West Coast Wildlife & Indigenous Cultural Experience – July 7-10, 2022

Orcas near Tofino, BC (August 2021)

This inaugural workshop will take place on Vargas Island, a 15 minute boat ride from Tofino, BC. Vargas has only 7 permanent residents and offers a pristine wilderness experience. Guests will stay at the incredible Cedar Coast Field Station nestled between the shoreline and the rainforest on Vargas Island. Wolves are often seen wandering the beach just outside the station!

Wolf on the Beach near the Cedar Coast Field Station (August 2021)

If you have ever gone whale watching you will know the frustration of finally seeing whales and then your short excursion is over and leaves you wanting more. On this tour we have a captain and boat available to us 24-7 for the whole trip so that we can stay out shooting for as long as the light and wildlife are happening. Captain Lennie “Skookum” John is our indigenous guide and his partner Marcie Callewaert-John live on Vargas and have intimate knowledge of the wildlife and culture. Marcie regularly leads educational tours of the area and is an excellent photographer, diver, paddler and naturalist.

Sea Otters near Vargas Island (August 2021)

Our boat excursions will take us in search of black and grizzly bears feeding on the tidelines, orcas, grey whales, tufted puffins, blue herons, and sea otters. Our on-land experiences will include indigenous dancers and cultural learning opportunities, as well as some of the most stunning coastal landscapes you will find anywhere, just outside your door.

Sunrise from Vargas Island, Cedar Coast Field Station (August 2021)

This tour is open to 6 participants. It is highly recommended that you have some experience travelling by small boat (i.e. whale-watching) and know that you are ‘sea worthy’, as shooting with a long lens on a moving boat can be challenging. Chef John Garside (my cousin) will be our cook for the trip and he promises to have some delicious meals prepared for us! The price of the tour is $3500 CAD and includes your meals and accommodation while on Vargas Island, transport to and from Tofino and Vargas, guides, boat tours, photography classes and cultural experiences. Deposit of $1000 to hold your spot. If for reasons of Covid safety the trip is not possible, initial deposits will be refunded or moved to the 2023 trip. Please email me for details on availability at debragarsidephotography@gmail.com.

Grey Whale Near Vargas Island (August 2021)
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