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, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) 10 Years in a row!!! 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.
Born and raised in Victoria, I am head captain, general manager and the co-owner of Eagle Wing Tours. I have
over 18 years operating within the whale watching industry in Victoria. I have followed my heart when it comes to daily work and it shows; I still exhibit the enthusiasm that brought me here. In addition to my on the water skills I bring 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.
My 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, my trademark smile will infect everyone aboard. The jokes aren’t half bad either. When other captains are turning back for the harbour, I am going the extra mile (or many) as I try 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! I am a colourful character who prides himself on detail and being able to provide more than simply just a look at the whales. I passionately believe that there is educational merit to all of my tours, and you will see first hand that whale watching extends far beyond being just a livelihood to me; it is my way of life. PS. See if you can catch me saying my favorite word… ’critters’! (LOL)
When it comes to running whale watching tours around Vancouver Island., Captain Rod King islocal knowledge. Rod is born and raised in Victoria and has spent most of that time on the water from floating on logs and playing the tides as a young boy to fishing and sailing. Rod has circumnavigated Vancouver Island, sailed across the Atlantic, run icebreakers through the North West passage, run BC Ferries’ large ships through Active Pass and our Gulf Islands. He has worked on tugs from Newfoundland to Wisconsin and back and forth on the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Rod works as an oil spill technician and is on watch, in the case of an emergency on our coast line. Rod works with divers in the commercial sea urchin and cucumber fishery and has raced sailboats in several Swiftsure races. Rod is past owner of a whale watching company and designed Zodiac whale watching boats that have become the industry’s standard. Rod is past vice president of the Whale Watching Association Northwest several years running and stood up to protect whales from been hunted on the American coast line. Rod continues to be a lead captain in the industry protector of whales and has a love of the local area, his lifelong fascination and respect for whales, birds and nature, observing them for over twenty years. Is sure to entertain and educate you.
I am, formally of Seafun Safaris, one of Victoria’s premier whale watching captains with over 18 years experience in the Victoria eco-tour industry. I have logged close to 8,000 tours on the Salish Sea equating to over 17,000 hrs. on the water experience !! I am a university-educated biologist and have an extensive knowledge of the marine environment.
Over the years, I have gotten to know the Southern Resident Killer Whales (J, K & L Pods) personally and am able to identify the whales on sight through memory alone. I am very passionate about what I do and share my enthusiasm during each and every tour. My trips often go over the allotted tour time as I literally go the extra mile so that my passengers get a comprehensive & enriching experience. To add to the total trip experience, I will not only introduce you to the whales, but also all the other wildlife (seals, sea lions, porpoises,eagles, otters and other marine birds). I pride myself on attention to detail and am always striving to provide the “perfect trip” to far exceed the guests’ expectations. Over the years, I have been nominated countless times for service excellence in whale watching by theVictoria Hospitality Society. My passions include mountain climbing, adventure backpacking, offshore sailboat racing, scuba diving and spending time with my own J-pod (his three kids – Justin, Jesse and Julianna). It is a pleasure being a part of the Eagle Wing family as I enjoy bringing extensive knowledge, passion & a playful narrative to the tours.
Chris’ love for the ocean started at the young age of 9 when he started surfing and acquired his LA County dive certificate. At 10 years old he was inspired after he went on his first whale watching boat and was able to touch a Grey whale off of San Pedro. After High School he spent 6 years in the US Coast Guard performing search and rescue operations in Manasquan NJ and a short stint as a lighthouse keeper at West Bank light NJ. He moved back to Hawaii after the Coast Guard where for the next 20 years he inspired people from all over the world by performing snorkeling, diving, big game fishing and whale watching tours on Kauai’s Na Pali coast and the “forbidden island” of Ni’ihau. His last 4 years in Kauai was spent working with Robin Baird from Cascadia Research Collective taking photo id’s of the varied marine mammals around Kauai’s waters. His efforts resulted in contributing one catalog paper on the marine mammals of Niihau and Kauai which was published with the Hawaii Audubon Societies journal Elepaio.
In short, Chris is a worldly, animal loving, passionate, educated & informed whale geek who has undoubtedly provided many people with life long memories and experiences. We at Eagle Wing are very fortunate to have ‘Five-O’ living in Victoria on Vancouver Island for the past 4 yrs, working in the whale watching industry and tugboat industry. Come drop us a line and come out and experience Chris’ unique flavour for education and story telling.
With over twenty five years at sea 40+ trans Atlantics and numerous deliveries worldwide from the Mediterranean, to the Baltic, the Caribbean and more, Dale is the man. From little zodiacs to Tall Ships, Dale has been the captain of high performance racing yachts and delivery skipper of mega yachts power and sail. His passion for the ocean is endless and having him as your captain will really make your day. And don’t let the long hair and unruly moustache fool you. He is a professional with amazing knowledge, stories and a fun guy to have on board.
Casey started working as first a naturalist then captain in Victoria 14 years ago, drawn by a passion for the ocean and all things marine. Her on-the-water work experience includes, among other things, stints in the Naval reserve, working as a fisheries observer, kayak guiding, and leading First Nations canoe tours.
Originally from Ontario, she studied geology at the University of Waterloo. When she moved to the coast she returned to school shifting her studies more ocean-ward. Many years later, Casey now holds a doctorate from the University of Victoria’s School of Earth and Ocean Science. She describes her research area as “studying the geochemistry of mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal vents”. To her mind, this was the perfect research area for a geologist who can’t stay out of the ocean. Casey now spends her winter months teaching Earth and Environmental Science at Royal Roads University and Vancouver Island University. Her favourite kind of teaching is in the field, whether it is showing students rock formations or stream erosion, or answering questions and sharing information on the deck of a whale watching boat.
When she is not teaching or driving boats she can be found volunteering with environmental education and stewardship initiatives, or hiking and exploring Vancouver Island with her dogs.
Good Ol’ Tom is a captain who has been there and done that. He is one of the ‘oldest’ drivers in the fleet and a born and raised Victoria boy. He has worked 35 years with the provincial government, land surveying and later, environmental stewardship officer with Ministry of Environment..
Also to his credit, Tom has served as unit leader with Oak Bay Sea Rescue, been whale watching since 2003 (over 10 years). Tom is hard not to like….he has a comedic narrative that adds to his charm and nautical expertise:)
He recently has proclaimed that his best day at work was being able to introduce his grandsons to the natural wonders of the Salish Sea–Super cool!
Oh, and on occasion, you may find him dancing as a host on the Queen Mary II…or maybe with the whales LOL!
Derek (aka D-Rock) was born on Vancouver Island and spent his youth on the back roads, lakes and ocean around the area. By his teens, he was working as a wilderness and ocean canoe guide, as well as a fishing guide out on the west coast of the island. Favorite trips at the time were the West Coast Trail, and canoeing the Broken Group, Tofino area and Hot Springs Cove.
“Life” and family moved him to the interior, with new opportunities for fly fishing, hiking and camping. During this time, a career in photography retail transformed into a full time passion as a professional photographer.
Moving back to the island in 2001, Derek added to his ongoing love of the ocean by certifying up to the level of Rescue Diver as a scuba diver. Following this, certifications followed as a 60ton Limited Master marine Captain, a Restricted Engineer and as a University of Victoria Certified Marine Naturalist.
Work in the Whale Watching industry has also been paralleled with certifications as Kayak guide and completion of a Level II Adventure Tourism program at the West Coast Adventure College – a private college where Derek now guest teaches. Living on a sailboat in downtown Victoria just rounds out the whole package! Plans for the upcoming off seasons includes volunteer work at an animal rehabilitation center in Belize and planned sailing in the Sea of Cortez!
Val’s first encounter with a wild killer whale took place in 1986 off Saturna Island near Victoria when a large male known as “Ruffles” swam right under the small boat she was in. She was instantly and incurably smitten! Since then, she has been in and around Victoria’s evolving whale watching industry, blending her skills and experience in communication and photography with an all-consuming passion for whales and all things marine.
Val is certified in Marine Emergency Duties, has a biology degree, works as a science-writer with the University of Victoria, and for many years has been a freelance writer/editor in a very specialized niche area—whales and marine conservation in the northeast Pacific. Her many writing accomplishments include a booklet on whales, dolphins and porpoises of BC and hundreds of articles on BC’s killer whales. She is meticulous with her facts and enjoys talking to whale researchers in BC, Washington State and around the world to get the latest knowledge to pass on to passengers. She also spent many years volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium, where she worked with young harbour seals and sea lions. In fact, she’s one of few people on the planet who can say they bottle-fed a Steller sea lion pup on their lap!
She’s also very skilled with a camera (it’s an essential appendage for her on trips!) and is able to capture those “wonderful moments” that occur on our tours with great regularity. Val’s experience and infectious enthusiasm make her a true asset to the Eagle Wing family, and she loves nothing more than sharing British Columbia’s stunning marine environment and its wildlife with our passengers!
I was born in Calgary, Alberta but moved to the West Coast at the young age of one. Growing up on Vancouver Island and spending summers on Hornby Island in the Gulf Islands fostered a powerful connection to the ocean and all the cool creatures in it. After completing a couple years of business school, I transferred to the West Coast Adventure College and completed a Level II Adventure Guide Certificate. I’m now living the dream working around whales with Eagle Wing and guiding kayak tours in the Victoria area, I’ve also spent 20 years in and around Victoria and love to talk about it.
From seaweed to barnacles, whales to sharks, my passion extends to every part of our oceans. I have recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, focusing on marine ecology and conservation. Future research will involve the ecology of transient killer whales and ecological interactions between predator and prey relationships. I am also interested in the complexity and productivity of kelp forest ecosystems. I am honoured to work for Eagle Wing tours. I love the environmental and sustainable aspects of this company such as the donations made to the Center for Whale Research and 1% for the Planet. This company supports my passions and has opened up many opportunities for me such as meeting Ken Balcomb, executive director and principal investigator for The Center for Whale Research. Further, this company is allowing me to pursue research. This gives me the opportunity to teach individuals how valuable and important our oceans are. My goal as a naturalist is to educate future generations and get them excited about barnacles, kelp and all sorts of marine mammals. I could not ask for a better opportunity and I am immensely proud to be a part of this team.
Corinne has been a whale watching naturalist for 4 summers and loves learning how to photo ID our southern resident killer whales. She has a wildlife rehabilitation background and has her veterinary assistant diploma. Her speciality is working with birds of prey. Originally from Edmonton Alberta she grew up spending most of her time skating at West Edmonton mall. At the time they also had dolphins at the aquarium and she would spend her breaks watching them and that is where her obsession with cetaceans began. She has spent lots of time travelling the world and loves talking to our tourists. Now she loves viewing and learning about all our wildlife on the coast where they can be free.
Clint was born on Vancouver Island and has always had an affinity for the ocean and wildlife. Hiking the beaches of Vancouver Island and enjoying all the West Coast has to offer sparked his passion for adventure. Following his service in military search and rescue on Vancouver Island, Clint added wildlife photography to his skill set and became an incurable killer whale addict and advocate for the diverse ecosystems of the Salish Sea. He’s been in and around the Victoria whale watching industry for seven years, and when not out on the water applies his considerable photography talents to land-based wildlife, notably grizzly bears in northern BC in the late summer. Clint is always excited to share his knowledge of Vancouver Island, whales and the Salish Sea with passengers.
I was born and raised on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in a small remote fishing village. By growing up in this community, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by the incredible wildlife that Vancouver Island has to offer. This included everything from Rock Crabs to Killer Whales! From tide pools to the open water, my love for the ocean has continued to grow over the years. This love and respect for the ocean and wildlife is what has led me to study Coastal and Environmental Geography at the University of Victoria in hopes of being able to conserve the environment. I have particularly taken interests in studying Pacific Salmon and their key role in the Pacific Northwest ecosystem. Working with Eagle Wing has been the greatest pleasure because they share the same passions as I do about conservation and sustainability. I have always had a life long passion for whales and take great pride in showing people these incredible and beautiful mammals in their natural environment.
Dylan Collins grew up in Seattle and has spent much of his life outdoors from kayaking to backpacking. He is currently studying Environmental Geography at the University of Victoria. Dylan has always had a love for animals on both land and sea and one day hopes to become a wildlife biologist. From wolves to whales, his passion for wildlife, conservation and sustainability has lead him to love working with Eagle Wing Tours. On his days off he enjoys exploring the outdoors and wildlife photography.
Sammy is native to the Pacific Northwest and moved from Seattle to attend the University of Victoria a little over 2 years ago. This West Coast girl has had a passion for all things ‘ocean’ for as long as she can remember. Her adoration for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals cultivated after being exposed to captive whales at a young age. From that moment forward, her life goal was to become a dolphin trainer. Spending a week at a marine mammal park for career camp was enough to trigger a change of heart. Since then, she has educated herself on captivity’s detrimental physical and psychological effects on these creatures and now lives to educate the public and inspire them to do all they can to help marine mammals thrive in the wild. Eagle Wing has given her the opportunity to have a voice and inspire conservation of the marine environment so future generations are just as lucky as we are to experience these majestic creatures in their natural habitat, and for that she is forever grateful!
Lauren grew up on Vancouver Island and has been interested in whales, sharks, sea turtles and sea creatures of all kinds since she was a child. An avid hiker, she’s been enjoying exploring Victoria’s parks and scenery in her spare time since moving here three years ago. A student at UVic, she is completing the final year of her undergrad as a geography major and anthropology minor with a focus on the human/nature connection and development studies. Post-undergrad she is hoping to bridge the connection of humans and nature, working on ecological tourism that Eagle Wings is an advocate of.
A born-and-raised Westcoaster, Natalie is never happier than when she’s on the water looking for whales. Degrees in biology and education were just the jumping off point for her lifelong love of nature and learning. A dedicated advocate for the ocean and its inhabitants Natalie’s professional career has focused on teaching students and adults about marine life and conservation issues, both in the classroom and on the water. A passion for travel has lead her to work as an educator on Vancouver Island, a commercial boat operator and lecturer in Antarctica, and a glacier guide in New Zealand. As a part of the Eagle Wing Tours management team Natalie gets to indulge in all of her favourite things — working on the water, looking for wildlife, and sharing the wonders of the West Coast with visitors!
Andrea Farkas enthusiastically joined Eagle Wing Tours in May 2015 as Guest Service Supervisor and moved into the position of Office Manager over the shoulder season. Coming to us with an extensive Guest Service oriented background and team building approach, she is proud to share that she feels more grounded on water than ground so she is thankful her office is floating! Whenever she’s finished providing our guests with their awesome Whale experience, she herself is located on a boat taking in the sightings and learning about the wonderful things our Salish Sea has to offer; in other words… ”whale nerding out”
Having worked in all aspects of the hospitality and tourism field, my passion for guest services is my main priority! Having lived and travelled to many destinations around the world, it has allowed me to not only understand the needs and desires of guests from different backgrounds and countries, but also to ensure that their time with us is the best possible experience! I am happy to go above and beyond to ensure that guests experience that “WOW” factor. Having a diploma in Hotel Management, I decided to further my education, getting a Bachelors Degree in Science with a minor in Hospitality & Tourism Management. Working at Eagle Wing Tours is a perfect mix for my passion of nature, being outside and on the water, and being able to meet people from all over the world to show them the best Whale & Wild Life tours that Victoria has to offer!
Mika Ogilvie is a marine biologist with a wide range of travel and work experience, including training guide dogs and rehabilitating injured wildlife in Canada, South Africa and Belize, and supervising animal management and welfare in 37 BC SPCA shelters across the province. Since 2008, she has spent her seasons alternating between working as a first mate on whale-watching boats in Victoria and working on expedition ships in Antarctica, introducing people to the natural world around them and teaching them how they can make a difference through informed decisions. Mika is passionate about conservation and is a firm believer in the saying “we only save what we love, and we only love what we know,” which is why ecotourism and guided wildlife trips are so important. Mika started her B.Sc. in Biology in Johannesburg, South Africa, and completed her degree at the University of Victoria. She is currently in the process of finishing her M.Sc. in Environment and Management at Royal Roads University.
My very first boating experience, I was 2 weeks old. My parents have always sailed and I was very fortunate to grow up on the water. We spent every free moment during the spring/summer on the boat. We took long memorable trips all over the great lakes and our local Ontario lake “Lake Simcoe”. The water to me, fresh or salted has always been where I feel at home. There is something about being out on the water, the beauty, the unpredictability that makes it magical. I have been in the hospitality industry for 13 years and have always worked very closely with Eagle Wing Tours. Managing a successful B&B in Victoria, it was always important for me to send my guests to the best. That is why now I am fortunate enough to be a part of the Eagle Wing Team! I look forward to every minute of my day there:) I feel very fortunate to live where I do and work for a company I respect, admire, and love :)
Wayne Nowak has been in the travel and tourism industry for over 35 years in Alberta, BC & NWT. He has owned and operated the Budget Rent a Car franchise in the Alberta Rockies as well as Action Travel one of Calgary’s top corporate travel agencies that looked after the travel for the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic Games Organizing Committee and Alberta Alpine Adventures – 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 ofSeattle and was an owner, Managing Director and Marketing Specialist at Maxx Communications. Since the summer of 2010, he served as a management consultant and office manager for us at Eagle Wing Whale Watching Tours.
Ok, lets be totally honest :) Rachel, Brett’s wife, surely does keep him in line LOL! Somebody has to? Rachel runs the ‘ship’ (office) and makes sure that our guests are able to experience a true Eagle Wing adventure.