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BIOLUMINESCENCE & MOONLIGHT KAYAK TOURS BELLINGHAM BAY

San Juan Sea Kayaking

WHY CHOOSE SEA QUEST FOR YOUR BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAK TOUR IN BELLINGHAM?

 

Best location for kayaking with bioluminescence in Bellingham!

A magical glowing light show you won’t forget any time soon.

We make night kayaking a safe, fun and accessible experience!

Stay warm and dry on the water - even while kayaking at night! Our best in class equipment will ensure your comfort.

Best bioluminescence kayak tour display in Bellingham, WA.

Highest safety standards for any company operating kayak tours at night in the Bellingham.

Highest quality equipment of any kayak bioluminescence tour in Bellingham.

The best quality guides in Bellingham with the most training on where to find bioluminescence in a kayak.

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Come Experience the Magic!

Ready to Start Your Adventure?

Join Us For a Nightly bioluminescent Kayaking Adventure in Bellingham Bay!

Sea Quest conducts nightly bioluminescence kayaking excursions in Bellingham Bay and departing from Larrabee State Park. You don’t need previous experience to join our bioluminescence kayak tours, which present an opportunity to witness some of nature’s most dazzling light displays! Below our kayaks, the nutrient-rich waters of Bellingham Bay foster plankton that emits twinkling lights. Meanwhile, our rain-shadow ensures clear skies, offering the clearest nights in western Washington. We guarantee that kayaking amidst bioluminescence will create memories that last a lifetime!

BIOLUMINESCENCE NIGHT KAYAKING TOURS IN BELLINGHAM BAY

Come experience the enchantment of Bellingham Bay with Sea Quest’s bioluminescence night kayaking tours, available every evening after sunset. Our experienced kayak guides will accompany you as you venture into the coastal waters, revealing the captivating beauty of the night. Witness a mesmerizing display of bioluminescent organisms, from plankton to jellyfish and shrimp, lighting up the darkness around you. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in one of nature’s most extraordinary wonders – book your Bellingham Bay bioluminescence night kayaking tour with Sea Quest today!

BIOLUMINESCENCE NIGHT KAYAKING TOURS FROM LARRABEE STATE PARK.

Set off on an enchanting voyage through Larrabee State Park‘s waters with our bioluminescence night kayaking expeditions. As dusk descends, our seasoned guides will escort you on a memorable journey through the park’s coastal splendor amidst the nighttime ambiance. Behold the breathtaking variety of bioluminescent organisms, ranging from minuscule plankton to elegant jellyfish, casting their radiant glow across the darkened waters. Join us at Larrabee State Park for a captivating encounter that will inspire wonder in the marvels of the natural world. Secure your bioluminescence night kayaking expedition with us today!

IS NIGHT KAYAKING IN BELLINGHAM DANGEROUS?

Night kayaking in Bellingham is open to all with an adventurous spirit and is exceptionally secure. No prior experience is required for our guided night kayak tours. In fact, numerous Bellingham visitors embark on their first kayaking adventure at night with Sea Quest. Our skilled night kayak guides curate a secure, educational, and enjoyable tour. Soon, you’ll be confidently paddling in the safest waters, boasting the highest phytoplankton densities and the best chances of witnessing vibrant bioluminescence! Seize the opportunity to indulge in a night kayak adventure with Sea Quest!

HOW DO I CHOOSE A DATE FOR MY BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAK TRIP IN BELLINGHAM?

Bioluminescence and the lunar cycle share a strong correlation. A bright full moon will diminish the glow of organisms. Conversely, a dark new moon will reveal the full brilliance of bioluminescent organisms! The “in-between” phases of the lunar cycle provide moderate displays. To enhance your chance of encountering impressive bioluminescence on your Sea Quest kayak trip, consult the lunar calendar on this page and choose a date with a darker moon. For a glimpse of a partial moon, opt for the third quarter phase. During this phase, the moon wanes and rises later at night. The first quarter moon rises well before sunset, making it less visible.

WHAT DATES ARE BEST FOR BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAK TOURS ON SAN JUAN ISLAND?

June, July and August are best due to plentiful sunlight and warmer surface waters. But there is still the potential of seeing displays in late spring and early fall.

WHAT LUNAR PHASES ARE BEST FOR STAR-GAZING & BIOLUMINESCENCE?

  • March 2-15
  • April 2-15
  • May 1-15, May 30
  • June 1-14, June 28-30
  • July 1-13, Jul 28-31
  • August 1-12, August 26-31
  • September 1-10, September 24-30
  • October 1-9, October 25-31 

WHAT LUNAR PHASES BEST ARE FOR ROMANTIC MOONLIGHT KAYAK TOURS?

  • March 16-31
  • April 1, April 16-30
  • May 16-29
  • June 15-27
  • July 14-27
  • August 13-25
  • September 11-23
  • October 10-24

TRIP DETAILS FOR THE BIOLUMINESCENCE KAYAK TOUR FROM SAN JUAN ISLAND

Duration

3 hours

Group Size

All Group Sizes

Age Range

All Ages

Activity Level

Beginner Friendly

Starting From

$139

Departures

Every Evening Every Day

Location

San Juan Islands, WA

RATED 4.7/5

(437 Reviews)

  • Schedule: Bioluminescent Kayak Tour offered daily.
  • Trip Fee: $139 per person plus 8.3% state tax & $10 government launch fee. On rare dates, the fee is $159 due to limited resources, and this will be noted in the online reservation system.
  • Meeting Place: Bellingham, Washington. Rendezvous at a central meeting point such as Squalicum Harbor, Fairhaven Park or the Bellingham Community Boating Center before driving to either Bellingham Bay or Larrabee State park where we launch all our Bellingham kayak tours.
  • Meeting Time: Bioluminescence kayak trips usually begin at sunset. Note that the trip start times in our reservation system vary with seasonal daylight hours. Our online reservation system will indicate the exact meeting time 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: Our shuttle van takes you to the launch beach. The drive takes between 5 to 25 minutes. We provide a one hour kayak lesson on the beach. 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. We will paddle at a leisurely pace in search of good areas. If we find a rich spot we will float there to soak in the experience and look for the glowing outlines of fish of and seals. Remember to bring a headlamp or flashlight but turn it off to enjoy the bioluminescence!
  • Finish Time & Place: Bellingham Washington; 3 hours after we pick you up.
  • Total Time: Approximately 3 hours from meeting your guides to finish. Be aware that our weather, winds or currents can occasionally delay us!

WHAT IS BIOLUMINESCENCE?

Bioluminescence, a mesmerizing natural phenomenon, generates light without heat. It originates from unique protein and enzyme combinations present in organisms spanning from fungi to fish. While some emit light in singular hues, others showcase a vibrant spectrum of colors.

In aquatic realms, plankton, those drifting organisms, are the primary producers of bioluminescence. These encompass undulating “jellyfish,” clusters of salps, and even congregations of mating marine worms! Predominantly, dinoflagellates, tiny organisms reliant on sunlight for energy by day, create luminous displays at night when stirred by the motion of fish, seals, kayaks, and waves.

WHY DOES BIOLUMINESCENCE EXIST?

One proposed explanation for the occurrence of bioluminescence is known as “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend hypothesis.” When a predator approaches, these organisms emit light, potentially diverting the predator’s attention to another target for consumption. Alternatively, the predator itself could become illuminated, making it more visible and susceptible to being preyed upon by a larger predator! For example, jellyfish might utilize their light to attract prey, akin to moths being drawn to a candle. Meanwhile, other organisms, like nerius worms, employ their glow as a means of attracting mates – very sexy!

IS BIOLUMINESCENCE THE SAME THING AS PHOSPHORESCENCE?

Bioluminescence is an exclusively biological occurrence, distinguished by its emission of light without generating heat. In contrast, phosphorescence also lacks heat production but arises from light released through a chemical process after absorption. The confusion between the two terms can be traced back to World War II, where soldiers, observing light in the sea akin to their phosphor tracer bullets, erroneously dubbed it “phosphorescence.” Despite the misnomer, it persisted for decades due to their lack of biological knowledge.

REVIEWS

Frequently Asked Questions​

 

Absolutely! Despite paddling in darkness, embarking on a night kayak tour with Sea Quest Kayak Tours remains remarkably secure. We equip everyone with headlamps to maintain visual contact throughout the journey. Additionally, our experienced guides navigate skillfully, relying on their familiarity with the area’s shorelines and staying within sheltered bays. Even in low-light settings, they ensure group cohesion and facilitate an unforgettable experience with the bioluminescence.

Each of our kayak tours offers a unique experience, showcasing a variety of visual spectacles. Sometimes, the bioluminescence is so dense that it resembles a mesmerizing glowing carpet on the water’s surface. Other times, particularly during certain seasons, bioluminescence dazzles with exquisite sparkle in more moderate densities.

Moreover, in addition to bioluminescence, our tours may also unveil the enchanting sight of various glowing creatures in the water, including:

  • Dock shrimp
  • Jellyfish
  • Ctenophores
  • Porpoises
  • Seals
  • And even orca whales!

Bioluminescence is an exclusively biological occurrence, distinguished by its emission of light without generating heat. In contrast, phosphorescence also lacks heat production but arises from light released through a chemical process after absorption. The confusion between the two terms can be traced back to World War II, where soldiers, observing light in the sea akin to their phosphor tracer bullets, erroneously dubbed it “phosphorescence.” Despite the misnomer, it persisted for decades due to their lack of biological knowledge.

One theory for why bioluminescence occurs is called “The Enemy of my Enemy is My Friend hypothesis”.The way it works is that by releasing light when a predator gets closer, they have a chance of illuminating an alternative target to be devoured. . Or the predator itself could be illuminated and be eaten by a larger one! Jellies may use their light to attract prey light moths to a candle. Others, such as nerius worms use their glow to attract mates – very sexy!

Bioluminescence is an exclusively biological occurrence, distinguished by its emission of light without generating heat. In contrast, phosphorescence also lacks heat production but arises from light released through a chemical process after absorption. The confusion between the two terms can be traced back to World War II, where soldiers, observing light in the sea akin to their phosphor tracer bullets, erroneously dubbed it “phosphorescence.” Despite the misnomer, it persisted for decades due to their lack of biological knowledge.

Bioluminescence and the lunar cycle have a strong relationship. A bright full moon will make the glowing organisms seem dimmer. Oppositely, a dark new moon will allow the full glory of bioluminescent organisms to shine! The “in-between” phases of the lunar cycle offer moderate displays. To increase your chances of seeing a good bioluminescence display on your kayak trip with Sea Quest, use the lunar calendar below and select a date with a darker moon. If you must pick a date with a partial moon, go when the moon is in the “third-quarter” of the cycle. The moon is waning (becoming smaller) and rising later at night at this time. The “first-quarter” moon is waxing (expanding) and rises well before the sun sets.

Because of the abundant sunlight and warmer surface waters, the months of June, July, and August are ideal. However, there is still a chance of