Our team

Families have a shared purpose, and so it is at Eagle Wing Tours: not only do we strive 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 Tours is proud to rely on word of mouth and customer referrals (see our number one rating on Trip Advisor) 12 years in a row! Each and every guest is a VIP and 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!

Eagle Wing Tours is committed to providing a supportive, safe and welcoming environment that ensures respect and dignity for all employees and guests. Please see our Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations from guests to help us meet our high standard of service.

Enjoy the best.

Staff

Don

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Don

Co-owner / Maintenance

Don is co-owner of Eagle Wing Tours and a talented jack-of-all-trades. He has owned previous businesses, but switched gears after he went on a whale watching tour years ago and knew he wanted to be part of the whale and wildlife watching community. Don also has a keen mechanical mind —he helped design and build our vessels, and along with Hung is our go-to guy for maintenance and repair. Don was born and raised in Victoria and has always had a passion for being on the ocean. He has many memories as a child of going fishing, sailing and camping with his family. He’s married to another Eagle Winger (Sandra) and has two children, Lauren (Eagle Winger) and Shane. He enjoys riding bikes, golfing, curling and being with his family and friends. He’s a very social person with a huge, kind heart. Don leads our company with his business partner Brett, working hard to protect the Salish Sea for generations to come—while giving our guests the thrill of a lifetime!

Captain

Rod

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Rod

Captain / Naturalist

When it comes to running whale watching tours around Vancouver Island, Captain Rod is local knowledge. Rod was born and raised in Victoria and has spent most of that time on the water, from floating on logs and playing in the tides as a young boy to fishing and sailing. He’s circumnavigated Vancouver Island, sailed across the Atlantic, run icebreakers through the Northwest Passage, run BC Ferries ships through Active Pass and the Gulf Islands, worked on tugboats from Newfoundland to Wisconsin, and back and forth on the St. Lawrence Seaway. He’s also trained as an oil spill technician and is always on watch in case of an emergency on our coastline. He currently works as an ecoguardian at Race Rocks Ecological Reserve maintaining generators and solar panels, testing water salinity, monitoring the surveillance systems, and enjoying the surrounding marine life. Rod continues to be an industry protector of whales and has a deep love of the local area, and a lifelong respect for whales, birds and nature. He’s sure to entertain and educate you!

Captain

Brett

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Brett

Co-owner / Lead Captain / Naturalist

Born and raised in Victoria, Brett is co-owner of Eagle Wing Tours and our lead captain with more than 24 years of experience within the whale watching industry. Brett brings award-winning hospitality experience, a creative artistic background, and a Crocodile Hunter-like enthusiasm to his job. His big heart and trademark smile will infect everyone aboard—and the jokes aren’t half bad either! When other captains are turning back for the harbour, he’s going the extra mile (or many) as he paints the larger picture of the Salish Sea ecosystem and makes sure that every guest has expectations exceeded. Brett has a boundless passion for the ocean and its wildlife, a strong belief in the power of education, and an upbeat can-do attitude for real conservation action. He works hard to build relationships within the tourism industry, in the community and abroad, and serves as a board member on a number of organizations, including Destination Greater Victoria and the Pacific Whale Watch Association. He’s also president of the Wild 4 Whales Foundation. Join him on a tour and you’ll see first-hand that whale watching extends far beyond being just a livelihood for him—it’s a way of life!

Captain

Jeff

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Jeff

Captain

Jeff has over 18 years experience in the Victoria eco-tour industry and has logged close to 8,000 tours on the Salish Sea. That’s more than 17,000 hours of on the water experience !

He’s a university-educated biologist and has an extensive knowledge of the marine environment. He’s very passionate about what he does and share shares that enthusiasm on each and every tour. Go on one of his tours and you’ll be on “Jeff time” as he literally goes the extra mile so that you get a comprehensive and enriching experience. Over the years, he’s 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 pod, er, family. It’s a pleasure having Jeff in the Eagle Wing family!

Captain

Chris

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Chris

Captain / Naturalist

Chris’s love for the ocean started at the age of nine when he started surfing and acquired his LA County dive certificate. At 10 years-old he was inspired when he went on his first whale watching boat and touched a grey whale off of San Pedro (not recommended these days!). After high school he spent six years in the US Coast Guard performing search and rescue operations and a short stint as a lighthouse keeper in New Jersey. He moved back to Hawaii where for the next 20 years he inspired people from all over the world on snorkelling, diving, big game fishing and whale watching tours on Kauai’s Na Pali coast and the “forbidden island” of Ni’ihau. Chris is a worldly, animal loving, passionate, educated and informed whale geek who has provided many people with life long memories and experiences. We’re very fortunate to have “Five-O’” here in Victoria, working in the whale watching and tugboat industries. Join us and experience Chris’ unique blend of education and story-telling!

Captain

Tom

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Tom

Captain / Naturalist

Good ol’ Tom is a captain who has been there and done that. He’s one of the veteran drivers in the fleet and a born and raised Victoria boy. He worked for 35 years with the provincial government, land surveying and later, as environmental stewardship officer with the Ministry of Environment.. Tom has also served as unit leader with Oak Bay Sea Rescue and been whale watching since 2003. Tom is hard not to like—he has a comedic narrative and a sly wit that adds to his charm and nautical expertise! He says his best day at work was introducing his grandsons to the natural wonders of the Salish Sea! Oh, and on occasion, you may find him dancing as a host on the Queen Mary II… or maybe with the whales!

Naturalist

Derek

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Derek

Naturalist / Captain

Derek was born on Vancouver Island and spent his youth on the back roads, lakes and ocean in the region. Along with a lifetime of outdoor experience, he’s a graduate and a guest instructor the West Coast Adventure College. Fifteen years as a Certified Marine Naturalist in the Salish Sea has led Derek to realize his most enjoyable passion is sharing his wealth of knowledge and experiences directly with Eagle Wing guests “on the deck.” Many other marine certifications allow him to fill the roles of Second Captain and First Mate on our vessels as required. The off-season is split between time in the area, and time at his winter location in the tropics. A newly accepted position has Derek in the rotation to fulfil the role of eco-guardian at a local lighthouse and ecological reserve. Personal passions include fly-fishing, canoeing and flying kites.

Naturalist

Val

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Val

Communications Manager / Photographer / Naturalist

Val’s first encounter with a wild killer whale took place in 1986 when a large male known as Ruffles (J1) swam right under the small boat she was in. She was instantly smitten! Since then, she’s been in and around Victoria’s evolving whale watching industry, blending her skills and experience in writing and photography with a passion for whales and all things marine. Val is our Communications Manager and lead photographer, and writes many of our blogs and photo posts on social media. She’s one of our marine naturalists, has a biology degree and has almost 40 years of experience as a science writer and communications specialist. She’s written a booklet on whales, dolphins and porpoises of BC and hundreds of articles on BC’s killer whales. She spent several years volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium, where she worked with young harbour seals and sea lions. She’s one of few people on the planet who can say they’ve bottle-fed a Steller sea lion pup on their lap! Val loves nothing more than sharing British Columbia’s stunning marine environment and its wildlife with our guests and social media followers!

Captain

Peter

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Peter

Captain

Peter grew up in Victoria and started with Eagle Wing in 2014, working in the office. Since then, he’s worked in almost every role, including answering phones and emails, driving the shuttle van, doing maintenance work in the shipyard, training new marine staff, and driving boats. At one point he also took photos. In addition to his work at Eagle Wing, Peter also works for the Victoria Pilot Boat as an engineer and deckhand. When he’s not working, Peter can usually be found surfing, sailing, riding bikes or trying to escape winter in the tropics. When asked what keeps him coming back to Eagle Wing every year his answer is usually: “I get to have more fun and see more cool things in a week at work than most people do in a lifetime. And for some reason they pay me for it!”

Naturalist

Sydney

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Sydney

Marine Biologist

Sydney is a marine biologist whose studies have focused on marine ecology and conservation in the Pacific Northwest. Since joining Eagle Wing in 2014, Sydney has had the opportunity to explore many avenues of marine conservation and environmental stewardship. In the summer, she’s a marine naturalist, educating the public on the rich biodiversity of the Salish Sea. In the fall and winter, she leads our school outreach program (in partnership with School District 61 and the Royal BC Museum), inspiring local youth on the importance of the Salish Sea. Since it began in 2018, this innovative program has connected more than 2,200 local students with their big blue backyard. And Sydney has found her true passion—marine education, especially with the younger generations. “Connection to place is key in conservation and we build those connections through experiences,” she says. “With this deeper understanding, we inspire and empower them to protect the ocean in their everyday lives, and perhaps their future careers!”

Naturalist

Clint

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Clint

Photographer / Naturalist

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 skillset 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 years, and when not out on the water applies his considerable photography talents to land-based wildlife, notably grizzly bears in northern BC. Clint is always excited to share his knowledge of Vancouver Island, whales and the Salish Sea with passengers!

Staff

Selena

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Selena

Office Manager

Having worked in all aspects of the hospitality and tourism field, Selena’s passion for guest services is her main priority! She’s lived and travelled to many destinations around the world, and that has helped her understand the needs of guests from different backgrounds and countries. Her priority is to ensure that their time with Eagle Wing Tours is the best possible experience! She always goes above and beyond to ensure that guests experience that “Wow” factor. With a diploma in hotel management under her belt, she decided to go one step further, getting a bachelor degree in science with a minor in hospitality and tourism management. Working at Eagle Wing is a perfect mix for her passion for nature, being outside and being on the water!

Staff

Mika

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Mika

Social Sustainability Manager / Marine Biologist

Mika is a marine biologist with over 13 years of commercial experience in the Salish Sea. Her field experience includes Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, where she enjoyed spending her days with penguins, seals, and of course, whales. She has experience working in animal welfare and behaviour with the BC SPCA, as well as wildlife rehabilitation around the world. Having accidentally fallen into ecotourism, Mika was inspired by the effects that guided wildlife trips could have on people. “Introducing guests to the natural world around them and teaching them how they can make a difference through informed decisions helps to create passionate advocates of the world’s oceans and helps drive positive change for conservation,” she says. We couldn’t agree more! Mika conducted her post-graduate research on southern resident killer whales and has a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Environment and Management.

Staff

Rachel

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Rachel

Reservations Manager

As co-owner Brett’s wife, one of Rachel’s main jobs is to keep him in line. Somebody has to! Rachel is a professional wife and mom (of four kids, if you include Brett) who also multitasks by managing Eagle Wing’s reservation software system, does the company’s bookkeeping, and administers the payroll. In other words, she makes sure that the administrative components of our company are ship-shape and running smoothly. Rachel’s many behind-the-scenes contributions ensure that our guests are able to experience an unforgettable Salish Sea adventure!

Staff

Nathan

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Nathan

General Manager

Nathan brings with him more than 25 years experience in tourism. A graduate of Camosun College’s Tourism Program as the top student, he’s currently enrolled in the Master’s Program for Tourism Management at Royal Roads University. Nathan loves to learn and relate his knowledge to his staff and guests. Nathan joined Eagle Wing from the Fairmont brand where he learned about exceeding guest expectations at every level of service. He brings a passion for guest service, an experience-centric approach and a high level of professionalism to one of Victoria’s #1 attractions as we continue to grow and strive for excellence. We’re excited to have him on board!

Naturalist

Karac

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Karac

Naturalist / Photographer

Karac is an environmental technology graduate with a passion for understanding the biological world. His enthusiasm for wildlife began at a young age, resulting in many unwanted house guests for his direct family members, including butterflies, snakes and birds. This curiosity toward nature eventually led him to a career in environmental science, where he felt he could make a difference in the lives of many species indigenous to British Columbia. Since moving to Vancouver Island from Alberta, he’s become an avid scuba diver, and will find any excuse to be outside enjoying the numerous organisms that make this ecosystem so unique!

Captain

Russ

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Russ

Captain / Naturalist

Russ has been a captain and wildlife guide on southern Vancouver Island since 2007. He’s always been passionate about the wildlife, ecosystems and history of the Salish Sea. In the winter he mixes things up a bit by working down in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia Island as an expedition guide. Ask him how many photos of penguins he has! Prior to guiding, Russ worked as a firefighter and paramedic in the southern US before moving back to Canada to join the Coast Guard Marine Search and Rescue team. He’s been active in several conservation groups over the years, including salmon enhancement projects and beach cleanups. Russ loves adventure and has an uncanny knack for finding whales. He’s known for his witty commentary and enthusiasm, which is why guests on his tours are in for an epic experience!

Naturalist

Mel

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Mel

Naturalist

Mel has loved animals since she was a little girl. Growing up just outside Toronto, she started working with and learning from horses. This led her to 10 years of experience as a horseback guide in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Botswana. She’s logged thousands of hours in the saddle leading and educating guests through national parks and game reserves worldwide. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology as well as Animal Biology, Mel followed her passion and moved to Victoria to pursue a career on the ocean with her favorite animal, the humpback whale. As one of our amazing marine naturalists, she uses the powerful platform of ecotourism to educate the public on the importance of our big blue backyard. On each tour, she hopes guests experience that “magical moment” which will inspire them to save and protect the oceans!

Naturalist

Jane

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Jane

Naturalist / Photographer

Originally from Ireland, Jane is a qualified veterinary nurse who has a passion for nature and animals alike. Her main interests lie in animal biology, behaviour and ecology. Jane combines her two passions—working in the veterinary environment and as a naturalist and deckhand at Eagle Wing Tours. Being a marine naturalist has been a lifelong ambition. After getting a taste of this role guiding snorkel tours in the frigid Arctic waters of Norway she decided to move to Canada to further pursue her dream career. Jane has a BSc in Communication Studies and has a keen interest in photography. She can usually be found on her days off hiking around Vancouver Island with her camera and binoculars in hand. Jane thrives on meeting new people from around the world and welcomes every opportunity to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for wildlife. Jane is currently training to become a boat captain!

Naturalist

Sierra

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Sierra

Naturalist

Growing up on Vancouver Island, Sierra made a deep connection with the outdoors. In her spare time, when she’s not on the beach looking for whales, she can be found hiking along the Juan De Fuca Trail or practicing yoga as a certified instructor. At a young age, Sierra went on her very first whale watching trip in Maui and witnessed a humpback whale and her calf breaching side-by-side. Feeling impassioned from this encounter, she soon after went snorkeling and heard humpback whales vocalizing for the first time! These events inspired her and blossomed into a deep love for the ocean—especially for humpback whales—and greatly influenced her career path. Sierra loves to talk to guests about the rich history and biodiversity of the Salish Sea. Through these experiences, she hopes to foster a deeper connection and passion for our beautiful blue backyard. Sierra completed the Level II Adventure Tourism Program at West Coast Adventure College and started her career at Eagle Wing in 2017 as a naturalist. She’s now a captain-in-training and pursuing her goal to receive her 60-ton ticket!

Naturalist

Meaghan

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Meaghan

Naturalist

Growing up in landlocked Alberta, Meaghan found her true calling for the ocean when she started travelling, and especially through scuba diving. She spent many years working overseas as a certified Dive Master, conducting research and giving educational programs on coral reefs (her first true love!). Witnessing multiple ecosystems interacting in a foreign world helped shape the rest of her life. She formally studied Marine and Coastal Ecology, while contributing to multiple conservation initiatives on and under the water. Meaghan is one of the lead program coordinators for our innovative “Exploring the Salish Sea” education program. Three years ago, she bought her own sailboat, Spyhop. She had zero knowledge of sailing at the time, but has grown to love the lifestyle and the deep feeling of connection to the sea it embodies. She recently started her own green business, Salt Legacy, which contributes to the circular economy by collecting worn-out sails from sailboats that would otherwise be heading for the landfill. They’re then upcycled into new West Coast-inspired gear!