Eagle Wing Staff and Family:
Brett and Rachel Soberg co-own and run Eagle Wing Tours and consider the entire Eagle Wing Team to be a family. Families have shared purpose and so it is at Eagle Wing; not only do we strive together to create a successful and flourishing business but we also work to become strong advocates on behalf of the (sometimes endangered) wildlife that we encounter.
Without pushing an agenda we discuss with guests the challenges wildlife faces, the issues at play and the strategies for success that we and other stakeholders have discovered.
Eagle Wing is proud to rely on word of mouth and customer referrals (see our number one rating at Trip Adviser 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) for the majority of our business. Each and every guest is a VIP considered to be a source for future business and a person with the potential to help change the future of endangered species and ecosystems.
Come share in the purpose that the Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours family lives every day! Enjoy the best whale watching on Vancouver Island today!
The Captains & Crew: A.K.A "Whale geeks!"
Brett Soberg (aka "Critter") - Lead Captain & Owner
Born and raised in Victoria, Brett is our head captain, general manager and the co-owner of Eagle Wing Tours. Brett has over 16 years of experience on local waters and 13 years operating within the whale watching industry in Victoria. Brett has followed his heart when it comes to his daily work and it shows; he still exhibits the enthusiasm that brought him here.
In addition to his on the water skills he brings a very creative artistic background, 8 years of Hotel Hospitality (6 years at the prestigious Delta Ocean Pointe Resort & winner of the prestigious Hospitality Award), and a Crocodile Hunter-like enthusiasm.
Brett's adventures are a thrilling, captivating experience. One part display of skill behind the wheel on one of the world's fastest and most maneuverable boats and another part educational safari, Brett's trademark smile will infect everyone aboard. The jokes aren't half bad either.
When other captains are turning back for the harbour Brett is going the extra mile (or many) as he tries to paint the larger picture of our ecosystem and make sure that every guest has had his or her expectations exceeded.
Your marine experience will be unforgettable! Brett is a colourful character who prides himself on detail and being able to provide more than simply just a look at the whales. He passionately believes that there is educational merit to all of his tours, and you will see first hand that whale-watching extends far beyond being just a livelihood to him; it is his way of life.
PS. See if you can catch Brett saying his favorite word…'critters'! (Hee, Hee)
Jeff Lamarche - Captain / Biologist
Jeff, formally of Seafun Safaris, is one of Victoria’s premier Whale Watching captain’s with over 17 years experience in the Victoria eco-tour industry. Jeff has logged close to 5,500 tours on the Salish Sea equating to over 15,000 hrs. on the water experience !! Jeff is a university-educated Biologist and has an extensive knowledge of the marine environment.
Over the years, Jeff has gotten to know the Southern Resident Killer Whales (J,K&L Pods) personally and is able to identify the whales on sight through memory alone. Jeff is very passionate about what he does and shares his enthusiasm during each and every tour. His trips often go over the allotted tour time as he literally goes the extra mile so that his passengers get a comprehensive & enriching experience. To add to the total trip experience, Jeff will not only introduce you to the whales, but also all the other wildlife (Seals, Sea Lions, Porpoises, Bald Eagles, Otters and other marine birds). Jeff prides himself on attention to detail and is always striving to provide the “perfect trip” to far exceed the guests expectations.
Over the years, Jeff has been nominated countless times for service excellence in Whale Watching by the Victoria Hospitality Society. His passions include mountain climbing, adventure backpacking, offshore sailboat racing, scuba diving and spending time with his own J-pod (his three kids - Justin, Jesse and Julianna).
It is a pleasure to have Jeff as part of the Eagle Wing family as he brings extensive knowledge, passion & a playful narrative.
Chris Mellett - Captain/ NaturalistChris has been fascinated by whales and other amazing marine wildlife from an early age, while growing up on the Northern Coast of Vancouver Island. His passion and knowledge of sea life extends beyond the amazing "critters" we see on the surface, but also those found underwater. As a PADI Dive Master, Chris has led thousands of divers to local dive sites and also to secret reefs in Mexico, where he lived for four years. Chris is a graduate of the University of Victoria School of Business with a specialization in green business practices. In his spare time, Chris volunteers with the Coast Guard Auxiliary to help rescue boaters in distress.
Vanessa - Naturalist
Vanessa has graced Eagle Wing with her kind and friendly spirit since 2005. Vanessa is passionate, playful, dynamic, and extremely knowledgeable. As a native Victorian Vanessa exudes a strong connection to her surroundings and is uniquely able to pass it on to guests of all ages. Vanessa's abilities are utilized in many ways with us at Eagle Wing and she is a very highly valued family member. We trust that you too will come to appreciate the passionate conservationist, effective educator and brilliant hostess who has become intrinsic to Eagle Wing's reputation as a first class adventure company. We look forward to having Vanessa working with us again in 2011 and thank her for many years of brilliant service to our guests.
Ly - Naturalist / Customer Service
Every once and a while you come across and are blessed with knowing, befriending, and working with a person like Ly. She exudes a quite calm caring energy about her and this comes across in spades on her tours as well as in the office. A native of Vietnam, and raised in the Netherlands she speaks fluent Dutch which can catch you a bit off guard. Nonetheless, her knowledge and passion about all living things in the Salish Sea is very evident. Now living in Victoria with her sweetheart Chris, another fellow whale geek, they are about to embark on their own adventure by becoming parents---->creating their own little pod (family) with Ly expecting her first child. YEAH!!!!!!
UPDATE, Ly gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Aquafina. SHE IS A CUTIE! Mom and baby are doing well. Our thoughts are with Ly & (husband) Chris who are now in the Netherlands...rumour has it they may be back to Canada this Spring...here is keeping our fingers crossed.
Lana - Customer Service / Naturalist
Not only is this amazing individual 'technically qualified' to be a part of the Eagle Wing Team she has the most amazing personality. Along the journey we call life you encounter many people from all walks of life. Lana is one of those 'old souls' whom exudes what seems to be a limitless amount of positive energy and wisdom. WOW! Professional trained as a paramedic you can see why she gravitated to being a paramedic. Her unconditional sense of wishing to help others, her bottomless energy & when complimented with her passion for the whales and other wildlife is refreshing and infectious. Lana is fun, nurturing, educational, & a very well balanced person who directly influences our daily operations. In short Eagle Wing becomes a better place.
Ashley- Customer Service / Asst. Manager
Well 'cuz'...Ashley is cousin to Brett, the owner of Eagle Wing Tours, and has worked for the past two seasons with Eagle Wing in 2009, 2010 with much anticipation of returning for 2011. With the completion of her Business marketing degree from Camosun College in Victoria this spring she brings to the team a cheerful disposition and the personable, 'familial' level of customer service that guests (people who are an extension of our Eagle Wing Family) enjoy. She has an uncanny means of making you feel at home. We look forward to promoting Ashley to the assistant manager's position this season working well with Wayne covering the operations of home base. Together they make a great team!
Danny - Naturalist / Customer Service
Wow, what a catch. Danny is about as motivated and as eager as they come...we are very fortunate to have someone who eats, sleeps, breathes and lives all that is whales! Also from the Netherlands Danny has a keen interest in a long term future in eco-tourism, whale watching specifically. Speaking the native tongue from the Netherlands he can clearly articulate the details of a tour to our guests. Holding down the fort as they say Danny brings a delightful sense of humour, knowledge, and a cheerful disposition every day. Welcome aboard Danny!
Val Shore - Naturalist & company photographer
With her B.A. in biology; 30 years of editing, writing and public relations experience with an emphasis on science/research, she joined the University of Victoria Communications department in September 1998. But taking photos is her real passion. Photography of wild animals or birds is nothing short of challenging. You place these wild animals in the water, like a fast moving, hydro-dynamically designed whale whom slips through the water effortlessly, and VOILA you usually end up with an incredible photo of ........water?!?!?! Val is truly skilled and is able to capture those 'wonderful moments' that occur out on our tours with great regularity. Recently certified in Marine Emergency Duties she was able to crew on our larger boat on occasion when needed, but in the meantime joins along with us continuing to 'freeze frame' Orca breaching, spy-hopping, playing, breeding, tail lobbing, resting, etc. Val is a true asset and loves to share her worldly experiences; whether it be about her encounters with Blue Whales in the South Pacific, or casual conversations with Jane Goodall...incredible!
Wayne Nowak- Office Manager / Management Consultant
Wayne Nowak has been in the travel and tourism industry for over 35 years in Alberta, BC & NWT. He has owned and operated a major U-Drive franchise in the Alberta Rockies as well as one of Calgary’s top corporate travel agencies including handling the travel for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee and an outdoor adventure company in the Rockies offering hiking, heli-hiking and golf packages.
His experience is extensive to say the least (feel free to see his 'Linked In' profile). Most recently he was the base manager for Hyack Air Victoria – agents for Kenmore Air Floatplane service out of Seattle. During the summer of 2010, he served as a management consultant and office manager for us at Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours operating at Fisherman's Wharf in Victoria - a top rated whale watching company as shown on Trip Advisor. He presently is the Managing Director and Marketing Specialist at Maxx Communications Victoria BC which is responsible for providing consulting and project management services for the new Prestige Oceanfront Resort & Conference Centre in Sooke which is scheduled to open this Spring 2011.
With respect and appreciation for all of your hard work thank you everyone...
Jeff, Dave, Vanessa, Ly, Lana, Val, Danny, Ashley & Wayne...for an incredible season!
"Inspiring the conservation of our marine environment, with a thrill!"