Campbell River, BC (June 27, 2024) — Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours (HWCT) based in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, continues to raise the bar in sustainable travel experiences as it announces the introduction of two originally designed hybrid electric/diesel wildlife viewing vessels.

According to Homalco First Nation Chief Darren Blaney, “This $1.5 million investment ensures HWCT operates as a leading tour operator and social enterprise focusing on the protection of our local wildlife, expanding reconciliation outreach and promoting sustainable prosperity for our people as well as our greater North Island community.”

The vessels’ design and production were led by Canada’s leading aluminum boat manufacturer EagleCraft Custom Boats, also based in Campbell River. Paramount considerations were reducing noise impact on wildlife, reducing the company’s carbon footprint, sourcing materials from local businesses, and providing a superior and safe guest experience.” Creating these innovative, industry-leading boats was challenging, but so rewarding for our team.  We could not be prouder that they will be traveling in our traditional waters around Campbell River,” said Chief Blaney.”


According to Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours General Manager Chyanne Trenholm, “Our team is thrilled to be adding these two state-of-the-art vessels to our touring fleet as we had a quick recovery from the pandemic and are experiencing a significant increase in demand from our national and international markets.”

Named Poho (Raven) and Qwanes (Whale), these 36-foot boats build upon HWCT’s gold standard in wildlife viewing by providing an ultra-comfortable luxury cabin and outdoor adventure seating for up to 12 guests, wheelchair accessibility throughout, superior ocean-faring construction, a stand-up indoor washroom, and an experienced skipper and guide.

“This is an historic milestone for our growing and diverse HWCT team, now 30 members strong,” says Trenholm. “We now will be providing enhanced training and growth opportunities for employees, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, as well as expanding our partnerships by working with Klahoose Coastal Adventures.”

According to Trenholm, HWCT was founded upon wildlife protection and advocacy.  She continues, “The new vessels exemplify our commitment to meet and exceed federal marine mammal guidelines as they can navigate silently when viewing whales, thus reducing our impact even further — a win-win for animals and guests.”


“The Homalco Wildlife and Cultural Tours business model is a great success story for the Homalco First Nation,” shares JP Obbagy Chief Executive Officer for the Homalco Business Group. “Under the progressive leadership of Chief and Council, our Homalco economic model is focused on sound financial management, economic development, accountability, sustainability and building relationships.  Introducing these amazing new vessels and experiencing the value they bring to our communities create a new and exciting chapter for this award-winning HWCT team.


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Poho (Raven), now a leader among North America’s specialized hybrid electric/diesel wildlife viewing vessels, recently made its debut at Homalco Days prior to joining Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours’ fleet.  Another, Qwanes (Whale) will be completed at the end of July, thus completing the $1.5 million investment in industry-leading boats. (Pictured left to right:  Preston Joseph (HFN Council), Darren Blaney (HFN Chief), Robert Harry (HFN Council), Jamie Wilson (HFN Council), JP Obbagy (CEO HBG), Tess Hingert (Executive Assistant HBG), Chyanne Trenholm (General Manager of HWCT).

HWCT – Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours

HBG – Homalco Business Group

HFN – Homalco First Nation


Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours (HWCT) is not just a tour provider, but also a proud Indigenous social enterprise owned and operated by the First Nation. It offers guided whale watching, grizzly bear, wilderness and cultural tours in the traditional territory of the Discovery Islands and Bute Inlet with tours departing from Campbell River. HWCT is deeply committed to language and cultural revitalization, providing employment and career development opportunities and promoting sustainable economic growth.  HWCT is the recent recipient of the 2024 Indigenous Operator Award presented by the Tourism Association of BC and has received numerous other accreditations and awards.