Article Update: As of 2019, Orchid Outriggers is no longer offering waterborne tours of the back bay. Looks like you’ll have to head over to Morro Bay State Park instead and see it the old-fashioned way, in rented kayak. Still a ton of fun.
There are two great things that stand out for me as a resident of San Luis Obispo. The first is the incredible natural diversity in the county, and the other is the caliber of the people who live and love the landscape. One evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Mike, one of the gentlemen involved with Orchid Outriggers, a company out of Los Osos that offers tours of the coast by outrigger canoe.
What began as a short mention of the wildlife in our backyards became a long conversation over the variety of species that can be seen from the boats, how to identify birds in mid-air, and how it was much easier to photograph animals from the stability and comfort of the outrigger. A printer by trade, he and his fellow boaters take the time and effort to pick up trash from the estuaries, cleaning and caring for the ecosystems they love.
Tours go through the Morro Bay Estuary and are led by naturalists and birders with years of experience under their belts. Gliding through the water with a view of Morro Rock, tons of feathery friends, and the entire coastline, the experience is one that will be remembered for lifetime. The outriggers themselves are 17-4 Koholu’a boats which are small composites of Hawaiian canoes. The modern incarnation of a design refined over hundreds of years are sturdy, fast, and easily maneuverable. No wetsuit is needed for the ride, as the boats are dry and large enough to stow a good amount of gear.
You don’t have to be a tourist to take advantage of the gorgeous place in which we live and make good connections with the locals. Go explore your backyard with some wonderful neighbors with Orchid Outriggers!