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About Us

Wild Whales Vancouver is Granville Island’s oldest
and best-known whale-watching company, with a
focus on marine conservation.

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Our Values

CONSERVATION

Wild Whales Vancouver is committed to ensuring the conservation of the marine ecosystem in the Salish Sea. We collect a conservation fee from all guests, which is donated directly toward research and conservation initiatives that benefit our local wildlife species and their natural habitats.

ADVENTURE

Each tour is different as the wildlife species we seek are completely unpredictable. Be sure to bring your sense of adventure! These immersive experiences are subject to whatever Mother Nature has to offer with regards to weather, wildlife encounters, and sea state among other variables that contribute to a truly “wild” adventure. Our goal is always to facilitate a fun and safe experience that will be remembered and cherished for years to come.

EDUCATION

All of our staff are passionate about sharing their knowledge with our guests. We feel lucky to have a platform that allows us to educate our guests about our local wildlife, and focus our tours on what our guests can do to live their lives as sustainably (and whale-friendly!) as possible. We believe in creating memories and a sense of wonder, in order to inspire some positive change in the way humans interact with nature.

Who We Are

CAPTAINS

Our captains are all certified by Transport Canada and experienced in manoeuvring vessels around marine wildlife in order to ensure excellent viewing opportunities while adhering to all legal whale watching guidelines. All of our captains have many years experience navigating the local waters and islands of the Salish Sea.

NATURALISTS

Each tour is professionally guided by one of our marine naturalists, who are all Transport Canada certified to be deckhands onboard our vessels as an additional safety precaution to our qualified captains. Our naturalists are all passionate about marine wildlife and conservation, and use their knowledge to facilitate our tours by sharing real-time insights on wildlife behaviour, local geography, and our fragile marine ecosystems.

NATURALISTS

Our wildlife guides have univeristy-level, scientific backgrounds and are passionate about marine wildlife and conservation. They are able to share real-time insights on the whales’ behaviour. Our guides keep up-to-date with the latest research in marine mammal biology and conservation and are happy to share their knowledge with guests from around the world.

Meet the Team

Rachel Muehlenberg
Rachel Muehlenberg

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Rachel spent the summer months of her childhood exploring the west coast waters on her father’s 35ft Bayliner. Rachel has 9 years experience working in marine environments, and started working in the Salish Sea whale watching industry after she began running ecotours with her own zodiac off Vancouver island. After moving to Vancouver, she joined the Wild Whales team as a captain. Rachel has a passion for nature, culture, wildlife, and marine exploration that she loves to share with others!

Bruce Galbraith
Bruce Galbraith

Bruce has been a captain in the whale watching industry for 14 years. For over 25 years he’s worked on a variety of boats, including almost everything from kayaks to 100m yachts, in places such as the Galapagos, Alaska, the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and both the East and West coasts of Canada. Aside from work, Bruce is an avid cyclist and can be found pedaling around the city, rain or shine!

Alex Salmaniw
Alex Salmaniw

Alex joined the Wild Whales Crew in 2019.  His coastal upbringing and offshore sailing experience fostered a love of the ocean from a young age. With a background in Earth Science from the University of Victoria, he’s spent the last 5 years alternating between geological field projects and whale watching. When not searching for whales he can be found sailing along the inside passage, at local scuba diving sites, or one of the city’s many bicycling paths.

Laura Preston
Laura Preston

Laura started working with Wild Whales in 2018 as a Marine Naturalist, and now plays the role of a captain as well. Laura has a heart of gold and is incredibly passionate about wildlife and nature. She inspirationally lives her life as sustainably as possible, practicing a no-waste policy in her day-to-day life. Prior to working with Wild Whales, Laura worked as a captain for Aquabus ferries for 11 years and completed an arts degree at Emily Carr University.  

John Kelsey
John Kelsey

Despite his young age, John has decades of experience behind the helm. He was boating before he could walk! He owns his own sailboat “Shambhala,” and spends most of his free time sailing her to remote places. Aside from his work here with us, he’s an accomplished professional photographer.

Shannon Otruba
Shannon Otruba

This is Shannon’s first season with the Wild Whales family, having started in May 2019. Originally from Washington state, she moved to Vancouver to study Natural Resources Conservation at the University of British Columbia. Her studies at UBC led her to work with many wonderful projects including sea turtle conservation in the Caribbean and pollinating insects in the Okanagan. Outside of work Shannon loves swimming, yoga, and cycling.

Nicole Peshnak
Nicole Peshnak

Nicole has been with Wild Whales for 3 years. Although she works as a full time Biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium, guiding our whale watching tours is Nicole’s (self-admitted) favourite way to spend her weekend. Somehow she finds time to volunteer at Vancouver’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, where she works to rehabilitate harbour seal pups, sea lions, sea otters, and other marine wildlife in need of care. She is born and raised in Ontario but Vancouver is her forever home where she lives with her beach-loving bunny rabbit named Bailey.

Crystal Kulcsar
Crystal Kulcsar

Crystal was born and raised on the west coast and has been with Wild Whales for over 8 years. She is an avid hiker and loves a challenging trail. During our off season, she loves to travel! She also works as a Biologist at the Vancouver Aquarium, working most often with the Arctic fish, invertebrates, and jellyfish.

Alan Chang
Alan Chang

Alan is one of our marine naturalists and has been working with us since April 2019. He has a degree in Ecology and Biodiversity from the University of Hong Kong, and has participated in a variety of cetacean research projects and labs specifically in photo identification and population analysis. On his days off he volunteers at the Marine Mammal Rescue Center and as a sighting analyst of Wild Ocean Whale Society. Alan’s passion for wildlife is second only to his passion for whale-themed clothing. He is also an exceptional wildlife photographer! When he is not on water with wildlife, he is busy sorting and retouching his photos.

Hannah Fiegenbaum
Hannah Fiegenbaum

Hannah moved to Vancouver from Massachusetts to study biology at UBC. She inevitably fell in love with the nature here and has never left! Her favorite part of her degree was researching kelp on the west coast of Vancouver Island (kelp is more interesting than you might think!). This is her second season as a naturalist at Wild Whales. When she’s not on a boat, you can find her on her bike.

Kieranna Mc Cormick
Kieranna Mc Cormick

Kiki has been a naturalist with Wild Whales for 5 years and has spent most of her life on or around the water, growing up on the coast of Ireland. Before relocating and settling into life in the Pacific Northwest, she researched Humpback whales along the coastlines of western Africa, eastern Australia, Iceland, and southern Europe for a number of different universities. She has a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from NUI University College Cork, where her main focus was cetacean research. When not obsessing over all things whales, Kiki can be found scuba diving, racing triathlons, and studying for her captains ticket.

Dan Clarke
Dan Clarke

When not on a whale watching boat as one of our naturalists, Dan is travelling the world on his own or as a global tour leader. The list of countries Dan has not visited grows shorter and shorter year after year! He’s a passionate educator and has an infectious and inspirational zest for life. Despite his lifestyle of jet-setting to accomplish as many foreign adventures as possible, he dreams of a quiet life on a small, local island one day.

Celestina Smith
Celestina Smith

Born and raised on BC’s coast, this is Cele’s first year as a naturalist but far from her first on the water. Having grown up spending her winters in Whistler and her summers in Haida Gwaii, she has a deep rooted appreciation for BC’s natural beauty that translates into her passion for our province’s unique wildlife. When not out on the water, Cele can be found in Vancouver parks with her rescue dog, Tanu. 

Zoe Ward
Zoe Ward

Zoe is one of our more experienced naturalists, having been a part of the Wild Whales team for over 3 years. She has a degree in Marine Biology and Sustainability from Dalhousie University.

Some of her recent accomplishments include working on shark identification and research projects in Indonesia and volunteering with a non profit focused on coral reef restoration. When not out on the water looking for whales, Zoe can be found scuba diving, hiking, and travelling.

Pascale Campagna-Slater
Pascale Campagna-Slater

Pascale completed her studies in Marine Science in Australia and moved to Vancouver shortly after to work as a naturalist. She is now in her 5th season working in the whale watching industry in the Salish Sea. Pascale is a passionate educator who also works with kids, teaching them about the ocean, nature, and the environment. She also speaks fluent French! Although she was raised in Ottawa, Pascale has embraced the Pacific Northwest Coast life – enjoying the beach in the summer and ski hills in the winter.

Ashley Keegan
Ashley Keegan

Ashley was born and raised on this coast. She is one of our most senior naturalists with more than 8 years of experience in the industry! Her passion for nature and wildlife is as palpable as it is infectious. She is on the board of directors for a non profit Humpback whale research group, and in her spare time she helps to facilitate the nick naming of our local Bigg’s orca population. She is an accomplished photographer and is our only staff member that has swum with orca (in Norway where it is legal to do so)! 

Kathryn Taylor
Kathryn Taylor

Kathryn is a naturalist and captain in her 7th year at Wild Whales. She is originally from the prairies but has been on the west coast for 11 years. She currently has three part time jobs – all on the water which is her favourite place to be! As an outdoor enthusiast, Kathryn has a background developing forestry assessments and volunteering with the Marine Mammal Rescue Center. As often as she can, she likes to travel to see exotic wildlife in natural habitats. Some of her footage from her adventures has been featured on National Geographic specials!

Hilary Buckley
Hilary Buckley

Having been with Wild Whales for 6 years, Hilary has been a naturalist, a captain, and is now our office manager. Before her employment with Wild Whales she worked for a sea turtle conservation project in Costa Rica and frog conservation project in BC. She completed her degree in Natural Resource Conservation at the University of British Columbia, and despite her passion for whales and wildlife her favourite animals are labradors and golden retrievers.

Rodrigo Munoz
Rodrigo Munoz

Rodrigo has been with Wild Whales since 2014, but has many more years experience on the water running and guiding ecotours, sailing, scuba diving, and professionally refurbishing large vessels such as cruise ships. He spends more time on the water than he does on land, living full time on his sailboat in False Creek. He spends his winters in Mexico where he was born and raised but returns to Vancouver to be Wild Whales’ operation manager every summer.

Our Partners

EDUCATION & CONSERVATION
We are dedicated to protecting our Vancouver wildlife and planet. Our local whales are our family, and we know them by name!

For every ticket purchase, we donate $2 to one of the following conservation efforts:

Hot Tip

Please look for the “ocean wise” symbol before purchasing seafood. Shopping ocean wise supports sustainable fishing practices.

EDUCATION & CONSERVATION
We are dedicated to protecting our Vancouver wildlife and planet. Our local whales are our family, and we know them by name!

For every ticket purchase, we donate $2 to one of the following conservation efforts:

Hot Tip

Please look for the “ocean wise” symbol before purchasing seafood. Shopping ocean wise supports sustainable fishing practices.

READ OUR TESTIMONIALS

“We were blown away. Not only did we see 4 humpback whales, 1 orca, a bald eagle and a ton of seals, we learned a lot about the marine ecosystem around Vancouver and the animals that call this place home. We’d highly recommend and will definitely be coming back.”

“So glad we chose this team to experience the whale watch. […] If you have a desire to whale watch, there is no better group to give you the experience to remember!”

“We had near-perfect weather conditions on our journey out to through the Georgia Strait, and once we were approaching a calm Bay Area, […] our excellent guide told us our captain […] was charting the route of five Orcas. The next hour we experienced some of the most incredible moments of our lives as we watched the Orcas breach the water time and time again.”

“[Our guide and captain] were wonderful and made sure everyone was comfortable, safe, and they also spoke about the importance of conservation and respecting wildlife, which I loved. Tourism and people, in general, can be very harmful to local wildlife so I was very happy that Wild Whales Vancouver is doing their best to make a positive impact.”

“Best (Whale Watching) Company in Vancouver (and the whole world), for sure!! […] I have never written a review in my entire life before, but the performance of you guys and the love for what you are doing really motivated me to do so.”