaking is a dream come true for us.
First and foremost we operate the company on a foundation of integrity and trust, which means that we do not rely on exaggerations, overstatements, or misleading claims to sell kayak trips. Erik and I (Megan) have been burned by “over eager” companies before and, quite frankly, it sucks. We aren’t interested in building unreasonable expectations simply to sell you a trip, our trips speak for themselves and our high rate of returning customers stands as a testament to this fact.
Anacortes Kayak Tours is a small, family run company and we stand behind our product and most of the calls throughout the year will be answered by one of us. Erik and I are almost always at the store during the summer, and truly enjoy engaging the folks who make our program so successful. Our consistent presence also means that we are always able to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
We know how valuable it is to use local knowledge during your trip planning, and we make ourselves readily available to help sort out any logistical issues that you may want to sort out. Even if it has nothing to do with our kayak tours, we encourage you to call us if you have any questions about the feasibility of your plans. Your vacation time is valuable and it makes sense to get the opinions of locals to make sure your trip goes smoothly. We were born and raised here in Washington and we know a lot about the region so if you have a question, ask us!
Finally, if you’ve ever been on a tour like this before and were handed stinky old equipment then you know how awful that can feel. We knew that investing in top quality gear would instantly set us apart from those companies and so we purchased the same type of stuff that we would want to use. Of course, these are just words. When you get here you’ll see what we mean!
A Commitment to the Environment of the San Juan Islands
Even though we are fortunate to live in such a biologically diverse and incredible place as the San Juans, we understand the impact that irresponsible actions can have on the ecology of the islands. Because we do not burn fuel, move silently through the landscape, and are limited in our ability to move quickly, sea kayakers are generally very low impact. However we can be disturbing to nesting birds and resting seals if we do not take the proper precautions. Our guides are trained to know how best to give wildlife enough space so as not to interrupt their activities, and we avoid known nesting areas altogether simply as a safety precaution.
We are proud that we leave our islands cleaner than we found them, so don’t be surprised to see a small mountain of litter on your guide’s boat after a trip. We also practice “Leave No Trace” ethics on all of our camping trips, and pack out everything that we bring in.
Land managers within the Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Parks have told us many times that our organized and professionally guided trips tend to be the best user groups in the San Juan Islands. We are able to help many people experience these places in a safe and thoughtful fashion thereby creating advocacy for protecting the islands.
As engaged citizens we support our local community, and organic producers, by purchasing as much food for our tours as possible from the Farmers Market and local groceries. We also support local advocacy groups by donating trips, time, and money to their good causes.
Although we do these things because it is the “right thing to do”, our motives are not entirely altruistic. Our two little boys will be growing up in this environment and we’d like to be assured that they come of age in a healthy place.