Your Orca Dreams hosts,
John (J.D.) and Kelly
For 19 years I owned and operated a sea kayaking company called Spirit of the West Adventures. The excitement of launching a new business and guiding its success was terrific – but part of that success meant I was spending more and more time in my office, and not enough time with what I really love: the wildlife and nature of our beautiful coast.
I needed a change. So I sold the business to my partners of seven years, and took the next two to muse on my own next steps. I sailed my boat up and down the coast, went on a hitch hiking trip across Africa with a close friend, and spent quality time with my beautiful parents.
In the end I came full circle to what I know best, with the proviso that I could do things differently this time. I could build a camp in an area that I love, the Broughton Archipelago. I could create something that gave me more of what I’m coming to value – adventuring combined with comfort! I imagined something like an African safari camp more than a backpacking tented camp.
And I could run my business in a new way, with no office to get locked into all summer. I wanted home base to be in camp so I could answer an email or two and then join our guests for a whale watching excursion. I wanted to keep things small so my guests and I could really enjoy an intimate experience in a spectacular area. To me that means sharing experiences with my guests, not hearing about them on Trip Advisor!
In the summer of 2015 my partner Kelly and I, along with 15 volunteers from around the world, lovingly created the Orca Dreams whale watching camp. Our beautiful site is located on my favourite beach on White Beach Pass on Compton Island, the home of the MamMamalilikula-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em First Nation.
This is a place where whales can be seen playing out front 24/7. Where I can go catch a fish and cook it up for dinner. Where I can interact with my First Nations neighbours and talk about real things like where the halibut are biting, or that huge wind storm we had last night.
Most importantly I can share this area, and my dream, with new friends from around the globe.
And with that we welcome you to Orca Dreams!
I grew up on the Ocean near Victoria on Southern Vancouver Island and so the ocean was from day one an important part of my life. I met JD when I was in junior high and we started a friendship that’s lasted across decades and spanned a fair bit of geography – and has brought me back to the coast I love.
When I was finished with school in Victoria, I moved to Nelson BC where I raised my son – he’s now 23 – and launched several backcountry ski businesses. My business partner and I started a ski touring store and rental shop, then built and ran two remote luxury ski touring yurts along with a cat skiing operation.
We felt lucky to be part of a brand new niche market, offering luxury touring huts at a price skiers could afford. Our clientele came from all over the world, and I loved hearing their stories about connecting with nature in our winter paradise.
Yet, like JD, I found that as the business grew I was spending less and less time doing what I really loved. I’d become more office-bound than I liked. So I came back to the coast – and to my best friend – and it wasn’t long before Orca Dreams began to take shape.
It’s the best of all worlds. We get to share our amazing and lovingly created wilderness camp with visitors the world over, and make new friends who care for this coastal environment as much as we do. What a blessing it is to be here!