Meet Our Guides

Using his extensive experience and knowledge, Tim puts each of his carefully chosen guides through rigorous training and then an assistant-guide apprenticeship program.


Our guide turnover rate is the lowest in the industry! When your guide is ready to lead your trip, you can rest assured that he or she has a solid foundation of experience and knowledge to make your trip safe (all guides are CPR/first aid certified), educational and adventurous. Our guides are simply the very best. Please join us for our 40th season!

 
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Tara Plank | Sea Kayak Guide/Naturalist/Training Specialist

Tara (34 yrs.) hails from northern Indiana where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in environmental Studies and Secondary Education from Goshen College. She is also certified through the Whale Museum as a Salish Sea Marine naturalist. She is an island resident and has led trips for us for six years. Tara brings a strong background in marine mammal research and science education. She exudes a passion and knowledge for killer whales and the local marine ecosystem.

Additionally Tara has paddled in the Florida Keys, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and most  recently completed an epic, 8-day kayak trip in Baja’s Sea of Cortez with owners Tim and Sally Thomsen. This 100 mile journey from Loreto to La Paz was on her bucket list, and she passed with flying colors.

Tara is a pleasure to paddle with and all enjoy her wit, sincerity and pleasant demeanor. Besides leading sea kayak adventures in the San Juan Islands,Tara is pursuing a career in physical therapy.


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Grisha Krivchenia | Naturalist/Guide

Grisha Krivchenia (37 yrs.) grew up in Marietta, Ohio. He started canoeing with his grandparents as a preschooler. In adolescence, Grisha spent summer vacations rafting and kayaking the rapids of the New, Youghiogheny, Cheat and other beautiful Appalachian rivers.

In 2007, Grisha moved to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. He started the music program at Spring Street International School, where he taught for seven years. During these years, he began to develop a deeper relationship with the San Juan Island’s ecosystem. Snorkeling in the sound (with a wetsuit, of course!) brings him into close contact with the flora and fauna of the near-shore environment. Now Grisha spends the winter months touring the Western United States, working as a concert pianist and composer. He has performed past piano concerts from St. Petersburg, Russia to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Luckily for us,he always spends summer months on the island, tending to his raspberry patch and swimming, teaching piano and leading sea kayaking adventures. Grisha is a local resident and a rare talent and has a warmth of personality hard to find these days. We are pleased to have him aboard!


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Bobby Neill | Naturalist/Guide

Bobby (21 yrs.) is a student at Texas Christian University where he is pursuing a double major in Geography and Economics. He loves everything outdoors, but has a special passion for being on the water, whether it be paddling Texas class four rivers or the Salish Sea of Washington State. Bobby brings a wealth of knowledge about the islands and their natural history. He loves to expound upon jellyfish, river otters, sea lions, salmon and “everything under the sky.”  He is a student manager and adventure trip leader for the TCU Outdoor Program during the school year.

Additionally, he can answer any and all questions you may have about the hit TV series “The Office” as he considers himself an expert on the subject.

Bobby is outgoing, knowledgeable and energetic and just a hoot to paddle with.  He makes all of his trips educational and fun!


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Will Owen | Naturalist/Guide

Will (27 yrs.) is a Washington native with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science and marine ecology from Western Washington University. He has completed an internship with NOAA studying and kayaking in estuaries to ascertain the health of those Northwest ecosystems. He is most comfortable in a sea kayak but has recently spent a winter on the ski slopes of Utah, where he was cold a lot.

Will’s sea kayaking skills are at the top of his profession, so be careful, he might “pop a roll” on your kayak tour with us. He is the only person we know who has paddled through Deception Pass’s “Chasm of Doom!”. He has led sea kayaking tours with us for five years.

Will’s easy going nature, patience and warm heart make him a pleasure to paddle with.


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Heath McFadden | Naturalist/Guide

Heath (24 yrs.) comes to us from Georgia where he has an degree in outdoor education with a minor in business administration from Georgia College. He has been an outdoor enthusiast since his youth and has camped, kayaked, hiked and rock climbed his way around the eastern seaboard.

Heath has taught outdoor living skills to all ages and is at home on a climbing wall. His passions are paddling, sharing his knowledge of the flora and fauna of the San Juan Islands with our guests and mountain biking throughout the islands. He has spent the off-season snowboarding in Colorado.

Heath’s southern charm makes paddling with him like living a chapter from Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer only in a sea kayak instead of a raft

Seamus Tomkins | Naturalist/Guide

Seamus (28 yrs.) is a Washington native with over ten years experience in wilderness guiding.  His knowledge of mountains and sea is extensive.  Before coming to us, Seamus led whitewater kayaking/hiking tours in central Oregon and backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park and southern Utah.  Most recently, he guided day and multi-day sea kayak trips on the California coast at Pt. Reyes.

In 2003-04, Seamus was a volunteer coordinator in Juneau, Alaska for the National Council of Alcohol and Drug Addiction.  For eight months in 2007-08, he was a volunteer for Humana People to People working in Zambia and South Africa to bring clean water to and improve sxhool resources in rural villages.

Seamus is an energetic, knowledgeable and entertaining guide, and we are happy to have him on the team.