Bioluminescent Kayak Adventure in Tomales Bay



Item #: WAT-SFR-0038
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Experience one of nature's most spectacular light shows as you paddle through the glowing waters of Tomales Bay during this Bioluminescent Kayak Adventure!

  • Learn the basics of kayaking from the Bay Area's outdoor education leader with over 21 years of experience
  • Discover the amazing secret behind the natural phenomenon of bioluminescence
  • Spot swimming fish and seals as they streak through the water
  • Watch as each dip of your paddle lights up the bay!
Tomales Bay - Marshall, CA
When Do I Choose A Date?
If giving as a gift, your recipient can choose a date at their convenience; otherwise, you can choose one after checkout.

May - October:
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    Essential Information
    • No experience necessary
    • Participants must be 13 years of age or older
    • Tour is appropriate for paddlers of all levels in good physical condition
    • All equipment is included (including kayak, paddles and life jacket)
    • Participants must be capable to paddle for 2.5 hours (sometimes in strong winds)
    • Please Note: This is an extremely popular experience with limited dates per season. We recommend booking as early in the season as possible.
    The duration of this tour is approximately 3.5 hours
    Experience Provider Info
    Complete information for your Experience Provider, including contact information, will be included on your booking confirmation email once you or your gift recipient have scheduled the experience. Our Product Management team handpicks top-rated experience providers, removing the guesswork for you and ensuring your peace of mind.
    Maximum Participants
    The group size will vary but guide to boat ratios typically do not exceed more than 5 kayaks per guide.
    This experience is only for those on the tour.
    Weather Dependent
    This experience is weather dependent. Always contact the experience provider with any questions regarding weather conditions.
    What To Wear
    It is recommended to wear synthetic, wool, or silk clothing and swimsuit, shorts, jacket & warm cap rather than cotton. It is also recommended to bring water shoes or sport sandals, a change of clothes, towel, bottle of water and a snack.
    What is bioluminescence?

    Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. In the case of Tomales Bay, it is a rarely seen light show put on by plankton beneath the water's surface. As the water is disturbed, the plankton light up and put on a spectacular show!

    What equipment is provided?
    This tour includes kayaks, paddles, spray skirts and life jackets for all participants. If necessary, the provider will also have paddling jackets and wet suits on hand.
    What should I bring?

    You may want to pack a light snack and some water as the tour is 3 hours long. It can get chilly on the water, so a jacket or cap is also recommended. 

    Can I bring a camera?

    For this experience, cameras are not permitted. Bioluminescence is incredibly difficult to capture in photographs. This experience is planned around the darkest nights of the season, even the moon can take away from the bioluminescence's vibrancy, so an accidental flash could make visibility impossible for yourself and other guests. Lastly, cameras are a big distraction and can result in paddlers focusing on picture-taking, and ending up behind the group. The guides want to prevent anyone from becoming lost or separated from the group!

    Experience Vouchers that have not been redeemed can be returned hassle-free within 30 days.  All refunds will be made to the original purchaser.

    Experience Vouchers that have not been redeemed can be exchanged for anything else in our marketplace at any time.  If you choose to exchange for an experience that costs more, you'll simply have to pay the difference.  If you choose to exchange for an experience that costs less, you'll have a credit towards your next booking with Cloud 9 Living.

    Cancellation Policy

    Once you have scheduled a date and received a booking confirmation, no refunds will be given. Cancellations and rescheduling are allowed up to 14 days prior to the experience but subject to a $15 per person transfer fee. Failure to appear on your booked date or to cancel and reschedule at least 14 days prior to your booked date will result in the loss of the value of your experience.

    Customer Reviews
    (23 reviews)
    View More Reviews:
    “Guides were great bioluminescentkayaking was amazing we were amazed that we saw the bio so well and we felt really safe thanks for an amazing experience”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi there Maci, Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us!  I am so excited to hear you had an incredible time kayaking. Getting to see the beautiful bioluminescence with a great, and reassuring guide is a real treat! We will be sure to pass along the kind words. We can't wait to get you out on another adventure!  Best, Sophia 
    “The experience was good, the bioluminescence was okay. Our guides started off by saying no cameras which kinda ruined the fun of the experience. There was a wide range of kayaking experience which made it difficult as other kayaks would paddle into yours.”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi there Jackie,  I want to begin by thanking you for taking the time to share your experience with us!  I reached out to our partners regarding your note about not bringing cameras along for the experience, and wanted to share what I learned. Our paddling partners explained that the bioluminescence can be a bit elusive and difficult to capture in photography unless it is a pretty high-tech camera with the ability for a long exposure. These events are planned on the darkest evenings of the summer as the bioluminescence is much more visible in full darkness. Even the moonlight can spoil the potential of seeing the ocean sparkle! Because of this, the guides take an extra precaution to prevent an accidental flash situation. It was also brought to my knowledge that cameras are a big distraction and can result in paddlers focusing on picture-taking, and ending up behind the group. The guides want to prevent anyone from becoming lost or separated from the group! I wanted to let you know I have added notes on our website to clarify that cameras are not permitted for future guests. We appreciate your feedback, as it does help us make improvements on our end such as this! In terms of the beginner paddlers, we appreciate your kindness and understanding in putting up with their occasional bumps! We know this can be frustration when you're wanting enjoy the serenity of the evening. We do note that this experience is intended for all levels of skill. That said, we know there is a definite learning curve and apologize for this.  I do hope that that despite the no-camera notice and the diverse paddling crew, you were still able to enjoy the magic of the bioluminescence and the incredible ecosystem, making memories that will last a lifetime!   Best, Sophia
    “We had a wonderful time on our bioluminescence kayaking tour! Our guides, Oz and Jay, were helpful, informative, and very friendly. We had an unseasonably warm and clear night, and the bioluminescence was really cool; the stars were also INCREDIBLE. We could see the milky way and a ton of stars - it was amazing! We really enjoyed ourselves and hope to get the chance to do it again.”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi there Maggie,  Thank you for taking the time to share with us! Wow! I am absolutely blown away! What an incredible experience! I am so happy to hear that our partners took great care of you and were able to share their incredible plethora of knowledge. To say that I'm over the moon about how wonderfully everything went would be an understatement. Weather can be so tricky to navigate, but Mother Nature really pulled out all the stops for your experience. Glowing bioluminescence coupled with gorgeous, highly visible stars can definitely make you feel like you're paddling through outer space!  We cannot wait to get you out on another adventure soon!    Best, Sophia
    “A little disorganized at the beginning. Difficult to find group as they had no sign, and there were several other groups leaving at the same time. Guide, Oz, was excellent. Equipment was very good, and I especially liked the skirt which kept my feet and legs dry. Bio luminescence was magical.”
    “This experience was a gift from our kids, who know we love to kayak. We had an absolutely amazing time! The two guides were very knowledgeable and provided the necessary gear and good instruction on how to use it. They took care to make sure everyone was fitted properly in the kayaks and knew how to handle them before setting out. We had a great time on the water listening to the sounds of roosting cormorants and bugling elk as well as the awesome light show of the bioluminescence once it got dark!”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi there Barbara!  What an amazing gift! Your kids really went above and beyond to pick out something special for you!  It makes me so excited to know that our partners took such great care of you. Making sure that everyone is well-equipped and comfortable before diving into the tour is definitely important. It sounds like the incredible wildlife and ecosystem was entertaining and topped off the evening!  We are eager to get you out on another adventure! Let us know when you are ready to get out there again! Best, Sophia
    “The staff and the tour company was amazing. They provide you with additional, warm clothing and go over the basics of kayaking so you don't feel lost. The staff really prepped us and were by our side the entire time if we needed any help. I highly recommend this tour! In addition, we got really lucky - we not only saw very clear bioluminescence but the entire milky way right over us - it was magical!”
    “Good guides and sparkling bioluminescence, it couldn't get any better!”
    “Even though the conditions were a bit rough, the instructors decided to us out anyway as our group was eager to go and convinced them we could withstand the wind. It wasn't easy but it was such a rewarding experience once we finally got to see the luminescent bio. Our instructors were positive yet took necessary precautions, patient, informative, and all-around great facilitators to an experience of a lifetime.”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi there Mariah, It sounds like your Bioluminescent Kayaking Adventure was truly incredible! Our partners are so stellar! It is wonderful to hear that, despite the tricky weather, they guided you through an amazing experience! We will be sure to pass the positive words along to them! We look forward to getting you out on hopefully another experience of a lifetime! Very Best, Sophia
    “Guides were awesome. Super organized. Safety conscious.”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Hi Tracy,  We are so happy to hear you had a great time! Safety is so important, and it is wonderful to know that our customers were in good hands!  Best,  Sophia
    “From the moment we got to the launch area things were easily laid out. The tour guides were very clear with instructions and provided us with wet suits (which was helpful since we were unprepared for how cold it actually was). After about an hour of going over everything and getting everyone into their kayaks we got underway. The first half was more difficult than anticipated but once the sun went down it wasn't as choppy and it warmed up a bit after the fog rolled out.The bio experience itself was incredible and so much better than I expected. I was concerned because I hadn't seen any pictures online but I now understand why. Unless you have an amazing camera with the ability to capture long exposure that you are willing to take out onto the water don't even bother, because you will not be able to get a picture with your phone. There is something to be said for just enjoying the moment without the technology as well. The bioluminescence was incredible and well worth the paddle out to the cove. Guides were quite knowledgeable and friendly (even brought cookies).”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Sounds like an incredible evening that I'm sure you will remember for a long time, despite pictures not being able to fully capture it.  Thanks for the great review!  Best, ​Brooke
    “Amazing experience!!! Guides were wonderful and informative. Definitely would do this again!!”
    Response from Cloud 9 Living
    Great to hear from you! Love that you had a fun, informative time out on the water. Let us know if we can get you back out there again. Best, ​Brooke
    “What a wonderful tour. The guides were super friendly, knowledgable and ready to help anybody who was new to kayaking. Everybody showed up on time being well prepared and ready to go into the water with great equipment and new wetsuits. While another company cancelled their tour due to strong winds, our guides patiently waited until sunset for the wind to calm down -- which it eventually did allowing us to start the tour. The water ended up be very calm and the bioluminescence was just spectacular. Never thought it would be so bright and breathtaking. All round a fantastic experience. Highly recommend it!”
    “It was a really cool experience, the bio luminescence was like glitter in the water. I would have liked to stayed out in the water with the bio luminescence a little longer but overall it was a good experience.”
    “Kayaking on the bay was great. The stars and moon were bright, so we didn't see much luminous but everything else made up for it. The guides were very experienced and good.”
    “Our guides (Oz and Jay/Jessie and Connor) were fantastic. They kept the group together, kept checking in on everyone in the dark, went over instructions, safety, gear, etc, and gave us tips on where to go and what to do to get the best experience with the bio. It was magical, fantastic, and highly recommended!”
    “This was our first Cloud 9 Living experience, and it was amazing! Our guides were awesome! They were super-friendly and fun, paid close attention to safety, were extremely knowledgeable, and did I say fun? Yes! We would recommend this "sparkling" tour!”
    “We were so pleased to have done this. It was a fun and interesting way to learn of this phenomenon; the night could not have been more perfect. The weather was cooperative and we had a beautiful view of the night sky, and the bioluminescent organisms were very responsive because the day had been very sunny. We appreciated being properly fitted for our gear and able to return it easily after the kayak trip.”
    “Our guide was knowledgeable about kayaking and navigating the bay. It was a nice nighttime kayak on the bay. We expected that they would know something about bioluminescent life, as this was what we were interested in and why we picked this tour. They showed us the algae and that was it. The guides were not able to answer simple questions on the topic.”
    “Received this experience as a gift. Have never kayaked before. It was wonderful. I felt safe, and the guides were friendly, fun and knowledgeable. The water in Tomales Bay was calm and warm, so I felt comfortable the whole time I was in the water. The bioluminescence was awesome -- so glad I experienced this. I cannot recommend this experience highly enough. Thank you.”
    “Loved the experience and would recommend to everyone. Was hard to find our group at first, but once going the guides were excellent, helpful, and very knowledgeable. Oz and David made the experience enjoyable and carefree.”
    “Very cool to see the bioluminescence. Finding parking was a bit difficult. Instructors were laid back and cool.”
    “Stunning view of wildlife and bioluminescence on Tamales Bay. Our guides and gear were excellent. Highly recommend.”
    “We did the bioluminescent kayak trip last Friday. The guides screwed up and forgot the lifejackets. So one guy stayed and gave instructions while the other guy raced back for the PFDs. We got onto the water about 45 min late. And then it got too foggy, so we couldn't stay out later to make up the time, so we only got about half the tour. The company contacted us immediately to offer either a replacement outing or a credit for half the fare. Mistakes do happen. (I suggest that they use a checklist.) So, yeah, they screwed up, but the company was also very proactive to make it right. The kayaking/bioluminescence was pretty cool and well worth the trip.”

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