page contents
Bioluminsence Kayak Tour San Juan Island

Bioluminescence Kayak Tour San Juan Island (3 hour)

Estimated reading time 6 minutes

Table of contents

  1. What is Bioluminescence?
  2. Best Dates for Bioluminescence Kayak Tours
  3. Trip Details for the Bioluminescence Kayak Tour San Juan Island
Bioluminsence Kayak Tour San Juan Island

Getting ready to start a Bioluminsent Kayak Trip on San Juan Island

What is Bioluminescence? Kayak Tours in a Sea of Life!

Bioluminescence Kayak Tours from San Juan Island offer the chance to see fantastic light displays in the sky and water. They appeal to those with limited time during the day or to those that wish to try kayaking but don’t want to commit to a longer tour. Total time – 3.5 hrs.

Book Your Tour Now!

Bioluminescence is a biological light display by phytoplankton. These microscope photos synthesizers light up when disturbed any kind of movement. This could be a fish underwater, a seal hunting or simply the bow of your kayak cresting through small wavelets.

Why does bioluminescence exist?

One evolutionary theory for why bioluminescence occurs is the “Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend” hypothesis. Larger zooplankton are illuminated by the phytoplankton. Instead of a satisfying meal of phytoplankton, the zooplankton are themselves swallowed by a passing fish or other predator.

Is Bioluminescence the same thing as Phosphorescence?

Phosphorescence is similar to bioluminescenct light because it is emitted without combustion or noticable heat. However, phosphorescent light results from the remission of light at a different wavelength while bioluminescence is the result of a chemical reaction.

Does the Lunar Cycle Matter for Bioluminescence? Plan your Kayak Trip

Bioluminescence and the Lunar Cycle have an inverse relationship. With the Full Moon, the Bio-luminescence appears relatively weaker while the New Moon offers incredibly bright Bio-luminescence. There are certain phases of the Lunar Cycle which offer both displays. If you wish to increase your chances of seeing either Bioluminescence or paddling with more moonlight please take note of the lunar calendar below.

Bioluminescence Kayak Tours San Juan Island - Lunar Calendar

Bioluminescent Kayak Tours San Juan Island – Lunar Calendar

Best Dates for Bioluminescence Kayak Tours San Juan Island!


Bioluminescent Kayak Tour Seasonality:

June, July and August are best. But there is still the potential of seeing displays in late spring and early fall.


New Moon : Best kayak dates for Bioluminescence

April 30th (2 days before + after)

May 30th (2 days before + after)

June 29th (2 days before + after)

July 28th (2 days before + after)

July 28th (2 days before + after)

August 27th (2 days before + after)

September 25th (2 days before + after)


Full Moon: Best dates for San Juan Island kayak tour

April 16th (2 days before + after)

May 16th (2 days before + after)

June 14th (2 days before + after)

July 13th (2 days before + after)

August 12th (2 days before + after)

September 10th (2 days before + after)

October 9th (2 days before + after)


*Note: Bioluminescence is strongest Late June-Mid September We cannot guarantee seeing Bioluminescence as it can be altered by wind, rain and currents. With the added danger of paddling in the dark, we reserve the right to reschedule due to strong winds.

Trip Details for the Bioluminescence Kayak Tour San Juan Island

Reserve This Kayak Tour Now

  • Schedule: Bioluminescent Kayak Tour offered daily
  • Trip Fee: $129 per person plus 8.3% state tax & $10 government launch fee. On rare dates, the fee is $149 due to limited resources, and this will be noted in the online reservation system.
  • Meeting Place: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Look for our van and kayak trailer in the traffic circle adjacent to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal.
  • Meeting Time: Bioluminescence Kayak Trips usually begin at around sunset. Note that the trip start times in our reservation system vary with seasonal daylight hours. Our online reservation system will indicate this if you enter a specific date. If the times don’t work for you, we may be able to change them to meet your needs so feel free to ask!
  • Itinerary: The night begins! Our shuttle van takes you to the launch beach after sunset. The drive takes between 5 to 25 minutes. At the beach, we provide a one hour kayak lesson. This lesson familiarizes everyone with the basic skills before we launch the sea kayaks in the dark. We then explore for about 1½ hours, covering 1 to 2 miles during the kayak adventure. Floating rest breaks in areas with strong bioluminescence around your kayak will astound you! So will taking in the view of the moon after dark. Headlamps required!
  • Finish Time & Place: Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal; around 3.5 hours into the night after we pick you up.
  • Total Time: Approximately 3½ hours from meeting your guides to finish. Be aware that our weather, winds or currents can occasionally delay us!

Sea Quest Kayak Tours Provides:

Sea kayak and all related sea kayaking tour gear, lesson and expert guides.

You Will Provide:

Suitable clothing and footwear for the beach, water bottle, HEADLAMP. Bring a warm sweater and rain jacket if windy or rainy. Click prepare for a San Juan Islands kayak tour for some tips.


Book Your Kayak Trip Now!

Join a Kayak Quest for Whales Today! Call 360.378.5767 Address: 322 Daniel Lane, Friday Harbor, WA 98250 ©2022 Sea Quest Kayak Tours / Natura LLC, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy