Dan Kukat | Owner & Captain
Dan started SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours 27 years ago. He wished to combine his love of being on the Ocean and his desire to live in Victoria with his interest in running his own business. A Chartered Accountant by profession, Dan traveled the world as a Tax Specialist focusing in the oil and gas industry. Now a certified Marine Engineer (not to mention Transport Canada certified Captain), Dan manages the operations and the maintenance for the SpringTide fleet. He also works tirelessly to further conservation efforts in the region to ensure the Whales will survive for many years to come. In fact, Dan wrote the original Marine Mammal viewing documents from which the current North American Guidelines are based.
Joanne Kukat | Co-Owner & General Manager
Joanne graduated with a B. Comm from UBC, and pursued a sales career in the hi-tech industry with her first job being with IBM. Moving to Victoria was the best thing she ever did! “The eco-tourism community is incredibly fascinating and rewarding – and so is working alongside the talented professionals at SpringTide, supporting University Co-op students and offering our Volunteer program to aspiring international biologists. Our partnerships with tour companies from around the world have spanned decades and I love seeing our wonderful Tour Directors each new year!”
Ian | Captain & Zodiac Skipper
Captain Ian was born and raised near Liverpool, England. After finishing his degree in Earth Sciences, he travelled the world extensively and soon found his passion for Wildlife and the Ocean. He has worked all over the globe; as Dive Master & Captain in the Cayman Islands and a Master Scuba Diver Trainer in Cozumel, Mexico. Ian has chosen Victoria BC to settle down with his wife and kids! Ian says “I have immense respect for the Ocean and its Wildlife and I am truly privileged to work out there on a daily basis.”
Emma | Marine Biologist
Emma has a BSc in Zoology and when she is not working aboard Marauder IV she is studying for her masters in Wildlife Conservation. Originally from Scotland, Emma joined us straight from wildlife guiding in New Zealand. She embodies the phrase “all creatures great and small” and is enthused about the variety of animals the Salish Sea has to offer. From the large whales to the barnacles attached to them, she will be sure to share as much knowledge as possible with her guests on each and every tour!
Yves | Captain & Chief Mate
Yves was brought up on the St Lawrence River and after a long career in the Royal Canadian Navy, has spent 14 years working on Victoria’s beautiful harbour. He loves to take photos as he continues to explore the Ocean environment around Victoria. Look for some of the many images he shares with his passengers by checking the SpringTide facebook page!
Yves is a very talented wood worker and is the creator of the wonderful pieces you will see in our office. We hope you will drop by to see them! Yves enjoys travelling and meeting visitors from around the world when they join him onboard the Marauder IV.
Stefania | Marine Biologist
Stefania is passionate about promoting marine conservation through scientific exploration and engaging communication. She is a Registered Professional Biologist with a master’s of Science in environmental studies (UVic) and a BSc in Marine Biology (UBC). During her master’s degree she founded Guardians of the Deep, a citizen science non-profit. Through this program, volunteer scuba divers monitor and report Pacific rockfish abundance and diversity in the Salish Sea. Stefania skippered the research dive boat for Guardians of the Deep and is a PADI Scuba Instructor and dive master. She spent an entire summer in California photo identifying the largest animals on earth, Blue Whales. In her free time she loves surfing, camping, and performing with her jazz dance troupe.
Marty | Captain
One of Captain Marty’s passions is hiking. Really big hikes. He is often found in the mountains on multi-day trips, exploring the wilderness and climbing peaks. He is our team hiking leader! On Sundays, you can find him exploring the vast network of hiking trails found in and around Victoria. Ask him for some recommendations if you are interested in exploring some breathtaking views and unique places to stretch your legs.
Laas | Zodiac Skipper & Naturalist
Laas was born and raised on the island of Haida Gwaii. She worked as a professional photographer on Haida Gwaii at a high-end west coast resort for a couple of years. She then moved down to Vancouver Island where she took an exciting job for two years as “Light Keeper” of Race Rocks Lighthouse & Ecological Reserve. Before her working life began she spent time at Pearson United World College and then UBC to pursue a degree in Environment & Sustainability.Laas enjoys photography and loves getting out on the water any chance she gets!
Alex | Zodiac Skipper & Naturalist
Alex grew up on the East Coast of Canada where he sailed, fished and ocean kayaked from his family cottage on Prince Edward Island. He also worked aboard a Lobster boat! Alex came to the Pacific Northwest ten years ago for more adventure and over the years has worked in different marine environments and has completed his Captain’s training- while living aboard a boat! When he’s not on the water, Alex enjoys exploring Vancouver Island and camping along the West Coast, discovering new spots to soak in the wilderness.