Island Mariner Cruises is the most experienced company offering whale watching in the San Juan Islands. Based in Bellingham, Washington, the company celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2012. This company knows how to provide great value for your entertainment dollar. A large part of that value is provided by the crew of the Island Caper cruise boat. I have been on three voyages on the Island Caper, and speak from first hand experience.
Captain Doane Brodie has been a licensed ship’s Captain for over 40 years. His experience includes hundreds of cruise voyages throughout the Pacific Northwest including many in the waters off Alaska. His knowledge of the waters around the San Juan Islands is unparalleled in the cruise industry. You certainly feel safe and secure with Captain Brodie at the helm of the Island Caper. I could have talked to Captain Brodie for hours.
John Wiffer is the Engineer for the Island Caper. Known as Wiff, he makes sure the mechanical aspects of the craft are in full working order. Wiff also has a sharp eye for spotting wildlife.
Naturalist Katie Anderson recently received her degree in Wildlife Biology and Environmental Science from Western Washington University. Katie was fortunate enough to move right from college into an exciting job on the Island Caper. Her enthusiasm and knowledge both shine when she points out the varied wildlife species that make up the fauna of the the San Juan Islands.
Naturalist and historian Dan Bailey has a long and varied career. He was a commercial fisherman for decades, fishing the waters of the Pacific from Oregon to Alaska. He is a middle school teacher of natural history during the school months. During the summer months he serves on the Island Caper. His “history lessons” and local anecdotes provide a real treat for all passengers. Be ready: Dan has been known to give a quiz or two!
During one of my voyages I had a lengthy conversation with Dan on the stern of the Island Caper. I asked him what he liked best about his job. With a sincere smile on his face he answered “Doing this. Sharing information and interacting with the passengers!” That’s Dan.
I would be remiss without mentioning Terry Buzzard, the owner of Island Mariner Cruises. Mr. Buzzard is a true gentleman and a gracious host. He keeps a low profile, but was on one of the cruises that my family and I took. His life-long love of the islands is intense, his knowledge of the wildlife is unsurpassed, and his quiet demeanor is a joy to experience.
Simply put, the crew allows all passengers to feel comfortable on the voyage. That level of comfort translates into a development of camaraderie between all on board. Regardless of whether you are a family, a couple, or even traveling alone you will feel a part of the voyage. There are no strangers on an Island Caper whale watching cruise. You can book a cruise or get more information on the Island Mariner website.