"We felt like family with the crew, it didn't seem like a commercial trip. Their enthusiasm for this part of Canada was wonderful. It was a true eco tour with genuine sensitivity for the natural environment."
— G. H. & N. H., California

Our Crew

Our dedicated and multi-talented crew have spent years sailing along this coast, leading our trips. Their experience and commitment makes the difference between a good trip and a great one! Our captains are all Coast Guard and Department of Transport licensed to ensure safety.

Aboard each trip is a Resource Guide with qualifications in biology, education, zoology, anthropology or ornithology. Our guides are not only experts in their field, but truly enjoy communicating their enthusiasm to others. Down below in the salon, our wonderful cooks serve gourmet meals and beautiful buffets.



Office Staff

 

Randy Burke – Director of Bluewater Adventures

At age 27, Randy bought Bluewater Adventures from Dan Culver and started on his journey with the company. He is also a Bluewater Captain and has taken thousands of guests on memorable adventures along the BC and Alaska coast over 20 years. He has sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific on tall ships, been an Outward Bound instructor and holds an education degree, in addition to his 500-ton Masters license. When he is not in the office or leading trips, Randy enjoys spending time with his wife, Cathy and his teenage daughters, Anna and Heather.

Randy Burke, Owner
   

Erin Boyle – Marketing Coordinator

Joining us in June 2008, Erin brought with her a fondness for the BC Coast, a passion for travel and a love for the outdoors. She combines years of experience in hospitality with her degree in Marketing with the hopes of providing Bluewater guests with an amazing travel experience from start to finish. Erin loves critters - great and small, skiing, sailing and adventuring in obscure regions of the World.
Erin Hrushowy
   

Cathy Burke – Accounting

Cathy spent her youth on the Eastern Shores of the United States. It was here she developed a love for sailing, the ocean and the wilderness. She was an Outward Bound sailing instructor in Maine and then joined the crew aboard the tallship Sea Cloud and sailed the high seas for many months. Cathy also has a degree in Landscape Architecture. In her time away from managing the company books, she is managing her family of four and and puppy Maple.

Cathy Burke, Accounting
   

Leanne Lalonde - Logistics

Inspired by a summer job in the Canadian Rockies many years ago, Leanne has developed a passion for sustainable tourism and a strong connection to the BC coast. Prior to joining Bluewater Adventures, Leanne spent a number of seasons working in the Great Bear Rainforest and she believes strongly in the role tourism plays in creating life changing experiences that connect people with nature, while creating awareness around conservation, and offering an unforgettable glimpse into the natural world. In her off time a good book is always close at hand, she enjoys raiding her friends gardens, exploring the North Shore trails and sharing a great meal.
 
   

Trip Leaders - The Bluewater Crew

 

Neil Shearer – Captain

Neil joined Bluewater in 1999 and has been a licensed skipper for 20 years. Neil was born in South Africa, but raised in Vancouver BC. He has ten years experience with Bluewater sharing his love of wilderness and wildlife on the B.C. coast, and has always enjoyed taking guests to the places he loves the most. His knowledge of the coast and his enthusiasm are inspiring to all of our guests. Neil is passionate about sailing and loves to write and play music in his spare time – He always has a guitar onboard! Neil is also a Yachtmaster instructor and examiner, he volunteers for search and rescue with the Coastguard Auxiliary. Owning his own sailboat, Neil likes to spend weekends on the waters around Vancouver.

Neil Shearer - Skipper
   

Xander Oldaker – Captain

Xander has been a sailboat captain for 15 years and is now in his 5th season with Bluewater. His sailing career has taken him from teaching sailing in Downtown Vancouver to riding out hurricanes in the West Indies to Exploring the Fjords of Greenland. When not sailing, Xander works as a wilderness guide leading sea kayak and hiking adventures from South America to the high arctic. Residing on Vancouver Island, Xander spends his off season with his wife Alison and two kids.

Xander Oldaker - Skipper
   

Brian Falconer – Captain

There aren't many places that Brian hasn't explored in his 30 years of sailing - the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Pacific to name a few - but the last 20 years has been devoted to exploring the incredible coastline of BC and Alaska. In addition to his many years as a captain, Brian has also operated a sail training program for youth for 17 years, led cultural eco-tours in remote villages in China and Tibet, and initially discovered, and began to love, the coastline of BC and Alaska as a bush pilot. One of his current passions is to be an international spokesman for cultural and natural eco-tourism and wilderness management issues. When Brian's not out on the water sailing, he is overseeing the operation of Raincoast Conservation Foundation's coastguard certified research vessel.
 

Brian Falconer - skipper

   

Tom McPherson – Captain

Tom joined Bluewater as a practicum student from Capalino College Outdoor Recreation program in 2006. Growing up on the sunshine coast in Sechelt, Tom was the son of a boat builder and always had an interest in wooden boats, and woodworking. Tom volunteered on a tallship based out in England for six weeks and worked on a tuna fishing boat for a couple seasons. In his time he has built  two cedar kayaks and is currently restoring a 34 foot classic sail boat that raced in the 1956 Olympics. In 2009 Tom acquired his captains license and has been leading trips since then. Tom works maintenance in the off season and enjoys spending time along the coast with his wife Jocelyn and daughter.

Tom McPherson - First Mate

   

Steve Roberts – Captain

Steve has been with Bluewater since 2005 and continues to impress crew and guests with his extensive knowledge of sailing and the coast. In 2010 Steve acquired his captains license and shortly thereafter began leading trips, sharing his love of the rich coastal waters of the BC and Alaska with guests from around the world. Graduating from the Outdoor Recreation Program at Capalino College, Steve loves being in the outdoors and seeking new adventures.  Working on tall ships in New Zealand and various other places, he brings a wealth of knowledge to the Bluewater team. In the off season, Steve not only helps with the Bluewater maintenance, but works on his own sailboat as well.

Steve Roberts First Mate
   

Paul Brown – Captain

 
Paul began working on boats in Alaska as a teenager, and has been exploring Alaska's waters ever since. Paul is a Coast Guard licensed Captain, and during the busy summer season he navigates the Alaska expeditions with his knowledge and enthusiasm for the landscape. During the winter months, Paul explores the waters in and around Puget Sound, runs the Snow Goose for the Marine Science program, and helps care for the Snow Goose's maintenance needs. An Oregon native, a Washington resident, and an Alaskan Captain - Paul has an eye for adventure and a love of the outdoors.
   

Bruce Galbraith - First Mate

Bruce started with Bluewater Adventures in 2011. He's a licensed captain in Canada and the UK, and has sailed the west and east coasts of North America, Galapagos, Caribbean, and Mediterranean. He's climbed mountains on 4 continents, and toured Canada and Europe by bicycle, He also enjoys kayaking, back-country hiking, more bicycling, and playing with the dog.
He studied environmental science, and conducted marine water quality research for many years on the BC coast. He loves being in places where people are outnumbered by animals, but he likes people too.
 
   

Hans Bruning – Captain/First Mate

Hans first experienced Alaska in 1991 while teaching for an environmental education program in and around Anchorage. Over the past 15 years he has been exploring SE Alaska by working for a variety of small boat charters as deckhand, naturalist, mate, & kayak guide.
"The more time I spend in the remote waterways and islands of the Inside Passage, the more I appreciate how pristine and intact this ecosystem still is. Every day is a new and unpredictable adventure." In his spare time he surfs, hikes and mountain bikes.
   

Mike McCormack - Crew

Mike started with Bluewater in the winter of 2011 performing seasonal maintenance on the vessels and set sail as Bluewater crew in the spring. Most of Mike’s adult life has been dedicated to exploring everything British Columbia has to offer; sea kayaking, climbing, mountain biking and ski touring – anything to take him off the beaten path. He grew up sailing with his parents on the west coast of Vancouver Island and has been in love with sailing and the BC coast ever since. Mike lives on his sailboat in Squamish.
   

Mathew Janeway - Crew

Having been born and raised on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, water and nature have long been defining factors in Mat's life. He began sailing at an early age, and has since explored the waters of the eastern United States, the Caribbean, and much of the British Columbia coastline. His love for nature and learning led him to pursue a degree in environmental studies at the University of Victoria, in which he just completed his third year. Since joining Bluewater in 2011, Mat has been able to combine his love for the natural environment and sailing, while sharing the experience with people from across the world.
   

Jonas Fineman - Crew

Jonas Fineman has been involved in the marine industry for the past 17 years. His love for the ocean and the nautical world has afforded him many opportunities. From commercial fishing, to work aboard sailing yachts, his sea travels have ranged from the North Pacific and the Bering Sea, to the Baltic, Caribbean, and Mediterranean. He has participated in two Trans-atlantic sail crossings and transited through the Panama Canal twice. Jonas was born and raised on the Oregon coast, where he developed his passion for the sea and the greater natural world. His dedication to surfing has and continues to lead to coastal exploration both near and far. Jonas currently lives on Cortes Island, B.C. with his wife Amy.
   

Debra Fontaine – Chef

Debra spent her childhood cruising the BC coast with her family. Her father was an appraiser and they visited logging camps up the northern inlets and the lodges and resorts in the Gulf islands and Discovery islands. Her dad did the insurance appraisals in these water access areas and Debra's mother steamed pots of clams, prawns, and salmon. She saw a lot of the coast in the 50's and 60's. Moving to Cortes Island in her 20's she raised her family there. She was chef/manager at Hollyhock on Cortes Island for 15 years and then went to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver. She spent a year at The Dubrulle Culinary Institute and then 2 years in wilderness at Strathcona Park Lodge as head chef. Finally she found a way to combine her love of cruising the coast, seeing nature at its best, meeting wonderful people & cooking up a storm – Debra joined Bluewater in 2007.
Debra Fontaine - Chef
   

Kate Riddell – Chef

Kate began cooking for Bluewater in 1998 and has been head chef at Selkirk Wilderness snowcat skiing since 1995. Skiing by winter and sailing in the wilderness in the spring and summer spares her little time to enjoy her latest passion - Kate has recently begun scuba diving and is exploring the underwater beauty of the BC coast. Feather stars are her current favourite critters. Not all chefs can  prepare delicious meals for guests and see spouting whales through the porthole at the same time!
   

Annie Strucel – Chef

Residing in Nelson, BC - Annie has joined us each summer on adventures along the coastline for over 11 years now. In the Bluewater off season, she works as a chef at various ski-resorts and lodges in the BC Interior. She also runs a catering company based out of Nelson, BC. The guests always appreciate Annie’s diverse and healthy food that she creates from the galley.   An accomplished skier and Yoga instructor Annie loves the outdoors and keeping fit.

Annie Strucel - Chef

 

   

Janelle Langford – Chef

Janelle currently lives on Salt Spring Island and has over 25 years experience in hospitality. Also a trained and knowledgeable wine steward, Janelle's passion lies in the alchemy between the freshest ingredients and the perfect wine pairing. She hopes to share her experience, zeal and love for creating wholesome, delicious recipes and a consciousness of these special places where foods and wines are grown together side by side.
   

Amy Bockner - Chef

Amy Bockner has been cooking professionally since she was 16 years old. She has worked at a variety of retreat centres, from Cortes Island, B.C. to the Hawaiian Islands. Amy's love for the outdoors and adventure has led to extensive work in wilderness settings, cooking for tree planters throughout B.C. and Alberta. In 2008, she co-founded Tacofino Cantina, which has blossomed into a successful restaurant and food truck enterprise. Her passion lies in using healthy and sustainable ingredients, in order to create fresh, beautiful, and nurturing food. When not in the kitchen, Amy can be found practicing and teaching yoga, singing, gardening, and spending time in nature. Amy was born and raised on Cortes Island, B.C. where she now resides with her husband Jonas.
   

Dr. Robin Wright - Naturalist

Dr. Robin Wright is the curator for Native American Art at the Burke museum, director of the Bill Holm Center for the study of Northwest Coast Art, and an expert on Haida art. Robin has been leading trips to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) for over 20 years, most of them with Bluewater Adventures. She is always keen to share her knowledge on Haida art,  First Nation stories, and her recent passion, Haida geneology. As well, her deep relationship with the people and land of Haida Gwaii is what brings these topics to life..

Dr. Robin Wright

   

Bruce Whittington - Naturalist

Bruce was drawn to the natural world through birds, but has broadened his interests after a life on the west coast. He is an Honorary Life Member of the Victoria Natural History Society and a founder of Habitat Acquisition Trust, a regional land trust in Victoria. He has made over 60 trips to Alaska as a naturalist for Holland America Lines, and made his first trips to Haida Gwaii with Bluewater in 2007. Bruce is a keen photographer and a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. Bruce is also the author of three books about the natural history of the west coast, and was elected in 2008 as a Councillor in the town of Ladysmith, where he lives with his wife Wanda, an artist.
 Bruce Profile Picture
   

Lindsay Janes - Naturalist

Lindsay joined Bluewater in 2006, and has been exploring BC's vast and awe-inspiring coastline ever since. Her earliest child hood memories are of beachcombing and stuffing her mouth full of salmon berries -- things haven't changed much since then. When she's not teaching earth and ocean sciences, she works as a wilderness guide, ski patroller and first aid instructor. In 2002 Lindsay earned a BSc from the University of Victoria in Earth and Ocean Sciences and in 2009 she earned a BEd with a minor in environmental education from Simon Fraser University. Lindsay also loves photography, skiing, surfing and playing music. Her favourite marine invertebrate is the Giant Pacific Octopus.
 

Lindsay Janes - Naturalist

   

Dr. Rob Butler- Naturalist

Bluewater has been fortunate to have Rob leading trips for us since 1990. Rob is the coordinator of the British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas and scientist with Bird Studies Canada. He is also an adjunct professor of biological sciences at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. He was a senior research scientist with the Canadian government for 28 years. His specialty is ornithology where he is recognized as an authority on the ecology of herons and shorebirds. He has written many scholarly publications and authored several books for over 30 years. Rob is also an International Fellow in the Explorers Club. He earned his doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia and he lives in New Westminster overlooking the beautiful Fraser River.
Rob Butler - Naturalist
   

Dr. Barrie Gilbert - Bear Biologist

Dr. Barrie K. Gilbert is Senior Scientist (retired) from Utah State University. After receiving his B.A. in Biology from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, he earned a PhD in ecology at Duke University. His specialty is behavioral and conservation ecology, especially the application of behavioral science to management of human-wildlife interactions. His recent research has focused on the impacts of roads, access and recreation on bears and other carnivores, their habitat, and plans to minimize or eliminate these impacts at a protected area scale. He began studying bears in 1974 and started working with coastal B.C. bears in 1996. For the last 15 years he directed studies of human-bear interactions along salmon streams in Katmai National Park, AK, and in Southeast Alaska. Barrie has been with the Bluewater crew since 2006.

Barrie Gilbert - Naturalist
   

Sherry Kirkvold - Naturalist

Sherry is a geographer, naturalist and writer who has worked in national and regional parks and as the Interpretation specialist for B.C. Parks. She has run her own business in the field of interpretation, worked with the renowned Royal British Columbia Museum and spent the last 30 years exploring the west coast. She is the principal author of Carmanah: Artistic Visions of an Ancient Rainforest, the art book that helped raise awareness and eventually protect the Carmanah Valley, and has taught environmental stewardship in several colleges. Sherry believes that learning and fun are great partners and you may even catch her doing some gumboot dancing! She is also a musician and photographer with a passion for travel and leads tours around the world.

Sherry Kirkvold
   

Kate Henderson - Naturalist

Earning her Teaching Certificate and Bachelor of Science in Biology from The University of Victoria, Kate is now a high school biology teacher. She spent 2 years living in Bamfield and working at the Bamfield Marine Station as a marine educator and research assistant. She also lived in Edinburgh working as a research assistant for a year. In her free time, Kate works as a contract project manager with Science World. She loves marine invertebrates especially Abalone and is amazed by the diversity of kelp in British Columbia. Kate Joined Bluewater in the Spring of 2008.

Kate Henderson, Naturalist
   

Danny Catt – Naturalist

Danny is a biologist, world traveller and internationally published photographer with over 25 years of experience in the field of environmental education. He has a technical diploma in fisheries and wildlife management as well as a BSc in biology and an MSc in wildlife ecology. Danny has also taught ecology in Asia and carried out post graduate studies in wildlife management in East Africa. Danny spent many years working for Parks Canada, as a naturalist and park planner prior to shifting to teaching at the post-secondary level. He has travelled the world and when not seeking adventures in exotic places is a faculty member in the Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program at the BC Institute of Technology, in Burnaby, BC.


Danny Catt
   

RJ Rex - Naturalist

 
RJ grew up in Minnesota. There he earned a degree in classical guitar performance while working part time as a naturalist for the parks. Then he moved to Washington to explore the Cascade Mountains via hiking boots and backcountry ski. Now he has an Earth Science teaching endorsement and works for a variety of outdoor education programs, including the Snow Goose Marine educational program.
   

Tim Irvin - Naturalist

Tim Irvin's fascination with nature has lead him to explore the wilderness of Canada and earn a degree in biological science. He has worked as a field biologist on many projects including studies of Canada Lynx, salmon and song birds, and he can identify 100 species of birds by their song. His love of wild places has also resulted in several multi-week wilderness canoe adventures, including a recent seven week solo trip in the arctic. That same passion to explore brought him to the west coast of British Columbia, where he worked as a grizzly bear guide and naturalist at remote lodges for five years. Tim is always looking forward to his next trip with Bluewater Adventures, to share the beauty of the BC coast with others and for a change of pace from his current work with the BC Ministry of Environment.
Tim Irvin - Naturalist
   

Jenny Kingsley - Naturalist

Jenny is a naturalist and award-winning interpreter who began her career in the Rockies with Parks Canada when she was 21 years old. For the past eight years, she has worked as a grizzly bear guide and coastal naturalist at remote lodges and on sailboats in BC. 2013 will be her sixth season with Bluewater. As part of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Jenny has worked to protect B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest. Her roles with Raincoast included research, communications and development and planning. Aside from sailing the coast, Jenny's other favourite place in the world is the Canadian arctic, and she has traveled there extensively in her other favourite vehicle - the canoe. She is also a musician and singer/songwriter who works as a journalist and community gardener when she is home from sea.
 
 Jenny Kingsley - Naturalist
   

Captain Gold - Resource Person/Naturalist

People thought Captain Gold was mad when, in the 1970’s, he paddled a canoe from
Skidegate to the old Haida village of SGang Gwaay - nearly 250 km of hazardous seas. He knew the importance of reconnecting with his heritage, making sure village remains were not further disturbed and of being there to welcome visitors. He single-handedly changed the image of the village and became the first “Haida Watchman”. stories of his life-long efforts to preserve the Haida spirit, heritage, language and oral history. He is an elder, a Haida historian, an author, and has sits on the Gwaii Haanas Management Board representing the Haida.
   

Natalie Bowes - Naturalist

 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 naturalist with Bluewater Natalie gets to indulge in all of her favourite things- living on a boat, looking for wildlife, and sharing the wonders of the West Coast with visitors!
 
   

Steve Herrero - Naturalist

Steve is best known as the world’s leading expert on the causes and avoidance of bear attacks. He has been studying bears and human-bear interactions since 1967. His research-based popular book on this topic is the standard reference. It has sold over 125,000 copies. Working with colleagues he has applied the understanding of bear behaviour developed in his book toward making four not-for-profit videos on safety around bears. The flagship video “Staying Safe in Bear Country” has been viewed millions of times. Steve’s interests in nature, conservation, and people reach widely beyond keeping people and bears safe when interacting.
 

   

Linda Wiggins - Naturalist

Linda, who is Steve’s wife, is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable teacher, naturalist, explorer, and humanist. She first ventured to Southeast Alaska in 1983, returning on multiple occasions to expand her familiarity with the delights of this region by motor, on foot, by kayak, and by canoe. Linda’s natural history interests are broad ranging. In addition to extensive experience around bears, she brings strong interest in sharing passion with others for nature’s marvels both grand and minute.
 
   

Grant MacHutchon - Naturalist

Grant MacHutchon is a wildlife biologist and naturalist based in British Columbia’s Kootenay Region where he lives with his wife and daughter. Grant has done research/management work with numerous species throughout western Canada for over 30 years, but most of his professional career has been working with grizzly and black bears. Grant has particular expertise in the areas of population biology, habitat ecology, classification and mapping, and bear and human interaction management.

When Grant is not working with wildlife, he fills his time with training bear viewing guides for the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC, for whom he developed the core curriculum. He is also the Vice President for the NPO, the Safety in Bear Country Society focused on bear/human interactions and safety.
 
   

Rachel Elliott

Rachel is a naturalist, sailor, photographer and musician who joined Bluewater in the spring of 2011. Born and raised on Vancouver Island, her love for the natural world began at an early age. Rachel began exploring BC’s awe inspiring coastline by tall ship in her early teens, and has been in love with sailing and our beautiful coast ever since. She holds a BSc Hon. in Geography from the University of Victoria specializing in coastal conservation. Rachel is an environmental educator who has spent five seasons as an interpreter in BC parks on Vancouver Island teaching thousands of people about nature and the environment. She is passionate about the natural world, and loves exploring, discovering and sharing the wilderness and wildlife of BC’ rugged coast.