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Past Cruise Tours

Many wonderful tour guides have joined us in the past and will join us again in the future. Here is a sampler of some of our previous cruises: Wolf Conservation, Boomer Jerritt Photography, Mark Hobson Painting, Mike Svob Painting, Robert Genn Painting, Gaye Adams Art, Alison Watt Art, First Nations - Lillian Hunt, Art - Alan Wylie, Ron Watts Digital Photography, Pat Morrow Videography, Bill Merilees Natural History, Sabina Leader Mense Natural History, Robert Berdan Photography.

Wolf Conservation Society Cruise with Ian McAllister

We are excited to announce this unique collaboration between the New York Wolf Conservation Society, Pacific Wild and Mothership Adventures. For this tour we are donating our services in an effort to support the important work of Pacific Wild and the NYWCS in bringing awareness to one of earth's most stunning wildernesses areas.

Wolf Conservation Society Ian McAllister

Learn from Ian McAllister, founding director of Pacific Wild, as he escorts a select group of adventurers on Mothership Adventure's Columbia III, to explore the wildlife-rich tapestry of forests, fjords and wave-pounded islands that stretch up the coast from British Columbia to Alaska. Ian's photography and film work has focused on the carnivores of the Pacific coast - bears and wolves. In 2010, he was awarded the North American Nature Photography Association's Vision Award and was also named among Time Magazine's "Leaders of the 21st Century" for his contributions to environmental conservation.

The Wolf Conservation Center believes it is time to join Pacific Wild's effort by taking important first steps to learn more about the Great Bear Rainforest, its rich cultural, ecological, and economic value and the measures needed to safeguard this global treasure for future generations. They are proud to announce a new partnership with Pacific Wild, a non-profit conservation organization that defends wildlife and their habitat on Canada's Pacific coast, by offering a once in a lifetime adventure to the Great Bear Rain Forest to learn more about the region and why it's so crucial that we all work together to protect it. Mothership Adventures has been supporting Pacific Wild for many years and we are excited to be part of this new collaboration.

Wolf Conservation Society Ian McAllister

The Great Bear Rainforest, on Canada's Pacific coast, is home to a myriad of healthy populations of species of plants, birds and animals, including subspecies and genetically unique populations of wildlife like the Spirit Bear and coastal grey wolf. Serious environmental challenges have put this region in threat, prompting the action of scientists and conservationists who are working hard to promote the protection of one of last wild intact functioning ecosystems and one of the planet's most priceless treasures.

In an effort to mobilize a concerned global citizenry to achieve large-scale wildlife protection, meeting the "Great Bear" will afford visitors the chance to become immersed in the ecologically rich marine and terrestrial environments of an endangered corner of British Columbia - the kind of place that one can still watch grizzly bears, humpback whales, spirit bears, wolves and so much else all in a single day - while learning about the challenges that threaten its unique biological diversity.

Photography Workshop with Boomer Jerritt in the Great Bear Rainforest

photography cruise We are pleased and excited to have Boomer return to the Great Bear Rainforest. This tour is an exciting opportunity to develop your digital photographic abilities while experiencing the stunning beauty and abundant marine life of the BC's Great Bear Rainforest from the comfort of the Columbia III. From remote surf swept beaches to the steep sided glacier carved fjords, the Great Bear area is BC's premier wilderness destination. In addition to the marine life we hope to find some grizzly bears feeding in the spring estuaries amongst the purple lupines!

Digital photography has revolutionized the way we all take pictures. From the composition of the photo to the manipulation of the data and enhancement techniques after the image is captured there is a tremendous amount to learn. In the relaxed, informal atmosphere of the Columbia III, Boomer Jerritt will discuss all aspects of photographic technique and review your photos from each day's outing. All skill levels are welcome, the only pre- requisites being a love of nature and an inquisitive spirit.

Boomer Jerritt has been involved in the photographic industry since 1990. Since the inception of his business he has serviced regional, national, and international clientele.

Boomer Jerritt

Comments from the guest log book, 2012:

" An amazing experience! You have an extraordinary team, Boomer! The stories brought much to this trip. So much learned, the scenery amazing. "
Anne, Saskatchewan, Canada

" Each experience in your life is a treasure forever and this trip is another unbelievable experience! I will return home with a new lease on the next part of my life because of the people on the trip! The learning was never ending! Thank you so much Boomer! My life has been made richer because of you and the new friends I have made! Gratefully, "
Sylvie, Saskatchewan, Canada

Trained at the Western Academy of Photography, Boomer brings to Strathcona Photography the experience necessary to produce and market innovative, quality driven photographic products for his clients.

A multi-faceted visual artist, Boomer, along with being a photographer also produces original fine art pieces and teaches photography at the college level.

photography siloette Recently, Boomer completed a photography book on the Comox Valley, published by Harbour Publishing, and has continued to expand his market exposure in Tourism Vancouver Island. Boomer has also been selected as a contributing photographer to All Canada Photos and Getty images.

A multi-faceted visual artist, Boomer was trained at the Western Academy of Photography and has recently completed a photography book on the Comox Valley, published by Harbour Publishing.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. Boomer's hands-on approach to instruction, excellent technical knowledge and passion for teaching were evident throughout the weekend."
Eileen Redding

Campbell River Gateway
Comox Valley

Comments from the 2011 Photography tour with Boomer Jerritt:

" Miray, Luke and Tavish,
It was a pleasure to be on the Columbia III. What an awesome boat! The food was amazing and you were a great crew! I will look forward to my next trip aboard your ship. Safe travels! "

Janice, B.C.

" A fantastic trip with wonderful hosts. Thanks for everything! I'll be back! "
Phil, B.C.

" It couldn't have been any better than this! Thank you so much for a wonderful time. "

" Thank you for your gracious hospitality. I had a wonderful time! You guys are awesome! "

" Thanks for a wonderful trip! Great food, lots of fun and lots of learning! Cheers, "

Boomer is the photographer for The Comox Valley: Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and Area (2006), and the newly released Campbell River: Gateway to the Inside Passage, Including Strathcona, the Discovery Islands and the Mainland Inlets (2010).


Join west coast artist and naturalist Mark Hobson for a new acrylic painting workshop aboard the Columbia III. This will be a wonderful opportunity for a small group of acrylic enthusiasts to explore BC's remote and spectacular Great Bear Rainforest while receiving instruction from an accomplished painter and teacher. Mark's attentive guidance makes these six days a unique and valuable experience for those wishing to expand their artistic horizons. The daily itinerary includes demonstrations, shore excursions and plenty of time to paint. Each day the Columbia III travels and anchors in new locations insuring a variety of paintable subject matter. The trip is open to beginners and experienced painters alike. Group size is limited to seven.

Mark Hobson beach class

Mark Hobson at work Mark Hobson is based in Tofino B.C., on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island where he has painted for over twenty years. A diverse artist in both subject and media, he is equally comfortable in watercolour, oils, and acrylics. Mark is best known for his passionate portrayals of the B.C. coast, from pounding surf to sheltered cove; from rainforests to the underwater realm. The richness of the natural environment and its wildlife comes alive in his work. Professionally trained as a biologist, he taught high school science for nine years before painting as a career. Self-taught as an artist, his paintings are simultaneously accurate and sensitive depictions of the many moods of wilderness and rural landscapes.

Mark Hobson Painting Mark's work has won many awards in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has participated in shows throughout North America and as far afield as Hong Kong and Singapore. In 2006, Mark was chosen as "Artist of the Year" by Ducks Unlimited Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint has invited him to design three different sets of coins. The National Geographic Society has displayed his work in Washington D.C., Mark was selected as a member of the Society of Animal Artists in 1997, and as BC's Wildlife Artist of the Year in 1996. His landscapes have placed in the top 100 of the US Art for Parks competition and three times Artist's Magazine annual competition has awarded his wildlife images high honours. In 2003 and 2005, he won the Pacific Salmon Foundation's stamp award.

A strong advocate for preserving the wilderness he loves to paint, Mark has donated numerous paintings and much of his time to efforts to preserve natural environments. Mark's floathouse studio is only accessible by boat, surrounded by the natural beauty of Clayoquot Sound.

Mark Hobson houseboat

For further background on Mark's work, see his website.

Comments from the 2011 Mark Hobson Painting tour:

Mark Hobson Chesterman Sunset Mark Hobson Flower Rock at sunset

"Thank you for filling us with beauty; our eyes our ears and our bellies!"
Maureen, B.C.

"Fern, Miray, Luke and Mark, Thank you so much for a wonderful five days. The coastal knowledge, the music, the painting, the shore trips, the food, the scenery, the laughter… What fun!!"
Donna, B.C.

"The music was an "extra" to this most incredible trip. I knew it would be superb and my hopes were far exceeded. The food was wonderful, the ship is awesome, and the atmosphere friendly. The attention to detail was extraordinary and always the pleasant smile. "Thank you" seems lame, but the best I can say!"
Susie, B.C.

"Thank you all for a wonderful time. The music, food and kindness in particular."
Carol, BC

Mark Hobson

Painting with Artist Mike Svob

Imagine yourself surrounded by the majesty of Desolation Sound as you paint under the guidance of renowned artist and instructor Mike Svob. This will be a wonderful opportunity for painting enthusiasts to explore Desolation Sound, a magnificent section of the B.C. coast, while at the same time receiving instruction from an experienced painter and teacher. With a small group of seven participants there will be a flexible schedule with daily exercises, demonstrations and excursions ashore. The one to one guidance will make these 3 nights/4days a unique and valuable experience for those wishing to expand their artistic horizons. The trip is open to beginners and experienced painters alike. Mike will be working in both acrylics and watercolour.

Mike Svob

Mike Svob has been a full time artist since 1982. This year (2012) he is celebrating his 30th year as an professional artist. He is an impressionist that is easily identified by his signature use of strong bold colour. Fluent in watercolours, acrylics, and oils, to date Mike has had over 70 exhibitions and has produced 25 large scale murals throughout North America. He enjoys the creative process, is an avid map reader, a pilot, and a person with a great sense of adventure. His passion for travel and history has led him to paint a diverse range of subject matter.

Mike studied at the University of Western Ontario. He is a past president of the Federation of Canadian Artists and is also a senior member (SFCA) of this society. As an award-winning artist and a leading teacher and workshop instructor, Mike strongly believes that sharing knowledge among fellow artists and art students provides only positives results for all.

Mike Svob - Bear Crossing
Mike Svob - Kootenay Crossing

Mike is the author of the how to paint book "Painting Red Hot Landscapes That Sell." He has led painting workshops across North America and Europe. He is a skilled instructor that explains the painting process in a clear yet simple to understand way.

Svob's paintings are held in many private and corporate collections throughout the world. His work has been featured in International Artists Magazine, Magazin'Art, Artist Magazine, and American Artist. His paintings and ideas about painting can be found in several art books. He studied at the University of Western Ontario and is a past president and senior member of the Federation of Canadian Artists.

To learn more about the artist Mike Svob please visit his website.

Mike Svob - A Few Tows Left
Mike Svob - Falls at Bugaboo Trail
Mike Svob - North Coast

BC Cruising Tour - Painting with Robert Genn, Artist and Naturalist

We are delighted to once again welcome Robert Genn aboard the Columbia III for his third tour with Mothership Adventures.

Robert Genn Painting One of Canada's most accomplished painters, Robert Genn has gained international recognition for his Canadian West Coast landscapes, but has traveled and painted widely. His mobile studio has taken him across the North American continent several times to paint in most states and provinces. He has also captured landscapes in Central America, Europe and Asia.

Robert Genn Painting Over twenty galleries handle Genn's work and he gives two to five one-man shows yearly. He has been influenced by the Group of Seven (studied under Lawren Harris), Tom Thomson, and Emily Carr. The work of Walter Phillips also had a profound influence on his development. Genn paints daily and is constantly exploring and developing his medium. He carries on the honourable tradition of the Canadian Landscape with fresh, crisp, painterly techniques and strong compositions. He is also a regular participant in Painters at Painters in Campbell River.

Robert Genn Painting Robert Genn is also the writer behind The Painter's Keys, a bi-weekly letter, published online. He started the project in July 1999 as a forum for a world-wide community of creative people. The site is a vast resource of ideas, advice and resources.

Robert Genn Painting As a teacher, Genn likes to empower artists. He has a particular talent for delivering lively instructional talks while giving painting demonstrations. Students can expect engaged, enthusiastic facilitation. His own work will be in acrylic, but students may work in their favourite medium (acrylic, watercolour or pastels).

Robert is pleased at the prospect of leading a third workshop from the Columbia III. Having owned a few vintage vessels himself, he knows "a good, firm platform on which to paint," when he sees one. He expects to begin the cruise with a warm-up demonstration painting from the stern of the boat as they steam away from the dock, "to begin with an understanding of the process right from the start."

Robert Genn Painting

Painting the Coastal Landscape with Gaye Adams

Join Gaye Adams and the crew of the Columbia III for three incredible days of painting some of the most beautiful and remote coastal locations along the BC coast. The hospitality, scenery and accommodation will be top shelf. With a maximum of seven students aboard, participants will have whatever amount of input and coaching they desire or require.

Gaye Adams - Trees 1
Gaye Adams - Trees 2

Gaye encourages participants to work in their medium of choice, as the focus will be more on general painting principles than specifics related to a particular medium. She will be working in oils, her favorite plein air medium, but pastelists, watercolorists, and acrylicists are welcome.

Coaching will be geared to the experience level and personal style of each artist. Gaye will aid students in the process of finding strong design elements within the landscape, and rendering a convincing and engaging painting on location in a timely fashion. Learning to simplify the landscape and distill it down to it's important elements is the key to successful field studies.

Daily demos and lively discussions around all things art related will punctuate each glorious day aboard the Columbia III.

Gaye Adams - Emerald River
Gaye Adams - Birthday Bouquet

Take a look at her website and feel free to contact her directly with questions related to the painting aspects of the trip by emailing:; other inquiries should be directed to this site.

She is looking forward to working with you!

Gaye Adams As a child Gaye's closest companion was her sketch book, and she can't recall a time when she didn't draw. An enchantment with the natural world developed, and most especially the light which revealed and modeled the forms within it. Her interest in rendering the effects of light has endured as the focus of her work, and never ceases to fascinate and challenge her as a painter. She loves to share her passion, and is in demand as a workshop instructor. Gaye considers herself ever a student and has come to realize that sharing her knowledge with other painters on the journey brings both joy and fulfillment; it also provides a way for her to pay forward the generosity of her many teachers and mentors.

During the course of her painting career, she has explored many mediums and methods, initially as a pastelist and most currently oil paints, often painting on location outdoors. Gaye holds senior signature status with the Federation of Canadian Artists, has received her "Master Pastellist" designation from the Pastel Artists of Canada, and is also a member of the Oil Painters of America.

She has garnered awards at the international level and has had articles and images in numerous art publications. When not traveling to paint or teach, she works out of her home studio in Blind Bay, British Columbia.

Keeping an Illustrated Journal with Alison Watt, Artist and Naturalist

Cruise Desolation Sound with Alison and luxuriate in five relaxing, unhurried days of illustrating, painting and journaling.

We are pleased to have Alison Watt, author and illustrator of "The Last Island" joining us for 2011. Her focus for this painting tour will be "Keeping An Illustrated Journal".

Arbutus Berries An illustrated journal is a wonderful way to keep a record of day-to-day life as well as travel. A quick illustration can capture a memory in a unique way. During the five days aboard Columbia III we will go over materials (journals, watercolours, pencil crayon, pens), and techniques (basic watercolour and pen and ink). We will learn how to simplify a scene to make a quick sketch, using some basic rules of composition, as well as review specific techniques of landscape painting. There will be an emphasis on how to make decisions on what to leave out of /put into quick and satisfying field drawings for your journals as well as how to use these sketches to create larger paintings. We will go over the work we do in the field and, using demonstrations and exercises, discuss the special challenges of coastal landscape: greens, water, sky and clouds, rock and forest. Finally we will explore creative ideas to get you started on your own illustrated journal. Paper, pencil crayons and pens provided. Each student will also receive a custom bound journal. A materials list will be provided on registration.

Desolation Sound, with its dramatic mountain landscape and serene, calm anchorages is the perfect coastal setting for a tour devoted to painting and journaling. Weather permitting - and June is usually excellent - we will visit Mitlenatch Island, a stunning jewel in the Strait of Georgia. Each day will also include painting or sketching outdoors, shore excursions, savoury wholesome meals and camaraderie around the galley table over a glass of wine. With its small group of seven participants the Columbia III will travel each day to a new location within this spectacular area. The one to one guidance will make these five days a unique and valuable experience for those wishing to expand their artistic horizons. The trip is open to beginners and experienced painters alike.


Alison Watt: Artist, Poet, Author, Naturalist, Teacher Alison Watt

Alison Watt is a naturalist, artist, and writer who lives with her husband Kim on Protection Island near Nanaimo B.C., where they have raised two children, Lindsay and Sophie.

Alison grew up in Victoria B.C., studied biology at Simon Fraser University and botany at the University of British Columbia. She has worked as Education Coordinator at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, a tour leader in Central and South America, and a naturalist aboard west coast vessels, traveling among B.C.'s Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii, the Great Bear Rainforest, and Alaska.

Alison's background informs both her painting and writing. Watercolours and acrylics draw on images from nature. Her non-fiction book, set on a remote seabird colony, is a moving memoir about life and death in the human and natural world. In her poems, scenes of ordinary life unfold in a backdrop of light cycles, tides, and weather, and attempt to capture the lyricism of the processes of nature. Some are set in an Amazon Research station and explore taxonomy and diversity. In others, she moves past nature as a backdrop to delve more deeply into its inner, often invisible workings (photosynthesis, pollination…) to release them from the language of science.

Last Island Cover

A Naturalist's Sojourn on Triangle Island

by Alison Watt

Filled with adventures and revelations and illustrated with delightful watercolour paintings, The Last Island is a beautifully written testament to the environment, friendship, and the endurance of the human spirit.

At twenty-three, Alison Watt left the comfort of a relationship and urban life to spend four months studying tufted puffins on Triangle Island, a remote bird sanctuary far off the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

She spent her summer in the company of Anne Vallée, a serious young biologist whose dedication to her field made her a formidable and inspiring mentor. Now, in the sixteen years since Watt last visited the island, Anne has died, and from the moment Watt arrives to do more research, she is flooded with memories of the summer they spent together.

Told in a gripping diary form, The Last Island blends native legends, evolutionary theory, scientific knowledge and an appreciation for the delicate balance required for creatures as small as krill and as large as fin whales to survive. Watt brings the island to life, recreating through sensual detail the sounds, smells, sights, tastes and textures of this desolate bird haven. Perhaps even more importantly, she recreates the jagged inner landscape of a young woman worn and warmed by months of seclusion.

First Nations Cultural tour in the Broughton Archipelago with Lillian Hunt

Intimately experience the beautiful coastal rainforest home of the First Nations people, past and present.

First Nations carver We are very excited to be offering for the fifth year running, this unique collaboration between Mothership Adventures, the U'mista Cultural Centre and the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations of Alert Bay, British Columbia.

From 10,000 years ago to the present, the Aboriginal people of coastal British Columbia have centered their society around, what was to them, the essence of life and what we now call "Art and Culture". At the world renowned U'mista Cultural Centre and Museum, our First Nations guide will introduce you to the complexities of the extravagant ceremony called the "Potlatch" with its myths, masks and regalia. You'll visit a modern "Big House" to feast and sway in the firelight to the drumming of the traditional dances. Aboard the Columbia III you'll travel to ancient village sites (including Mimkwamlis, site of the famous potlatch held during the prohibition of traditional ceremonies) to walk on shell-midden beaches and breathe the salt air where the roots of these cultural traditions first took hold. Join us aboard the Columbia III and enrich your appreciation for this remarkable cultural heritage.

First Nations dancer Born and raised in Alert Bay, home of the Namgis First Nation, Lillian Hunt has been Curator of Cultural Tourism Programs for the U'mista's Potlatch Collection for that last 8 years. With her wry wit and extensive knowledge of her Nation's history, Lillian will bring to life the rich cultural heritage of the Kwakwaka'wakw, both ancient and modern.

The Columbia III departs from Port McNeill at 6pm and returns to Port McNeill four nights later between 2-3 pm in the afternoon after a fascinating and in- depth introduction to the world of the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations. First Nations longboat

Artist Tour with Alan Wylie


Alan Wylie Painting Imagine yourself surrounded by the majesty of Desolation Sound as you paint under the guidance of renowned artist and instructor Alan Wylie. This will be a wonderful opportunity for painting enthusiasts to explore Desolation Sound, a magnificent section of the B.C. coast, while at the same time receiving instruction from an experienced painter and teacher. With a small group of seven participants there will be a flexible schedule with daily exercises, demonstrations and excursions ashore. The one to one guidance will make these 3 nights/4days a unique and valuable experience for those wishing to expand their artistic horizons. The trip is open to beginners and experienced painters alike.

Alan Wylie, AWS DF, SFCA, NWWS, CIPA, CWA, was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1938. He graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1960 with a degree in Mural Design and Mosaics. He immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1967 and began a career as a full-time artist and teacher.

Alan Wylie Painting

Alan has won many awards for his paintings, including the top prize at the recent Adirondacks National Exhibition of Americas participated in innumerable solo and group exhibitions, and has created large murals in and on the exteriors of public buildings. He moved to British Columbia in 1973 and married his wife, artist Janice Robertson, in the early 1990's. Vancouver Island residents will recognize his name among the select group of artists who participate at the Painters at Painters festival (Painters Lodge in Campbell River) each year.

Alan Wylie

Digital Photography workshop with Ron Watts in Desolation Sound

Digital photography has revolutionized the way we all take pictures. From the composition of the photo to the manipulation of the data after the image is captured, there is a tremendous amount to learn. Here is an exciting opportunity to learn from Ron Watts, one of British Columbia's best known photographers. This trip is the perfect opportunity to develop your photographic abilities while enjoying the stunning beauty of Desolation Sound aboard the Columbia III.

Mountain Lake
Desolation Sound offers much variety, from Mitlenatch Island out in the open Gulf of Georgia, to the narrow passages under the snow capped peaks of the Coast Range. We will spend a good part of a day at beautiful Mitlenatch, which was established as a Provincial Nature Park in 1961 and is the largest seabird colony in the Straight of Georgia. There is much opportunity for photographing, as in June the island is covered in spring flowers, especially wild roses, (a few prickly pear cactus as well!) and sea birds abound " glaucous-winged gulls, pelagic cormorants, double crested cormorants, pigeon guillemots, rhinoceros auklets, and black oystercatchers. There is a small "bird blind" from where we'll watch some of the 3000 pairs of glaucous-winged gulls sitting on their eggs.

For marine mammals, harbour seals and northern and Californian sea lions haul out on the rocks on the island, snorting and bellowing - quite a sight " and at low tide, the tide pools provide excellent viewing for twelve species of star fish, sea anenomes, crabs, shrimp, and a variety of small fish such as sculpins, sand dabs, pipefish, shiners and greenling.

Mitlenatch is a lovely serene island to wander the trails on, and because there are almost no trees, the vista of the sea is all around with endless photographing possibilities.

On other islands such as Marina Island we'll roam about at low tide, turning over rocks, and seeing/ photographing the intertidal life that makes its home there. Marina Is has a lovely long sand spit (called Shark Spit), where we can wander about as well…(We often see deer here)

As we tour along the passages closer to the inlets, we'll notice a change in the topography as the land gets steeper and the mountains higher. The forested slopes are a mix of western hemlock, Douglas fir and red cedar, while the shoreline is fringed with the bright greenery of salal. We'll go ashore in our inflatable skiff for walks to fresh water lakes on well-used forest trails, (it may be warm enough to swim!) or pause and examine the mysterious pictographs on some very spectacular cliffs. We may visit a First Nations village site, called the "Flea Village", where Captain George Vancouver once set foot...(no fleas there now)….All along the way, if we keep an eye out, we'll have the opportunity to see seals, minks, river otters, porpoises, eagles, deer and even black bears.

Each night we'll anchor in a different place, and each day we'll have outings away from the ship. If we venture up Toba Inlet (depending on weather and time " how long we've spent at the other places), we'll go ashore at the river estuary " a whole different "ecosystem" again.

If guests want to photograph old coastal buildings/ settlements as well as the natural world, we can make a stop at picturesque Refuge Cove, a tiny, isolated community on West Redonda Island. And along an uninterrupted shoreline of rock and trees, hidden from view, very far from any settlement, is a mysterious grave, with quite a beautiful headstone, a hundred years or so old, of two small children…No one knows the story…

Ron will be on hand to share his knowledge from more than twenty years photographing in Canada and around the world for such clients as En Route, WestWorld, Canadian Geographic, Vancouver Magazine, Photo Life and British Columbia Magazine.

In the relaxed, informal atmosphere of the Columbia III, we will discuss all aspects of photographic technique with an opportunity to review photos from each day's outing for those using digital cameras. All skill levels are welcome, the only pre-requisite being a love of nature and an inquisitive spirit.

For those who are interested I would welcome any feedback about specific topics you would like to see covered while on the trip.

Ron Watts has been a professional photographer of people and places for more than two decades. His passion for new experience and discovery has fueled many trips to diverse parts of the globe. The search for the unexpected has taken him on assignment to Africa, South East Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, the Caribbean and across much of North America.

Ron's photographs have graced the covers of many of Canada's leading magazines and he is a regular contributor to British Columbia Magazine and WestWorld. Book projects include: Last of The Wild Horses: Key Porter Adventures In Photography: Hurtig Coastlines Of North America: Discovery Books In addition, he has participated in many titles for White Cap Books depicting the North American landscape.

Ron is a founding member and partner in First Light (see images), an image agency based in Toronto. In the United States and around the world Ron's photographs are represented by All Canada Photos.

Ron Watts

Great Bear Rainforest Videography workshop with Pat Morrow

Each year we have many guests joining us with their digital video cameras. Now is the perfect chance to explore fantastic wilderness settings and learn more about this exciting medium with an award winning expert, Pat Morrow.

In this workshop, we'll learn basic shooting and editing techniques that will enhance our ability to tell a story on videotape. We'll document fishing bears and wolves, native people's villages, and beach walks on the rugged outer coast. Each evening we'll download our footage into a computer editing program and at the end of the week take home a group video that sums up our adventures. Additionally, Pat & Baiba will give nightly screenings of some of the award- winning films they have shot or produced.

Last autumn, assisted by Farlyn Campbell of the Columbia III family, Pat spent several weeks in the Great Bear Rainforest area working alongside wildlife film specialists Jeff and Sue Turner. The Turners are producing a documentary about the life cycle of the salmon for the BBC Planet Earth Series, and Pat shot a "making of" film that will accompany theirs, for broadcast in 2008.

Pat has given photo and video workshops in diverse locations, from the Purcell Wilderness (Ptarmigan Tours Ski Operator) area in winter to the backcountry of the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park (Thompson University College, Kamloops) to whale-watching onboard Island Roamer in Johnstone Strait (Emily Carr College), and the Coast Range near Whistler, B.C. (Whistler Centre for the Arts).

Pat and Baiba Morrow Pat and Baiba Morrow are a peripatetic creative team, based at the edge of the Purcell Range in Wilmer, British Columbia. They are well known for their documentation of mountain cultures and adventures through their photography, video and film work. Their deep desire to search out and document remote, wild places has led them on assignments and expeditions to all seven continents, averaging six months a year in the field for the past 30 years. Together they have won eight national magazine awards. Their books include Beyond Everest: Quest for the Seven Summits; Himalayan Passage; The Yukon; and Footsteps in the Clouds - Kangchenjunga a Century Later.

In 1987 Pat received the Order of Canada in recognition of his achievement of being the first to climb the highest mountain on all seven continents (documented in book, magazine articles and video). At the Banff Festival of Mountain Films in 1990, he was honoured with the Summit of Excellence award for his work in documenting the mountain experience.

Over the last twelve years Pat and Baiba have expanded their tools of the trade to include video and film, and are now working exclusively in that medium. They have worked on more than 50 mountain films for such broadcasters as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Life Network, ESPN, and the Canadian International Development Agency. Their self-produced documentary, "The Magic Mountain" has won three awards at international mountain film festivals to date.

In addition to six seasons of prescreening duties for the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Pat has sat on the film jury of four international mountain film festivals: Banff, X 2, Vancouver, and Gratz, Austria.

Natural History Tour with Bill Merilees

Bill Merilees returns and expands his range. Girl with binoculars

Bill Merilees led two tours to the Desolation Sound area last year. It was his first acquaintance with the Columbia III and the crew of Mothership Adventures. Much to our pleasure, Bill had a wonderful time and readily agreed to return in 2007 with an expanded schedule and list of destinations. We will be returning to the Desolation Sound area again for one tour as this is Bill's home stomping grounds. In addition, Bill really wanted to explore the rich wildlife of the Broughton Archipelago with us and how could we refuse! There is so much to learn with Bill along and we look forward to traveling in the archipelago with him.

Join well known naturalist/writer/tour leader, Bill Merilees, aboard the Columbia III. With our comfortable mothership always nearby, we'll take daily outings to shore to view the rich, vibrant life on the British Columbian coast. Anchoring in a new cove each night, we will enjoy gourmet meals, lively company and cozy beds. With Bill's faithful following, these trips booked quickly last year so book early to avoid disappointment.

Bear on Shore Bill Merilees, a retired professional biologist and park naturalist for forty-five years, will inspire us with his knowledge, experience and contagious enthusiasm, deepening our appreciation of the natural world of coastal British Columbia. From the smallest shells (and we mean REALLY small!) to the history of introduced plant and animal species, Bill's wealth of local knowledge keeps everyone fascinated.

Desolation Sound with Bill Merilees

Bill knows this area better than anyone! From the gorgeous wildflower displays on the seabird nesting colony of Mitlenatch Island to the rich intertidal reefs of the northern Gulf of Georgia, Bill has been working and researching this area his whole life. Departing from Campbell River, we will return mid-afternoon on the last day.

Broughton Archipelago with Bill Merilees

We are really looking forward to exploring the Broughton Archipelago with Bill in 2008. The homeward bound salmon draw abundant marine wildlife into these waters each summer including the world famous population of northern resident killer whales (orcas) providing spectacular sightings. Additionally, humpback whales, minke whales, Stellar sea lions, and Pacific White-sided dolphins and many species of sea birds not seen on the lower coast such as Rhinoceros Auklets, Phalaropes, flock to this area to feast. The influence of the open Pacific on the Broughton Archipelago produces some of the world's most diverse intertidal marine life; a perfect place to learn from Bill. Departing from Port McNeill mid-morning, we will return mid-afternoon on the last day.

Great Bear Rainforest with Naturalist Sabina Leader Mense

Spirit Bear

Swans Join Sabina, world renowned naturalist, on an educational exploration of the newly protected Great Bear Rainforest. We will travel aboard the comfortable Columbia III from the rugged outer coast with its rich intertidal marine life, to the steep granite-sided fjords where the salmon, returning to the lush river estuaries to spawn, draw eagles, bears and wolves. Using our sturdy skiff for shore excursions we will take daily outings to view wildlife from small to large! If we are lucky we'll observe grizzly bears feeding on the spawning salmon or even glimpse the elusive white Spirit Bear. Sabina will bring to life the fascinating details of this pristine coastal ecosystem with her exuberant wealth of knowledge.

Trained on Canada's Pacific Coast as a marine biologist, Sabina has been involved in educational tourism traveling the far reaches of the world since 1986. With her contagious enthusiasm, Sabina's forte is the design and delivery of educational programs promoting awareness and knowledge of the natural environment.

Departing Bella Bella on Sunday afternoon, we will return the following Saturday after a inspirational week.

Swimming Grizzly Bear

Great Bear Rainforest Photography Kayak Tour

Kayak with Professional photographer, Robert Berdan

Robert Berdan returns! Again!

Robert Berdan After very popular and successful tours in 2006 and 2007, Robert will be joining us once again in the Great Bear Rainforest area. His relaxed and informative style was a true pleasure and he produced some spectacular shots - you can view some of his shots in the photo gallery on our website! After the great grizzly bear viewing we had with Robert in 2007 we are hoping the 9 night tour in 2008 will allow us to capture the Spirit Bear on film. Let's hope we are lucky!

Robert will accompany us on the Great Bear Rainforest kayak tour and share his expertise with anyone interested in honing their photography skills. All levels of photographers and paddlers are welcome. He will photograph along side you and demonstrate hands-on techniques. He can cover both the basics and the advanced topics and is a master at both digital and film. He is a patient and enthusiastic teacher, making your learning experience a delight. And what better a place to hone your photography skills than the stunning beauty of British Columbia's central coast!

Berdan Bears Berdan Sunset Berdan Dock
Robert's expertise will be available to everyone interested, but non-camera buffs won't be excluded! We will paddle and cruise our usual route through the spectacular wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest making a first class holiday for everyone, camera crazy or not!

Berdan Eagle in flight

Uculet Sunset Robert Berdan is passionate about nature, science, and wildlife photography. His professional experience includes photojournalism, various type of scientific photography and virtual reality imaging. His photos have been on the cover of scientific journals, magazines and his images have won international awards including Banff International Mountain Photo Contest and Nikon International photo contest. Recent publications include Photo Life and Canadian Geographic. Robert shoots with 35 mm, digital and 4 x 5 large format cameras.