Meet our team: naturalist and educator Sydney!

We know it’s the thrill of the whale and wildlife watching adventure that has you booking your first tour with Eagle Wing… but it’s our team members that have guests coming back again and again!

Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Tours has been taking guests out on the water to experience whale watching in Victoria for 20 years. Our staff are some of the most experienced and educated in the Salish Sea region, and are among the most passionate and engaging leaders in the industry.

Our naturalists work together to gather and communicate important information about the Salish Sea, including the natural history of its wildlife, how to identify species and (in some cases) individuals, conservation concerns and how you can help to make a difference.

Here’s a look at one of our whale and wildlife experts, Sydney McCabe.

What is your role at Eagle Wing?

I’m the senior marine biologist and leader of our education outreach program. I also get involved in our many community outreach projects!

Tell us in one or two sentences about your job.

My job is ever-changing. I’m a marine naturalist in the summer, educating the public on the diversity and richness of the Salish Sea. In the fall and winter, I lead our education outreach program, connecting and inspiring local youth on the ecological importance of the Salish Sea.

What did you do before you worked here?

Prior to coming to work here year-round, I was studying to become a marine biologist. I completed my BSc in marine biology at the University of Victoria.

 Sydney talking to local schoolchildren about the wonders of bull kelp.

Best thing about your job?

Providing a life-changing experience for people, especially children. Experiencing the Salish Sea first-hand helps them to feel like they’re a part of this natural ecosystem. The more they learn, the more connected they feel, and the more inspired they become to protect this amazing area. Together we explore how they can make a difference, and I love seeing the sense of pride they feel when they’re given the tools to become the next generation of ocean stewards.

Most unexpected part of your job?

I’ve found my passion at Eagle Wing Tours. I never thought I would want a career in education and tourism, but this job has given me an incredible platform to educate EVERYONE on the importance of the natural world, especially the Salish Sea.

Tell us the most magical/incredible/life-changing experience you’ve had on the boat or with Eagle Wing:

The best moments are when you inspire someone to make a change to better the environment and live a greener life. When a child tells me that they want to be a marine biologist, or a guest has an emotional response to the sight of a whale, or when people ask questions and engage with us about the troubles and changes in the Salish Sea—these are all moments I cherish.

Sydney reacting to one of many amazing wildlife encounters on the Salish Sea.

What kind of Salish Sea animal would you be and why?

A killer whale. I respect the matrilineal society and the social dynamics of the orca. From what we’ve observed, family is everything to them, and I can relate. I respect all the Coast Salish stories about orcas and their powerful presence in some of the nation’s culture.

What is one thing you want guests to take away from their experience on a tour?

Every experience you have is exceptional. The ability to be in the presence of wild animals is brilliant in itself whether it’s a killer whale, a humpback, a sea lion or a kelp forest. We’re visitors (guests) in this sea and we must respect and be grateful for every experience we receive. Truly appreciate what is in front of us and the natural beauty of this coast.

What’s one thing that no one knows about you?

I used to dance around in my living room to the Free Willy song. I would pretend I saved Willy and the crowd went crazy!

To book a tour with Sydney and the rest of our talented team, give us a call or book online!