kayak in the realm of the whales


the video

the story

This project was proposed to me on very short notice, and before I knew it I was flying out to a remote area off the northwestern coast of Vancouver Island. Spirit of the West Adventures asked me to create a promo video for them, and although what they do can be seen as fairly simple – guided sea kayak tours – it is also a very complex endeavour in an incredibly diverse area. Their trips run in the Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Archipelago, and despite the obvious human presence up there, this area feels wild and relatively untouched. I quickly realized that this was about so much more than sea kayaking. I decided to devote much of my time to filming wildlife and the landscape, while also capturing the people and the essence of the company. This was a complicated task as I did this mainly while following along with a few expeditions. The days were long but I enjoyed every minute.


This was a special project for me because it was my first experience with whales, and you really can’t understand how majestic this creatures are until you see them in person. It was also the first project that I made full use of a drone which was essential in capturing both wildlife and the grandeur of the area. Rick Snowdown, the owner of Spirit of the West Adventures, devoted a few days to driving me around in his Boston Whaler in order to make full use of the drone. Flying out of a 16-foot boat is a very complicated endeavour, especially when following humpback whales around through tumultuous currents, but we escaped unscathed.

When you are graced with such interesting subject matter I believe it is important to give it special treatment. I felt that the video would be much stronger if we left out specific details about the company and concentrated more on the area and the experience. I wanted to transport people there, give them a sense of the majesty, all while communicating the experience of going on a Spirit of the West trip. They were very pleased with the end result, saying: “you did it, you really captured what we’re all about.”

Gotta love drones!

Below is a raw drone shot following two killer whales. Song is ‘Going to Acapulco’ by Jim James and Calexico (originally Bob Dylan, or course). Enjoy.


the images