Get To Know Us
We believe that the small contributions of many can make a big impact.
That’s why we’re proud to put our financial resources and team support behind the many charitable, economic, and research & conservation organizations that work hard to protect and preserve our natural environment, and improve life for animals and society alike.
John DouglasDirector of Operations and Owner
John began his career in the marine industry over 30 years ago. Now Director of Operations and vessel Captain, he holds a Master 500GT Near Coastal certification, Small Vessel Machinery Operator (SMVO), and has completed programs in Marine Emergency Duties STCW95 and Marine First Aid.
Rachel ThompsonGeneral Manager
Rachel was born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She has a diploma in Health and Fitness Promotion, and a Bachelor of Science, with a discipline in Kinesiology from Western University and Brock University. Rachel moved to Vancouver Island for the summer but was captivated by the coastal beauty. With Orca Spirit for seven years so far, Rachel is head of all sales and also handles organizational logistics, including maintenance of the gift shops, and coordination of boat and office crew and fleet.
Hailey OlsenSales Coordinator
Originally from Burlington, Ontario, Hailey’s love for west coast scenery came from spending a lot of time with her family at beaches in Southern California. This made her mind up – move to Victoria in 2018. Having graduated from George Brown College with a degree in Hotel Management, Hailey joined Orca Spirit in 2019 as a Sales Coordinator, specializing in private charters, group bookings and social media. Her favorite whale is K44 “Ripple” and in her spare time, Hailey can be found soaking up some beautiful BC sun either hiking or spending time at the beach with her friends.
Jordan DouglasVessel Captain & Operations Coordinator
A Vancouver Island local, Jordan grew up in Nanaimo. Jordan joined Orca Spirit over five years ago and holds his master 60GT certificate and will soon be completing his Master 150GT in fall 2019 at the Western Maritime Institute. As well as vessel captain, Jordan is our operations coordinator, overseeing the maintenance of our vessels and assisting the management team.
Laura grew up in Vancouver, spending her summers exploring the waters of west coast on her family’s sailboat, and loving the closeness of wildlife. After obtaining a BSc Combined Biology and Psychology at the University of Victoria, she joined the Orca Spirit business development team, focusing on local tourism, corporate travel, and public relations.
Brendan McEneaneyOffice Supervisor
Brendan has been with Orca Spirit Adventures for over four years. Brendan grew up in Victoria, and despite many trips abroad, he can’t see himself ending up anywhere other than the west coast! He graduated from the University of Victoria with a degree in Political Science and is soon to be pursuing a diploma in Mental Health studies. Brendan oversees the training of new staff, daily office operations, and reservations. He enjoys introducing our guests to his home town and pointing out hidden gems around the city.
Hanna KretzschmannSales Agent
Hanna moved to Victoria from Midland Ontario to be closer to the ocean and couldn’t be happier with that decision. Hanna recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelors Degree of Political Science. Growing up, most of her summers as a child were spent camping and surfing which kickstarted her love for the environment. She spends as much time on the water every opportunity she can!
Kristyn FosterCruise Supervisor
Hailing from Peterborough, Ontario, Kristyn moved to Victoria to pursue ocean and wildlife exploration. With a background in Physical Geography and Climatology, her love for animals and the outdoors brought her to Orca Spirit for the 2019 summer. As our Cruise Ship supervisor, Kristyn handles all cruise ship operations, inventory, reservations and sales, as well as working closely with the cruise ship management teams down at Ogden Point. Her favorite whale is the Gray whale, for their playful and unique feeding techniques in warmer coastal waters.
Sabrina HarveySales Agent/Naturalist
Sabrina grew up in Nova Scotia and graduated from Nova Scotia Community College with a degree in Tourism Management. Her love for marine wildlife started when she saw a Fin Whale off the coast of Cape Breton at age 18. Sabrina currently holds her MEDA2, Wilderness First Responder, Marine Naturalist and Marine Basic First Aid certificates. She enjoys learning about our local BC wildlife and sharing her knowledge with guests on board.
Avelynn AndersonOffice Supervisor
Avelynn attended the Westcoast Adventure College and over the years she has gained a portfolio of certifications, including; AWFA, ROC, MEDA1+2, CANsail and Kayaking. Her love for animals is what brought her to Orca Spirit over three years ago and is proud to be working for a company that has a strong emphasis on conservation. She is currently studying Linguistics with a focus in Japanese at the University of Victoria and enjoys meeting people from around the world.
Theresa MercierSales Agent
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Theresa grew up in the mountains but fell in love with our stunning coastline when she moved to Vancouver Island to study Political Science and Geography at the University of Victoria. With the company for over 2 years, she has a soft spot in her heart for Humpback whales. She will soon be following her passion to work in ocean conservation and making the big move to Iceland to start a Masters Degree in Environment and Natural Resource Management.
Lawson McKielVessel Captain
Lawson has been in the marine industry for over 30 years and joined the Orca Spirit crew in 2018, working as a vessel captain on the Orca Spirit II. He currently holds a Master 500GT certification.
Brett KelleyChief Mate
Once a mariner, always a mariner! Brett is a graduate of the Camosun College Marine Program and works at Orca Spirit Adventures has a First Mate on the Orca Spirit II, Catalina, and Pacific Explorer. Brett’s favourite whale is L115-Mystic and is fascinated by the evolution of the hunting skills that whales learned.
Jeremy RandallVessel Captain
Sailing through the Panama Canal in 2012 is what started Jeremy’s passion for the ocean. Jeremy grew up in Saskatoon and moved to Vancouver Island in 2011. He joined Orca Spirit in 2018 as a vessel captain and currently holds SVOP and master 60GT certifications.
Rachael MerrettSenior Naturalist
Surprisingly, Rachael is a prairie kid from Saskatchewan who fell in love with the ocean and whales at the age of six. She is now a full-fledged west coaster who not only works on the water, she lives on it too in her boat!
She aspired to be a marine biologist, attending the University of Saskatchewan where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and then completing the Marine Science Program at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre here on Vancouver Island. She also earned a Diploma in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from Lakeland College in Vermilion, Alberta.
Rachael has been part of the Orca Spirit Team since 2010 and is our Lead Marine Naturalist and Deckhand. Rachael is responsible for training our new boat crew and creating our education program for our whale watching tours.
Matilda grew up in Perth, Western Australia and moved to Canada with her family when she was a child. Matilda took her passion for marine wildlife to the University of Victoria and graduated with a BSc in Biology. 2019 is her first season here with us at Orca Spirit and is grateful to have her dream job, as she decided at the age of 10 that being an Onboard Naturalist is what she wanted to do! One of Matilda’s favourite moments comes from a trip where she saw a pod of killer whales breaching in the sunset in front of Mount Baker.
Born and raised in Prince George, Leah always found a way to stay on the water – whether it was fishing or kayaking, which sparked her love for adventure and the ocean. Being extremely passionate about marine wildlife, Leah has joined us this year as a Certified Marine Naturalist. Leah holds her MEDA2, VHF, AWFA and SVOP certifications and one day would love to captain her own vessel. She is known on board as a Bigg’s Killer Whale ID aficionado!
Growing up in Toronto, Adrian spent most of his childhood joining his family on spearfishing trips that started his passion for the ocean. Before moving to Victoria, Adrian majored in Marine and Freshwater Biology at the University of Guelph, Ontario. He joined the Orca Spirit team in 2019 as an Onboard Naturalist and in his spare time enjoys freediving.
Mick MillerSenior Zodiac Captain
Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Mick has brought to Orca Spirit Adventures a significant wealth of over 25 years of marine industry experience. Being fascinated with the behavior of Killer whales all his life, Mick graduated from Royal Roads University in 2003 with a Degree in Environmental Science. As our Lead Zodiac Captain for over four years, he was awarded the City of Victoria Hospitality Award in 2016 and has had many incredible, memorable experiences with our local wildlife and guests.
Matthew BurnabyZodiac Captain
Working with people in nature has been a lifelong aspiration for Matt. He began studying the west coast’s diverse ecosystems when he was 8 years old, and joined the Gulf Islands Center of Ecological Learning as a naturalist when he was only 15. Originally from Salt Spring island, Matt is one of our experienced zodiac drivers.
Sarah KeenanZodiac Captain
Born and raised in British Columbia, Sarah has spent her life exploring the Pacific Northwest Coast. At a young age, she realized her passion for natural history and joined the Orca Spirit team in 2014 as a zodiac captain and marine naturalist. Sarah spends her summer between the biologically diverse Salish Sea and the remote coast off Port Renfrew. She spends her winters off the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia, kayaking and camping amongst penguins and icebergs as an expedition guide. As a citizen scientist, she aspires to create a lasting education for her guests that will inspire and encourage us to protect our natural world.
Alex FormanZodiac Captain
Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Alex moved to beautiful Victoria, BC five years ago. He joined our pod in 2012, working as a naturalist aboard our covered vessels. Alex holds MED A1/A2, SVOP and ROC-MC certifications, and recently completed his biology degree with a concentration in marine biology at the University of Victoria.
Edward GawneZodiac Captain
Edward grew up on Piers Island and has been with Orca Spirit for over three years as a Zodiac Captain. Edward graduated from the University of Victoria majoring in Trace Metal Bio Geochemistry and currently holds his SVOP, ROC-MC, MEDA3, Marine Naturalist and Cold-Water Immersion Instructor certificates.
Evan SztricskoZodiac Captain
With a background in music, Evan initially moved to the west coast from Dundas, Ontario to work in the audio engineering industry but soon fell in love with the Pacific Ocean and all its creatures. Always being interested in marine wildlife, Evan made the switch to the whale watching industry and started working as a zodiac captain for orca spirit in 2018. As well as being a certified zodiac captain, Evan also holds his PADI scuba diving instructor certificate, and one of his favorite animals is the Pacific white-sided dolphin.
Derek LoweZodiac Captain
Derek was born in San Diego, USA, and, with a father enlisted in the U.S. Navy, grew up in Spain, Azores and Guam, thereby destined to love the ocean. After graduating high school in Guam, Derek set out to complete his Bachelor of Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico. Upon graduating, Derek set out to travel around the globe and now resides in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. with his wife and dog, Greta. He is passionate about learning more and teaching visitors and guests about the impact of ocean acidification on our marine environment.
Patrick ConnorShuttle Driver
Victoria born and raised, Patrick has experience in driving tandem vehicles and joined us over the summer as a shuttle driver, to help out with our free downtown hotel shuttle service. A lover of sports, Patrick enjoys playing baseball on the weekends.
Walter Cadwallader & Mabel WilsonOwners
Walter joined Orca Spirit Adventures in 2003 after many years in the commercial fishing industry. Mabel’s background includes multi-generation ownership of larger vessels. They tap into their extensive marine experience to bring exciting ideas and streamlined processes to the business.
Leaders in responsible Eco-Tourism