Dan Kukat

Owner & Captain

Dan started SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours 26 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 and 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 industry is incredibly fascinating and rewarding – and so is working alongside the talented professionals at SpringTide; supporting University Co-op students; and collaborating with tour companies from around the world”.

Brenden

Sales & Operations Manager

Brenden lives and breathes Canada’s West Coast.  Every minute he gets is spent on or near the Ocean.  From working at SpringTide, boating with his family or camping and surfing with his son, he is never very far from the water!  He first started in the Whale Watching Industry in 2003 as a “Whale spotter” for the Victoria fleet. He quickly became known as “Eye in the Sky” and with such a great reputation soon landed a job as a Whale Watching Zodiac Skipper and Guide, straight out of Victoria Harbour.  When he left the industry in 2009 to pursue other career opportunities he knew he was leaving something very special behind. After many years of doing other things Brenden finally came back to where he belongs – this awesome Industry.  He is now on the other side of the counter as SpringTide’s Sales & Operations Manager.  Sharing his passion with customers and crew alike is what he does best and what he enjoys the most!

Ian

Captain

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.”

Yves

Chief Mate & Captain

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.

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.

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.

Mark

Skipper

Mark has been with SpringTide for two seasons now. As part of the crew, Mark enjoys the relaxed but professional atmosphere of the family-run business. He enjoys sharing his passion for the Ocean with our guests, wanting to instill a desire to protect, love and preserve the waters in current and future generations. In addition to Mark’s love of the Ocean, he also possesses a passion for travel. He began his adventures diving and climbing in Africa, which led to a seven-year around-the-world trip without flying. A pretty incredible venture! He has been across Europe, to the Arctic, across Russia, Mongolia, China, the Middle East, South America; to mention just a few. He eventually ended up in the Caribbean working as a Captain on luxury catamarans. Mark also volunteers as a medic on ski patrol, has taught sailing, delivered boats all over the world, is a rescue diver, a licensed Captain and Guide who has worked in many different countries and with many different cultures. Some of the other activities that occupy Mark’s time are sailing, kite-surfing, diving, playing music, camping, travelling, cooking, mountaineering, growing food, supporting small local events, and marine conservation.

Bennit

Zodiac Skipper

Bennit moved to Canada from his home country of Germany in 2014 to join the University of Victoria. There he studied the effects of climate change on the Arctic Sea ice cover. After joining an Arctic Research Unit with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada he developed a strong interest in the state of the oceans and its inhabitants, especially whales.

In his free time, Bennit enjoys the rich nature of Vancouver Island while hiking and trail running.  He is also an avid fly fisherman who ties his own flies and even makes his own rods!

Laas

Zodiac Skipper/Marine 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!

Gord

Naturalist/Biologist

Gord has been with SpringTide Whale Watching & Eco Tours since 2014. As with other SpringTide employees, Gord has traveled extensively through most of Canada, much of the United States, Mexico, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. Cuba’s next on Gord’s bucket list. What brought Gord to SpringTide you ask? Well Gord spent a lot of time working on and under the water while working at the Royal BC Museum. After retiring from the museum, he missed not being on the water so he jumped at the chance to work on the Ocean again. For Gord, the people at SpringTide are also great to work with – and of course seeing Whales every day ain’t bad!

Previous to his days with SpringTide, Gord worked at the Royal BC Museum for 33 years in the Marine Biology Department and Public Programs Department. He is still a Research Associate at the Museum and continues the research on marine life that he was involved in while employed there. When Gord does have spare time, he still loves to travel.

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!

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.

Gabriella & Alex

Guest Services Team Leaders

One of the cool things about SpringTide is that we have crew from all over the world working with us.  Two of these crew members are Gabriella from England and Alex from Wales.

Gabriella has a degree in English Literature and a passion for the Ocean.  After university she spent time volunteering at Orca Dreams, a popular Orca Camp on Compton Island in the Broughton Archipelago. She fell in love with the west coast and all it has to offer during her time at this camp. She is a member of the Victoria Net-Ball team taking part in national competitions and has a passion for nature and the outdoors.

Alex grew up in a small town in Wales named Caerphilly. Every summer for years Alex spent her time travelling through Europe with her family. She moved to Victoria in 2018 and absolutely loves the outdoor way of life that this beautiful country has to offer.  In her spare time when she is not working on her degree in Physics she can be found hiking, swimming and cycling in different spots all around the South Island.

Morgan & Erin

Guest Services Agents

Morgan and Erin joined the SpringTide crew for our 2019 season.  They are both energetic and bring a fun vibe to our check ins at our busy downtown office.  They are a great addition to the team!

Carleen

Carleen has been with  SpringTide for “forever! I was blessed to have been born into the Kukat family and have worked with SpringTide from the time I could first hand tools to Captain Dad.”  When Carleen isn’t in the office, she loves to travel. Most recently, she spent half a year in Beijing, China for an academic exchange. It was her first experience in an Asian country and left her with a deep love and respect for their way of life.   After recently getting into rock climbing, which she loves, she has discovered many incredible places to climb around Victoria. Most recently, MacAulay Point, where the climbing wall is right above the Ocean!
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