Kayak Mothership in the San Juan Islands

David B with Kayakers
David B at Anchor with Kaykers

What is a kayak mothership? It’s one the the best ways to explore the San Juan Islands without all the hassle of mounting a major expedition of planning, packing, and provisioning on your own just to get in few days of premier paddling. On a mothership, all you need to do is to show up with some comfortable clothes, a camera, and a sense of adventure. Everything else is taken care of by us, the crew of the Motor Vessel David B.

With the David B as your mothership and your base camp, you’ll get to concentrate on the best part of a kayak trip – kayaking. We’ll do all  planning, provisioning and cooking while our professional guide expertly and safely takes you through the maze of beautiful madrone covered islands, and past ancient water sculpted sandstone. While you paddle you’ll learn about the amazing geological history of this dramatic archipelago; the colorful stories of early settlers, from the 11-year long Pig War, to the hideouts and crafty tactics of infamous rum-runners. You’ll also observe wildlife as you float over brightly colored purple sea-stars, snow white anemones and intensely orange sea cucumbers. Bring along a pair of binoculars to watch bald eagles sitting majestically in a tall Douglas Fir tree or to catch the fleeting glimpse of a rare marbled murrelet. You’ll also find yourself amused by the puppy-dog faced harbor seals who seem as curious about you as you are about them and friendly deer who have been know to follow along on our hikes.

Deer on Jones Island
Deer on Jones Island

The best part of the David B experince as your kayak mothership might just be after your step out of your kayak. After a long day well spent enjoying the the scenery and wildlife of the San Juan Islands, you don’t have to find a place to haul out your kayak and then spend the rest of your evening making camp hoping that you read the tide tables correctly so you don’t find the sea slowly creeping inside your tent at 2:00am. Instead, you simply paddle up to the David B, hop out of your boat and step on deck. We’ll take care of the kayak while you stretch your legs and get a bite to eat.

In fact, while you were out paddling with our guide taking in the scenery, the crew of the David B, has been busy preparing for your arrival back at the boat. Christine has arranged an appetizer for you made up of  local cheeses, fruits, nuts and a hot dip prepared from fresh Dungeness crab caught earlier in the day and cooked on board. You can kick back and enjoy the early evening sunlight on deck while nibbling cheeses and fresh local fruits with a cool glass of white wine as a to compliment a great day on the water.

Tim give a short demonstration on kayaking
Tim give a quick demonsreation on how to hold a kayak paddle

Another advantage of the David B as your mothership, is the opportunity for a hot shower, or even better yet a long hot soak in the David B’s cast iron bathtub at the end of the day. We’ll even have the fireplace next to the tub going so you can really relax your tired muscles in style. You’ll be happy that you’re not still coated in sweat, sand, and sunscreen when you emerge from the warm water of the bathtub. You’ll be even happier think how much better a bath is on the David B, than taking a short coin-operated shower with your flip-flops on in a cold concrete public restroom at some state park; this is especially true at a park if you run out of coins with shampoo still in your hair.

Besides great food, easy kayaking in a stable boat, beautiful scenery, hot or baths, and a caring crew, the best part of the David B as your kayak mothership is your warm comfortable private cabin. When you crawl in between the soft sheets and pull the comforter up to your chin after an amazing day’s worth of exercise and a belly full of gourmet food cooked especially for you, you’ll sleep like the logs you left behind on the beach. You won’t even miss that one annoying rock under your left shoulder or the ‘swishing’ sound of your traveling companions nylon sleeping bags that you could have been enjoying if you’d gone kayak camping. You’ll have nothing more to care about as you drift off into a deep sleep than what’s in store for you tomorrow when you wake up to the smell of fresh blueberry muffins being baked in the ship’s wood cook-stove. You’ll be glad you came. No tents, no rocks, no stressing about tides or currents. Just great kayaking, great food, great company, great showers, clean sheets and a comfortable bed. It’s seriously a great vacation.

Trying out a single kayak

Our kayak mothership cruises are for beginners and experts alike. We have three fiberglass double kayak and two singles on board the David B. These kayaks are made by Northwest Kayak and are sturdy and dependable. Our guide not only helps beginners get a feel for their boats, but can also give tips and quick lessons to anyone what wants to know more.

Read more about our Kayak Mothership cruises in the San Juan Islands, or visit our schedule page.