Category Archives: Tours

Summer 2014

Oh my gosh!! I don’t think skippers should write blogs . . . I  get so far behind and really cool things happen and I forget to grab my camera and capture the blog-moments that I “should”. Here is a random summer sampler. Steve took many of these photos. He gave me his stash of shots after I  had already posted many on  our site so here are some  more!

Luke. Lead guide, lead skipper after me, lead shipwright, awesome photographer dude and pretty darn great as a son-in-law too._DSC0532


Kayak guide and life time (at least her life time) friend and neighbour, Robin Humphreys._DSC0577

White-sided dolphins follow the COLUMBIA III_DSC0583





Oh hey! Now this is exciting! A new tender for the Columbia III. Just a little bigger than the old one and kinda shiny on the arrival date. It took almost 6 months to custom make and we pressed it into service on the “fly” in mid June. _DSC0432

Tavish on a photo shoot of the COLUMBIA III with Fern and I yelling, “TAVISH HANG ON YOU FOOL!”_DSC0516

Ah, those perfect, still, foggy Broughton mornings before the sun burns off the mists and the blue sky is revealed._DSC0657




Ace guide/paramedic, Luke Roman. Always the same great smile . . .  he even tolerates me._DSC0674

Here is a guest, a firefighter from BC with a . . . well . . . a weird hat!_DSC0681

OK, Ok, it can rain SOMETIMES._DSC0691

The group leaves the mothership for another day at “sea”._DSC0701


Why does everyone seem so relaxed! The skipper is headed for the rocks!_DSC0712

Do you really need a telephoto lens for a rock that close?_DSC0715 _DSC0716

Lots of steep granite in BC.Mothership_fun_time-1931

Nice t-shirt.


We so see sunsets in the Great Bear Rainforest._DSC0754

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. . . and waterfalls . . . Here is Phil from Seattle. This  summer his  private group chartered the COLUMBIA III for the second time.  I think we will see them again._DSC0761

. . . and Phil is an artist. From the guest logbook, this is Fern’s fiddle on the salon sofa._DSC0814

and more water falls . . .



These are guests returning  from bear viewing in the fall Great Bear._DSC0777

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and a few of Steve’s shots:Mothership_fun_time-1228 Mothership_fun_time-1313 Mothership_fun_time-1322 Mothership_fun_time-1404 Mothership_fun_time-1439




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Another crew shot. Christina Purcell filled in so Fern could have some much deserved time off the boat._DSC0872

The skipper hard at work as usual. It’s a tough job being so busy . . . ._DSF8397

Boomer Jerritt came again this year. Here are a few shots:_E5Q0253 _E5Q9516

Crew shot: Erin Rowsell loves to cook and take pictures, so she asked to be on Boomer’s tour._E5Q9583 _E5Q9605

Cameras and music!_E5Q9795 _MG_6047 CIMG6963

Don’t piss off the Skipper!!DSC_0910 copy

Here is our son, Tavish and a group Ian McAllister of Pacific Wild brought  together. We try to donate the use of the COLUMBIA III to Ian and Karen each year to help support their great conservation work on the BC coast.  Ian McAllister's Mothership Adventures charter 2014

Mothership_fun_time-1998 Mothership_fun_time-2032 Mothership_fun_time-2052 Pacific Mothership Adventures charter 2014

Mark Hobson came with us again this year and the weather certainly cooperated!Mothership_fun_time-60 Mothership_fun_time-106 Mothership_fun_time-118 Mothership_fun_time-120

The Broughton Archipelago was full of orca this summer. It was marvelous to see them all!Mothership_fun_time-224

Mothership_fun_time-311   Mothership_fun_time-331

Here is a cool sequence. Steve caught these orcas that decided they wanted to “check us out” Here one is approaching us . . .Mothership_fun_time-370

and diving under the COLUMBIA III !!!Mothership_fun_time-371 Mothership_fun_time-373

and you can just see the white eye-patch below the handrail . . .Mothership_fun_time-376

and out the other side of the boat . . .Mothership_fun_time-384

and breaking the surface on the other side. With another orca clearly visible under water!Mothership_fun_time-386






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And another sequence of shots: A few humpback whales are working together to get dinner. One whale circles a school of small fish whilst emitting a stream of bubbles . . . This is called “bubble netting”Mothership_fun_time-843

and then the other whales charge the concentrated fish school with their mouths open.Mothership_fun_time-845

and load up on dinner. This can happen over and over with lots of great photo opportunities and just plain awesome to watch . . . to heck with the cameras.Mothership_fun_time-848

and here are 4 humpbacks just off the bow of the COLUMBIA III on a very still day. Their breath seemed to hang in the air permanently.Mothership_fun_time-1508

and if you are REALLY!!!! lucky . . . I. McAllister breaching humpback

And creek side walks looking for returning salmon:Mothership_fun_time-1191

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a few more of Steve’s “wildlife “shots







Oops, these guys don’t look too wild. . . Mothership_fun_time-1887 Mothership_fun_time-1888

Steve’s crew shots: Luke Roman and Rowan Kehn . . .slaving in the galleyMothership_fun_time-1915

and posing for a crew poster shot. . .  the cook has a few minutes off each day . . Mothership_fun_time-1922 Mothership_fun_time-1928

Tavish is always looking for an unusual angle on a shot.  Mothership_fun_time-1938

Linda Hogarth, a Campbell River museum tour guide that lead a wonderful tour on Coastal History this summer._DSC0413




and a nice shot of  Fern._DSC0421

another end of tour group shot . .  IMG_2813


Great Bear Rainforest Expedition with Robert Bateman & Royal Canadian Geographical Society

We are excited to announce a very special collaborative trip with Maple Leaf Adventures in the Great Bear Rainforest with Robert Bateman, Birgit Freybe Bateman, and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Just 7 places are available. Dates: June 19-27, 2014.


This is a great season for bear viewing, wildflowers and other wildlife. Summer’s long days of light allow us to explore widely, as the Batemans share their love of this coast with us.


The trip raises funds for Society projects and coastal conservation. Contact Mothership Adventures for information, or see Details and brochure or 1-250-386-7245 / 1-888-599-5323 or by email (

View a video of Robert Bateman talking about the Great Bear Rainforest

Great Bear Rainforest Kayaking Mothership Tours 2013

Once again we found ourselves in the Great Bear Rainforest. What a treat! We never see the same things twice, no group ever sees everything, but everyone leaves happy and wanting to return for more.  About 40% of our guests in the GBR in 2013 were repeat guests, so you can get the idea that they liked what they saw and came back for more. We certainly do! Every tour is different and all are exciting for us as crew . . .  Here is a TOTALLY random sampler of shots . . .  just remember the really good shots of wildlife are kept safe in the photo gallery on our site.

A few “teaser” shots . . .


and a grizzly in the fjords . . . _DSC7959

and a very rare occurrence: a grizzly momma with 3 young cubs.
Grizzly mother and  3 cubs canada bear viewing tours

A relaxing lunch stop._DSC6634

Here’s a great shot, Steve helps a guest at the back of the Columbia III, but look at the fjord’s steep sided walls behind them!_DSC8285

Guide Luke caught a salmon trolling from the kayaks and lunch became beach-fire roasted salmon . . .mmm!_DSC8308

I know I look smashing in PINK . ..  . the photographers always say they like some colour in their shots for “drama”!
_DSC6382 - Ross on the Columbia

A really great “come-back” story is the humpback whales on the BC coast and especially in the GBR. We have many, many sightings this summer with some spectacular displays of bubble netting.  Here one whale swims in circles under water whilst emitting a steady stream of bubbles. This “curtain” of air bubbles entraps a school of fish and  the 3 remaining humpback whales surge up from below, mouths agape, to swallow the little fish. It is very dramatic and easy to predict where the action will be as the circle of bubbles on the surface marks the spot. Get your cameras ready!!!!_DSC9763


A great shot of Farlyn, skipper/cook/daughter/ wild salmon – old growth trees advocate:007

It’s always fun when Steve and Luke Roman guide together. It helps to be best friends, on and off the “job”.2013-08-02 03.36.46

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And then we still have trouble motivating our son-in-law, Luke Hyatt . . .  (not!)2013-08-17_22-06-58_k

Here is a shot of Sheila, she came for two tours this summer and I am sure we will see her again. Easy going and appreciative, she’d be welcome on any tour we offer.DSC_5297

Just another group shot . . . well, we do get to meet some pretty interesting folks in the course of the summer.  This group includes a fellow who’s hand-prints are painted on the lunar module still sitting on the moon (he is a rocket scientist, really!), and a paddler who was a Zen monk turned Jungian psychologist,  and a guest who was a world expert surgeon specializing in re-attachment surgery for hands and who had made a wooden boat and sailed it around the world and won international rowing competitions even in his 70’s . . . .  DSC_5485


Ace guide, Steve Schellenberg geared up for the GBR. Binoculars, camera, radio, pepper spray, sun glasses, life jacket and maucho stubble . . .  Steve will be guiding polar bear tours in the fall this year as well.IMG_6826

Sun and sand in the GBR . . . .IMG_6865



This is our group from our 9 night tour into the GBR.  One couple were there for their fourth tour (including a whole boat charter in 2009), one couple were there for there second tour with us, and Scott was there for his 5th tour with us! 6 weeks in the  GBR! . . . It was like a home coming. The other guests were a little perplexed the first day but they understood by the time they left . . . IMG_6951


Here Fern captures Luke capturing a spirit bear . . .  they are so rare, it is always very exciting when we are lucky enough to see one. The GBR is not a zoo!IMG_6962

An aft deck crab party. Ian and Karen along to show us around their home turf.IMGP5612


Robert’s grand father designed the COLUMBIA III. Maybe it makes him partial to the old girl. He joined us for his 4th tour this fall.IMGP5625

Now here is a real “sea story” for you . . . About 35 years ago, Fern found a heavy-duty coffee mug in the Sally-Anne. I  think she paid 50 cents. But the mug had staying power. When I owned and operated an old wooden tugboat, it became my “tugmug”. Over the years, it just seemed to “be there”. Our kids were born, and grew. I flew helicopters for 17 years. I imagined my tugmug on the Columbia III and that came true. And I skippered the mothership for nine years.  But on the last night of our 2013 season, the very last night, there was a slight “clunk” sound from the galley. A soapy, slippery plate fell. A direct hit on the mug. “Oops! I hope that cup wasn’t special to Ross” . . . . a deckhand claimed casually . . .
So I propped the two fractured halves on the Columbia III’s compass, took a quick photo and “over the side” it went. I shed a few tears. Why? I could never explain. It was just a 50 cent mug . . . with too much imbued into its porcelain. Bye, bye.IMGP5628

Let’s pretend this is me watching the 2 halves of the mug sink out of sight . . .ross 003

It certainly can rain the the GBR in the fall, but it can also be wonderfully sunny and warm.tavishcampbell-1215