Meet The Team
Let our expert team of marine naturalists, captains, managers, & office staff introduce you to the wonders of the Salish Sea! We have some of the most hands on, passionate and knowledgeable crew in the marine industry. From the friendly office staff ready to answer your questions and assist you, to the experienced and passionate marine naturalists & captains, ready to pass on their knowledge and passion for the local marine environment. Guest comfort and a high level of customer service is paramount in all we do.
Owner & President
Our original owners Eric & Kathy retired in 2017. So, Andrew decided to buy the company after working at Five Star as a long-term manager since 2006. Andrew is determined to continue the legacy of responsible & respectful whale watching that Five Star is well known for. With over 30 years’ experience in the marine industry, Andrew has a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about the marine environment. Andrew is also heavily involved in the Pacific Whale Watch Association. With a degree in Sports & Recreation Management and Development, Andrew has a clear vision of what makes a successful and responsible ecological tour company. His experience ranges from managing an award-winning water sport centre in England (where he originates from, and will explain his strange accent) to managing the entire operations of an eco-tour company in Belize. Andrew has been part of the local whale watching industry since 2005. He also is a qualified coach/instructor of several water sports including kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, rowing, and power boating.
His boating experience spans over two decades and includes being a captain of a 47-passenger vessel, driving various types of power boats as a Royal Yachting Association power boat instructor, and now one of our captains. Andrew enjoys various water sports but particularly kayaking, and enjoys getting out on the water for a paddle whenever the opportunity arises. He is also a passionate wildlife photographer and many of the images & videos you will find on our social media sites and websites were captured by Andrew.
Jim has over 2 decades of experience in the local Whale Watching industry and is a former Executive Director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association. He has a passion for the marine environment and plays a strong role in our companies’ marine stewardship. Jim plays an active role in training our staff and educating the public on responsible environment advocacy. His knowledge of the local area is unsurpassed and will amaze our guests with little quirky facts that very few other people know. Apart from his experience in the Whale Watching industry, Jim has also been a foster parent for several years with his wife and they have had a positive influence on many young people over the years. This experience has also allowed him to be a mentor to many of our staff over the years and his words of wisdom are always welcome. Jim is also well respected in the local tourism industry. He is originally from Bermuda but has lived in Victoria with his family for many years. He also enjoys getting out and enjoying nature in his spare time and often takes long hikes in the forests or Hills around Victoria.
Office Manager & Naturalist
Sam joined our team in 2022 after coming out on multiple tours in 2021. She was promoted to the Office Manager position in 2023 and is also a Captain and Marine Naturalist. Sam is a fantastic photographer and loves the outdoors & nature!
Gordon started as a whale watching captain and naturalist in 2008, after a lifetime of working on the water. He used to work at Undersea Gardens as a diver, and went on to study and graduate from the Divers Institute of Technology. He has worked as a commercial diver for many years around the coast of Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea. When he’s not on the water, you can find him at the digital turntable – under the name G.I.BLUNT, he has been a staple on the west coast, DJing at clubs and music festivals since the early 2000’s.
Catherine is a passionate marine ecologist and wildlife photographer. She holds a degree in biology, earth, and ocean sciences from the University of Victoria. She grew up (mostly) here in Victoria, and is highly enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of local ecosystems. She loves each and every thing found on, in, or around our oceans – most especially the whales and the birds! In her spare time (of which she has very little, being the mum of two small children), she enjoys long hikes, bird watching, and beach days in the sun.
Office Staff & Naturalist
Emma is currently in her final year at the University of Victoria, pursuing a degree in Marine Biology. A new addition to the Five Star team this year, she is eager to learn all things marine, and is especially interested in the conservation of reef ecosystems. In her free time, she can be found doing any sort of outdoor adventure, from backpacking to paddleboarding to tidepooling.
Office Staff & Naturalist
Reanna is currently completing a co-op term at Five Star while completing her degree in Marine Biology and Ocean Science at the University of Victoria. She is most passionate about how biological oceanography impacts whales and other marine life in the Salish Sea. Furthering her love of all things marine, Reanna has recently been certified in scuba diving and will continue working on more advanced certifications in hopes of exploring even more of the underwater world!
Office Staff & Naturalist
Originally from Edmonton, Rayne was a land locked marine biologist mermaid and has been living in Victoria since August 2021. She is a co-op student going into her fourth year of a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Victoria, specializing in cetacean, invertebrate, and algae biology. This is Rayne’s second season as a marine naturalist with Five Star, and this year you will also see her working out on the water with the Straitwatch South team, monitoring vessel traffic and doing field research in cetacean conservation. She also has her captains certifications and has been working towards being a trained vessel operator.
Office Staff & Naturalist
Alexa was an invaluable addition to the Five Star Team in 2018. She has a degree in Biology at the University of Victoria. During her first year at Five Star, she proved to be a quick learner and real team player. She is always pleasant to our guests and has an infectious smile. As with all our team, she shares a passion for the marine environment and nature. Originally from Alberta, Alexa loves to line dance whenever the opportunity arises and is even trying to teach Andrew to line dance…. The jury is still out on that one though 🙂
Ron (In Memorium)
The Whale Guru
Our associate, Ron, studied the local whales and marine life for over 25 years and was a wealth of knowledge. This experience and expertise was the back bone of the inspirational and educational tours provided by Five Star Whale Watching. Although Ron is no longer with us, he used to teach the Marine Naturalist course at the University of Victoria for many years. Ron witnessed so much change in the Salish Sea – some good, some not so good. However, we were lucky enough to have him on our vessel for many years, imparting his knowledge to our passengers and crew. We will never forget the first time Ron saw multiple humpback whales lunge feeding in the Salish Sea – something he doubted he would ever see in his lifetime! Ron was a huge influence on our staff, especially our young marine naturalists, who loved listening to his many tales.