Box 569 Heriot Bay, British Columbia, Canada V0P 1H0
North America: 1.800.307.3982 | Local & Overseas:

We are here to assist you in any way we can.
North America: 1.800.307.3982
Local & Overseas:
[email protected]

    Meet The Team

    Some of the friendliest, most knowledgable and most professional guides on the coast. And they love what they do!

    Our Story and Our People

    Spirit of the West Adventures began in 1997 with an amazing passion for kayaking, killer whales and the British Columbia coast, and it has been the catalyst for many people's outdoor activity ever since. Based right here on the coast, we show you around with the pride of knowing it's our home. Take a few moments to meet the team behind the adventures.

    Meet the owners

    In 2006, longtime kayak guides Breanne Quesnel and Rick Snowdon joined as owners and continued Spirit of the West’s commitment to providing fun, safe and ecologically sound kayaking experiences in BC. While they have always been wilderness adventurers, being able to combine playtime with work infuses a client’s experience with a special kind of pleasure. After globetrotting for a few months most years, they always come back to their home on Quadra Island, BC, a testament to their love for the BC coast and the amazing opportunity for sea kayaking. As seagoing folk, Breanne and Rick love to live and breathe British Columbia coastal air. In 2014 Breanne and Rick welcomed their son Eamon to the paddling family. On New Year’s Eve 2015, Eamon’s little brother Rowan arrived.

    Breanne, Rick, Eamon & Rowan

    Breanne grew up in Ontario in a family who loved the outdoors. Much of her childhood was spent hiking, camping, canoeing, skiing and enjoying the fresh air. In 2002 Breanne completed an Honours Bachelor Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism and a Bachelor of Arts – Geography at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She also completed her Bachelor of Education in Sydney, Australia. Over the years, Breanne has worn many hats including that of whitewater canoe guide, tree planter, environmental educator, elementary and secondary school teacher, sea kayak guide and most recently as educational program co-ordinator, guide and operations manager with Spirit of the West. The allure of the British Columbia coast drew her west several years ago, and now she spends most of the year on Quadra Island and her winters traveling. Breanne is a perfect candidate to set you up with a complete outdoor kayaking experience.

    Rick spent his early years paddling in Ontario before heading to sea in tall ships for much of his high school years. He completed degrees in Outdoor Recreation and Biology at Lakehead University, as well as time studying oceanography in Woods Hole in 2000, interspersed with summers working search and rescue for the Canadian Coast Guard. Having sailed on the Great Lakes, California coast, North Atlantic and South Pacific, Rick took up sea kayaking in 1998. As a freelance writer, guide and photographer Rick has travelled around Canada and around the world, and has worked, volunteered and paddled in several countries including Vanuatu, Mexico, Australia, Ecuador, Grenada, Greenland, Antarctica, Chile and the Bahamas. He is past board member of the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC and current board member of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association.


    And the whole amazing crew

    Our staff and kayak guides are simply exceptional and match the culture and spirit of our organization. They all have an amazing passion for kayaking British Columbia and for the killer whales in the BC waters that make it such a great experience.

    Terms like self-reliance, adaptability, responsibility, confidence, and sense of humour all come to mind when describing their qualities. Considering that guides must perform in the multiple roles of wilderness guide, gourmet chef, role model and educator, it’s no surprise that they come from a wide variety of professions and backgrounds to each bring a unique and valued perspective to the way our business runs.

    Our guides are extremely skilled (and certified by the Sea Kayak Guides Alliance of BC) in kayaking, backcountry travel, responsible environmental practices, and high levels of first aid and safety procedures, continually upgrading their training and striving to improve knowledge and skills. And all our staff are adventurers in their own right – traveling and wilderness tripping doesn’t pause for us when the season’s over! Personal and training trips around the British Columbia coast and around the world keep us on top of our game. At the end of the day, what we ensure is that every trip is as safe and memorable as can be, and that you will not be disappointed kayaking the British Columbia coast.

    Adam Rosenbaum | Kayak Guide

    Adam was born and raised in Toronto, but spent his formative summers paddling and portaging wood canvas canoes through the lakes and rivers of northern Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador. A business management degree with a major in environmental sustainability led him to numerous roles across eCommerce, hospitality, fundraising, and food tech, but in 2019, he hung up his dress shirt for the last time and traded in his laptop for a kayak paddle. After completing the Adventure Guide Diploma at Thompson Rivers University in 2022, Adam moved to Campbell River and can now be found enjoying all that the ocean, mountains, and rivers of Vancouver Island have to offer. Through transformative multi-day sea kayaking trips, Adam hopes to share his awe for the natural world with others and highlight the importance of protecting wild places.

    Alana Columna | Kayak Guide

    Alana grew up in the industrial city of Hamiliton, Ontario, but took up a love for the natural environment when her family moved to Vancouver Island. Growing up in a Dominican household, she was introduced to adventure sports later in life, but she was hooked the moment she sent her first outdoor climb. Soon after, Alana graduated with a certificate in Adventure Tourism from Thompson Rivers University. Today, you can find Alana living out her days in her camper van, surfing in Tofino, climbing, hiking, kayaking both in the ocean and in raging rivers, and teaching others how to snowboard.

    Aleia Wyldawkes | Kayak Guide & Office Team

    Aleia grew up in Coquitlam, BC, and has always had the water and mountains as their backyard to play in. They took the Adventure Studies program at TRU, where their love for kayaking and guiding began. Aleia’s favourite part about being in nature is that every moment of every day is different and always offers new experiences to share. Given the opportunity, they can be found sitting by tide pools for hours at a time, watching the lives of the many tiny creatures unfolding slowly in the still water. When not guiding, Aleia can be found climbing, riding their bike, snacking or finding new and narrow places to squeeze their kayak into.

    Ali Funwin | Kayak Guide & Base Camp Operations

    Born and raised in British Columbia, Ali has a lifelong passion for adventure and outdoor exploring. She is a recent graduate of the North Island College Adventure Guiding program and lifelong student of the flora and fauna. When she's not on the water, Ali can be found in the woods foraging for mushrooms or in the kitchen workshopping new recipes. Ali looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm and knowledge for everything our North Island coast has to offer.

    Aricel DesChamp | Kayak Guide

    Aricel has spent the last 6 years traveling and adventuring - from spending a year living and working in New Zealand to working above the Arctic Circle in Norway. She is an outdoor enthusiast, steward of the sea, and someone who enjoys interacting with diverse groups of people! Aricel loves helping curate unforgettable memories for her guests. Her goal is to leave a positive impact on those who join her out on the water. Afterward, you will most likely find Aricel around the campfire entertaining her peers.

    Beka Brown | HR & Team Support Manager

    Growing up on Quadra Island, Beka was lucky to have the quintessential Island childhood exploring the beaches and forests. After leaving to spend some years in the the mountains, she decided to return home so her children could experience the same island magic. Beka has 25 years of Tourism and Hospitality experience and loves being surrounded by this passionate team of people at Spirit of the West.

    Beverly Marshall | Kayak Guide

    Bev's love of the outdoors has always been amplified when sharing it with others and it has brought her to guiding in locations all over the West Coast. Whether it's slowing down to take in the scenery or waking up with a destination in mind, Bev brings infectious energy, humour, and care to each tour. She keeps busy in Nelson in the off season. She spends her free time with friends hiking, skiing, surfing and practicing meditation and yoga.

    Cait Woolner | Kayak Guide

    Originally from Ontario, Cait traveled westward to the coast 5 years ago. The lush landscapes of the Pacific Northwest lured her in, and she’s never looked back. You can often find her strolling through the woods, guide in hand, looking for new and familiar friends. In classrooms she studied brains and human biology, but more often now turns to the natural world as her teacher. The outdoors has always been a place of learning and growth for her, and as a guide Cait wants to continue nurturing those connections for herself and others.

    Cass Sica | Kayak Guide

    Cass is a guide, outdoor educator, and teacher who loves to explore and play outside. He has a passion for ecology and helping people find their connection to the natural world. When he is not engaged with youth programming he can be found paddling, climbing and hiking across the coast.

    Celeste Gale | Food Prep Assistant

    Celeste's upbringing on Quadra Island instilled in her a deep appreciation for nature. She spends her free time enjoying activities like exploring the ocean, hiking, skiing, and baking. Alongside her outdoor adventures, she's a student at the University of British Columbia, studying international economics.

    Christina Morrow | Kayak Guide

    Christina moved to coastal BC almost 20 years ago and fell in love the rainforest and ocean almost immediately. She naturally chose a career where she can share that love with others. While relatively new to kayak guiding her passion and energy is infectious. Christina has spent most of her life traveling and exploring, when she’s not in a kayak she can be found hiking or practicing yoga.

    Daniel Nammour | Kayak Guide

    Daniel started guiding on the Rio Grande on the border of Texas and Mexico, spent some time wrangling horses in Kananaskis country in Alberta, and worked the Colorado, San Juan and Green Rivers of Utah’s canyon country before he finally reached the BC coast. Here he has found more wilderness than he could explore in a lifetime. When not doing so, he enjoys growing good food and eating well cooked meals with good company, preferably by the water and under the stars.

    Dominic Hall | Chef

    Dom is a chef from New Zealand who specializes in remote locations. His obsession with cooking started at a young age and grew into a career as a certified professional chef. He realized in his 20s that he could use his trade to travel and see places he wouldn't otherwise get to, which led him to work in some pretty amazing locations around Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica, where he could fulfill his passions for cooking and nature photography. Dom loves being immersed in the natural environment and meeting the kinds of people who seek it. Cooking for Dom is a lifestyle as much as a career. When he's not cooking, he's running a photography business in Victoria, BC, where he calls home with his two year old son.

    Elizabeth Hodgins | Chef

    Born and raised in small-town south eastern Ontario on a family-run farm, Elizabeth has always had a love for animals and rural life. Her enthusiasm to see the world and desire for new experiences has taken her on many adventures, including the path that led her to the beautiful coast she now calls home. With a passion for all things edible, Elizabeth has over a decade of experience in food and hospitality, including completing Niagara College's Pastry Arts program in 2015. When not singing in the kitchen, Liz loves to be amongst the flowers in her garden, hiking the trails, playing guitar or exploring with friends.

    Ethan Milne | Quadra Base Crew

    Ethan has lived on the Island for the better part of the last decade. He is unable to stay away from what this place has to offer: from the flora, the fauna, and all the awesome people in between! He’s especially thrilled to be working on a team that is inspired to work in an area as diverse as this. Ethan feels blessed to have the opportunity to call this place home and to learn from others who have spent a great amount of time exploring and growing here.

    Gareth Wasylynko | Kayak Guide

    A passionate, adventurous and generally silly individual, Gareth's guiding experiences have taken him from Desolation Sound to Nova Scotia and then, back to BC waters where he is stoked to paddle with Spirit of the West. When on land, Gareth enjoys showcasing his unorthodox dance moves, conversation and exploring places on foot. Despite growing up in Surrey and his interest in cities, he has always felt at home exploring islands, communities and the wilderness, and strives to share this curiosity with others.

    Gigi McLaren | Kayak Guide

    Gigi was born and raised on Vancouver Island, and has a lifelong adoration of the great outdoors. She grew up spending her time exploring mountains, lakes, and oceans throughout coastal British Columbia. She completed Capilano University's Outdoor Recreation program and now splits her time between sea kayaking in the summer and snow sports in the winter. She is always thrilled to share her love and passion for nature with those around her.

    Grace Howarth | Base Camp Operations

    Grace originally hails from Manchester, England, and has spent the last 7 years traveling through Europe, Asia, and Australia before moving to Canada in spring 2023. She is an avid hiker, kayaker, and snowboarder. She left her career to opt for seasonal work that aligns with her passion for the outdoors, with the last year in Canada spent kayaking all around Vancouver and in the colder months, snowboarding in far northern BC.


    Heather is an outdoor adventure graduate from Algonquin College. Born and raised in Ontario, she spent her summers canoeing, kayaking, and hiking. Last winter she was a member of the Calabogie Peaks ski patrol team and developed a passion for skiing. Heather enjoys helping others and sharing her love of wild spaces. She is excited for her first season with Spirit of the West. When she is not in the office, she can be found hiking, caving or kayaking.

    Jenna Horembala | Kayak Guide

    Born in North Van, Jenna was introduced to the backcountry and coastal life at a young age by her parents. Spending summers Sea Kayaking in the Southern Gulf Islands and doing Canoe trips planted a deep passion. She went to Thompson Rivers University for the Adventure Guide Diploma program. Currently, when not in a kayak you can find her ski touring or somewhere in the mountains.

    Jon Badger | Kayak Guide

    Born and raised on the West Coast, Jon has always felt most at home near the water. This love for the ocean only grew when attending Westcoast Adventure College in Sooke and starting his career in backcountry guiding. He has spent the last several years paddling the BC coast as a kayak guide and instructor, and his goal on every trip is to show guests the beauty and tranquility of this corner of the world.

    Karisa Koehl | Reservations & Guest Experience Specialist

    Karisa enjoys finding comfort in the uncomfortable and exploring a variety of natural and social phenomena that make this world so beautiful. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, it is a dream come true for her to be working, living and playing on BC’s coast. When she isn’t working you can usually find her among big trees, on the water or taking in some beautiful water views. Beautiful forests and ocean views is what always makes her feel like she’s in the right place. She is passionate about sharing BC’s beautiful coast and is excited to be working with Spirit of the West so she can learn the ins and outs of sustainable tourism. In the future, Karisa is looking forward to gaining knowledge and experience in the realm of environmental and social activism.

    Katie May | Reservations & Guest Experience Specialist

    Katie’s love of adventure and commitment to compassion and care for humanity have taken many forms throughout the years. She has nurtured relationships with locals to assist ethical mountain treks in Nepal, worked as a tree planter, a care aid & nurse. Connection to nature has always been a passion for Katie, and something that is very important to her to pass on the her two children through gardening and exploration of the beautiful place we are so lucky to live, play & work in We Wai Kai territory. She joins our team in a commitment to reconnect to herself and with excitement to work with others who prioritize that nature connection.

    Kenna Koronko | Reservations & Guest Experience Specialist

    Kenna was born and raised in Coquitlam, BC and spent her weekends at her cabin in Tulameen where she could roam free with her family. That was where she developed her sense of adventure and desire to explore. Kenna is a grad of the Bachelor of Tourism Management degree program at Capilano University. Her passion for outdoor education and sustainable tourism is what lead her to a degree concentration in Adventure Tourism. When out of the office, Kenna can be found on trails, in trees, near the ocean, or seeking out that perfect sunset.

    Kevin McRae | Kayak Guide

    Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Kevin is an overnight guide and instructor who has spent his life growing alongside the temperate rainforests in his backyard and the Pacific Ocean in his front yard. Intent on keeping these colossal environments at the heart of everything he pursues, Kevin has chosen a path that allows him to continue growing with his homeland while having the privilege of sparking that same inspiration and gratitude in others. When he is not out on an adventure he can be found with his guitar in one hand and a good book in the other!

    Makinsey Shmanka | Kayak Guide

    Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Mak started sea kayak guiding in 2017 on Lake Superior. She has been guiding with Spirit of the West since 2019. Mak loves being a guide because every day is a different adventure and the views are incredible! She lives seasonally between Whistler and her sailboat on Quadra Island.

    Malcolm Mcqueen | Kayak Guide

    Over the past four years Malcolm has been traveling and working all over the southern coast of British Columbia. From the mid-sized peaks to the tiniest of creeks, he’s passionate about everything outdoors!

    Martin Blanchard | Kayak Guide & Operations Manager

    Marty was born and raised in New Brunswick where he fell in love with the ocean at a very young age. While spending 7 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a Vehicle Technician in Ontario, he fell in love with whitewater kayaking on the mighty Ottawa river. He now lives on Vancouver Island where he completed his Adventure Guiding Certificate at North Island College. Martin can be found exploring his new love for mountains in his island backyard, running some whitewater rivers or kayak surfing the waves in Tofino.

    Michael Herman | Kayak Guide

    Michael is most comfortable living in a tent and exploring wild spaces for the first time. As a young boy, he gladly traded his comfortable bed each summer to sleep under the stars in his backyard while dreaming of living the life of an explorer. Following his love of nature, Michael worked in fish and wildlife management for the Ontario government and taught outdoor education for the Toronto district school board for many years. But it was his introduction to experiential education and wilderness therapy that led him passionately into teaching personal growth and development to teenagers through guided canoe and sea kayak trips with programs such as, Project D.A.R.E. (a wilderness therapy program for young offenders), Outward Bound Wilderness School and Trails Youth Initiatives. Michael has sea kayaked in the Great Lakes, Great Slave Lake, Nova Scotia, South Carolina and Georgia, and is ecstatic to be paddling the Pacific west coast this summer. Michael is a kid at heart and loves games of all sorts, telling bad jokes and paddling in big waves. Michael couldn’t be happier to be guiding with Spirit of the West.

    Morgan Edison | Kayak Guide

    Morgan grew up on Vancouver Island in the Cowichan Valley and has been lucky enough to always have had the mountains and the ocean in her backyard. However, Morgan’s love for the ocean really came to life when she moved to the remote archipelago of Haida Gwaii, where she worked as a social worker and began exploring remote beaches via kayak. Eventually, Morgan decided to turn this passion for adventure into her next career as she made the leap and traded in her profession for travel and adventure and began guiding overseas in New Zealand. Today, you can find her tramping in the mountains, diving, surfing or paddling across the coast and beyond!

    Nadia Gilson | Kayak Guide

    Nadia is a born and raised Vancouver Island girl. Growing up so close to the ocean and the mountains made it easy to fall in love with the outdoors. After doing the COLT program in 2017 she found herself a kayaking gig on Northern Vancouver Island and fell in love with everything kayaking brought to her life. The ability to show people what they are capable of in the wilderness and floating around in a boat became a vessel to show folks how cool her backyard is. When she is not guiding you will find her embracing her inner homebody and seeking out other adventurous ways to be close to the outdoors.

    Neil Goodwin | Boat Driver

    Neil grew up in the Comox Valley where he developed a love for the great outdoors, spending his time snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and fly fishing. At the age of 18, Neil began a lifelong obsession for the ocean working as a guide at a remote fly in fishing resort on the Central Coast of BC. Many moons and adventures later Neil moved to Haida Gwaii where he would live for 16 years, eventually running his own small fishing and eco tour lodge. In the opposite season Neil divided his time between carpentry and commercial dive fisheries for geoduck, urchin and sea cucumber. He is very passionate about the ecology and history of the coast and sharing this knowledge with others. Now living a transient lifestyle, Neil currently lives on his sailboat on Northern Vancouver Island.

    PJ | Kayak Guide

    PJ has been a boat dweller and a guide on this coast for 9 years. With a passion for the sea and a unique skillset as a tradesperson, this water baby takes pride in making the marine / adventure industries accessible to folks from all walks of life. "We provide the safety nets. Nature provides the dopamine."

    Rebecca Chin Bergshoeff | Guest Experience Manager

    Rebecca is passionate about facilitating opportunities for people to connect with nature. This has taken her from coast to coast: Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, where she’s worked as a hiking guide and coordinator of outdoor recreation and environmental education programs. Through her Masters of Fine Art, she explored connections between art and our environment, and she continues to bring her creativity and curiosity to work and life. Rebecca loves her dynamic and varied role with Spirt of the West and enjoys supporting opportunities for people to experience the wild BC coast through our unique adventures.

    Rho Thygesen | Kayak Guide

    Rho grew up in central Alberta and spent many of her childhood summers visiting her family on the mainland and the island. She has a BSc in biology and a recent MSc in biochemistry and molecular biology from UBC. Her academic research focuses on honey bee health. Throughout Rho's masters she spent three summers as a kayak instructor with Jericho Beach Kayak. Rho is also an avid backcountry skier, trail runner, backpacker, and rock climber, making BC her ideal playground when she is not studying.

    Robyn Forsyth | Reservations Team, Social Media & Kayak Guide

    Robyn was born and raised on BC's stunning southwest coast. With a family background full of global travel and outdoor pursuits, she has always felt drawn toward wild natural spaces and expanding her horizons. After coming home from living abroad in Australia and New Zealand, she discovered the Outdoor Recreation Management program at Capilano University and felt the instinctive next step was to seek out a career in the outdoor and adventure tourism industry. One of the greatest parts about guiding for her is the chance to allow others to create meaningful and lasting connections to the landscapes we are privileged to recreate in. In the summers, Robyn can be found kayaking, hiking, and backpacking while her winters are filled with snowboarding, splitboarding, camping, and the occasional icy dip.

    Rosie Thorson | Kayak Guide

    Rosie grew up in Cochrane, Alberta and started travelling right after graduating highschool. After working a tree planter and tail guiding for a heliski company, she completed her diploma in Adventure Studies at Thompson Rivers University. She loves anything and everything to do with the outdoors, specifically snowboarding, surfing and multi-day sea kayaking trips. She is also very passionate about yoga and mindfulness, and has completed her teacher training. Being able to share the joy, knowledge and feelings of connectedness through her passion for the ocean and natural environment is what makes her “spark”.

    Sarah Deagle | Food Manager

    Sarah spends most of her waking moments preparing, dreaming and reading about food. When not at that, she can be found outdoors on one trail or another, often with her husband George and their black lab Gracie. As a child, Sarah spent her summers on the water, sailing with her family in the southern Gulf Islands and the Discovery Islands. It was a delight to return to Quadra seven years ago – this time to stay!

    Sierra Legroulx | Kayak Guide

    Sierra grew up on the coast of BC with the mountains and sea in her backyard. She has a deep love for the wilderness and sharing it with others. Sierra pursued an education in science and teaching. While she loves to teach, she found a greater passion in teaching beyond the four walls of the standard classroom and expanded her practice to guide amongst the beauty of the outdoors. When Sierra isn’t in her kayak, you can find her exploring more of the Earth’s goodness via surfing, climbing, and hiking.

    Sun Smith | Garden & Food

    Sun has worked in the catering and hospitality industry for over 20 years, including her own boutique B&B which garnered her several hospitality awards including the coveted Visit Britain Rose award for service excellence. After many years living on the Caribbean island of Montserrat and then in the UK, Sun's love of the West Coast has brought her back to her roots on Quadra Island. She shares our passion for great food with an emphasis on healthy, local and sustainable farm to table produce. When she's not in our base kitchen, she can be found up to her elbows in compost in her organic garden or out foraging for wild edibles in the beautiful forests of Quadra.

    Taylor Montgomery | Quadra Base Crew

    Taylor grew up in a small town called Teeswater, Ontario. Growing up, she was always outside. Whether it was sunny, rainy, snowy, or cold, she just wanted to be outside getting covered in mud! Taylor loves being creative in any way possible when she’s not outside. She loves baking, drawing, painting and tattooing. It’s been 2 years since Taylor moved from her small Ontario town to explore Western Canada and she has loved every minute of the journey.

    Teesh Hargreaves | Kayak Guide

    Teesh has been around the ocean her entire life, growing up in the Whitsundays of Queensland, Australia, and then living on Australia's second-largest sand island for three years before calling Canada home. Before becoming a graduate of North Island College's Adventure Guiding program, Teesh embraced a nomadic lifestyle, taking on seasonal roles at various ski resorts, a remote lodge in the NWT wilderness, a fishing lodge on Haida Gwaii, and as a whitewater raft guide for two seasons. In her spare time, you'll often find her behind the lens of her camera, hunting rocks or creating art. She is driven by her deep love for nature, thirst for adventure and genuine desire to connect with people.

    Wade Bilton | Kayak Guide

    Wade was born and raised south of the equator in Brisbane Australia. Fuelled by new adventures, she moved to Canada in 2018 to explore the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Here she fell in love with the diverse BC landscape from snow-covered peaks to coastal inlets. She graduated from the Adventure Tourism and Business Operations course at College of the Rockies in Golden, BC and moved to the coast to pursue her guiding aspirations. She is passionate about connecting others with nature and creating long lasting memories.