Napa Valley Paddle’s Bioluminescent kayak touring company offers nature’s most illuminating light show in the waters of Tomales Bay on the darkest nights of July, August, September, and October, 2024. Bioluminescence is mother nature at its spectacular best. It is the emission of light by microorganisms undersea called marine dinoflagellate or plankton. Movements from a swimming fish, the stroke of a paddle to displaced water from the hull of your kayak can excite the organisms causing a shimmering burst of fluorescent white-blue light. With hundreds of marine dinoflagellates assembled in the bay, the collective effect can be magical.
Napa Valley Paddle’s coastal kayaking adventure starts just before nightfall so that you can enjoy the rich colors of the sun setting on the horizon. As the evening fades into darkness, the sky is lit by stars above, followed by traces of bioluminescence glowing as its spills from your kayak paddle.
We’ve chosen the best dates for July, August, September, and October based on the moon’s position to ensure the darkest nights. Our guided tour will take you through areas where your kayak paddle creates long stretches of glowing bioluminescent for the longest time.
Kayak, paddles, life jacket, on-shore instruction & overview. Two guides per group. EMT on-shore with radio.
Not for beginner paddlers. Must be comfortable and confident in water with up to 18" wind swell. This is a guided, night time paddle often in pitch black darkness.
Wear comfortable synthetic clothes as they dry faster. The night can get cold, so dress in layers. Bring a cap or hoodie, a waterproof shell, and waterproof pants to avoid your feet and legs getting wet from the drips from the paddle. We recommend water shoes or strap sandals. They are optional based on your comfort.
Headlamp with RED light, drinking water, towel, whistle. Carry dry bag, waterproof cell phone case, or zip lock bag to protect cell phones, keys and other valuables. You can also buy phone cases or dry bag from us by placing your order in advance, $25.
Refund available for reservations cancelled up to 14-days prior to your tour date; $35/cancellation fee applies. In the event of adverse weather conditions, we will issue a rain check and reschedule the tour for a later date. Although we've always refunded customers do to weather-related cancellations upon request, refunds are not guaranteed.
Tandem kayak, paddle, pre-paddle orientation, two guides per event/group, one headlamp with RED light per boat
Medium rigor. Not for beginner kayakers and not recommended for kids under 14 years old. For families, we may have the whale boat available depending on weather conditions.
3 hours total: 30 minutes for on-shore instruction, overview, and life vests and paddle fitting.
2 – 2.5 hours of Paddle time.
Plenty of car parking is available for guests. Except Saturdays can be very busy.
PRICING INCLUDES A $20 NON-REFUNDABLE BOOKING FEE. 15% gratuity and 5% Point Reyes National Seashore fee is included in the ticket price.
Bioluminescence is a naturally occurring phenomenon and we cannot guarantee that you will see Bioluminescence.
We schedule these trips during the most ideal viewing conditions.
Bioluminescence in Tomales Bay is virtually impossible to capture on film, most of the white-blue fluorescent photos seen here where not taken in Tomales Bay.