Friday, July 19 –

Thursday, July 25, 2024


Port McNeill & Campbell River

British Columbia


Easy to Medium

– Zodiac Entry/Exit

– Stairs at Accommodations

– Remote Locations


$6,095 CAD + 5% GST

or $4,770 USD Incl GST

Double Occupancy Discount

$500 Per Person


VAN ISLAND WILD! Friday July 19 – Thursday July 25, 2024

We are extremely excited to announce our newest Wildlife Photography Workshop and we hope to see you on the water!

This new workshop will take place at 2 different locations on Vancouver Island starting at Port McNeill and concluding in Campbell River, British Columbia. This year, we are venturing into locations our workshops have never gone before with the possibility that we will see species of animals not found on our previous tours.

Port McNeill/Cormorant Island: We begin our workshop at the north end of Vancouver Island with 3 full days on a chartered zodiac searching for Sea Otters, Wolves, Black Bears, Grizzly  Bears, Humpbacks, Dolphins and Orca! Our trips depart from Alert Bay on Cormorant Island where we will search the local area and venture into the mainland of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. This year, we have chartered a more spacious zodiac giving each of our 6 guests amply space for photographing and storing their gear. Our Boat Captain for this segment of workshop is extremely familiar with the waterways of North Vancouver Island and he will take us into stunning locations in pursuit of amazing photographic opportunities!

Campbell River: After our 4 night stay in Alert Bay, we will return to Campbell River where we will enjoy a 2 night stay. From here, we will depart for 2 additional full days on our spacious private zodiac searching for Humpbacks, Orca, Dolphins and other marine mammals. Once again this year, we have scheduled our workshop giving us 2 opportunities to photograph “The Eagle Show” where hundreds of Bald Eagles gather to hunt fish with our boat situated in the centre of all the action!

Van Island Wild! 2024 is extremely unique offering two distinctly different locations all in one single workshop. With 5 full days on the water, photographic opportunities are maximized. This all-inclusive experience includes single occupancy accommodations, seventeen meals, 35 hours of boating time and is a step above any other workshop that you will find on Vancouver Island!

Double Occupancy Discount: Are you travelling with a companion? If so, let us know and we will apply a $500 per person discount for any double occupancy accommodations. We also have an optional checkbox on our Sign Up Form if you are interested in sharing a room with someone of the same gender. If we are able to find 2 people willing to share a room, each person will receive their discount. Note that we are unable to hold your placement in the workshop conditional on finding a Double Occupancy match. Our refund Policy listed below under the “Deposits, Payments & Cancellation” section will apply.





Spots Remaining

Van Island Wild! 2024


6 Night/7 Day Workshop with Single Occupancy Included!

Friday, July 19 – Thursday, July 25, 2024

This is a new variation of our annual workshop, back for it’s 6th year with the addition of a second location with the possibility of seeing bears, sea otters and wolves!


This is an instructional based workshop that is suitable for all skill levels from beginner to pro. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 6 participants with 2 instructors (min. of 5 people required).

PORT MCNEILL (July 19 – 23): Participants will meet us on July 19th in Port McNeill, British Columbia located on the northeast coast of spectacular Vancouver Island. Transportation is not provided to and from Port McNeill but we will assist to connect participants who may wish to carpool from Campbell River. After our “Meet & Greet” in Port McNeill, there will be a 20 minute transfer by zodiac over to Alert Bay where we will stay for 4 nights with single occupancy included. Sea Otters were once hunted to extinction in BC but reintroduced around this area between 1969 & 1972 with 89 individuals from Alaska. These adorable animals are once again thriving around this area. This part of Vancouver Island is also home to Sea Wolves where than can sometimes be found scavenging the beaches for food during low tide – there is never a guarantee with wildlife but we have 3 full days on the water to search the extensive shorelines. We will be travelling the waterways that run into the mainland of British Columbia in the area known as the Great Bear Rainforest. This vast area is home to Black Bears and Grizzly Bears. Our experienced boat captain is familiar with this area and where opportunities exist, he will get us in close to shore allowing us to safely photograph them eye level from the safety of our boat.

CAMPBELL RIVER (July 23 – July 25): Participants will reconvene in Campbell River and check-in to their single occupancy accommodations. Two full days will be spent searching the area for whales and other sea mammals. The boating dates of this segment of the workshop were specifically selected based on marine tide & current charts. For approximately 2 hours on each of these days, ocean tidal rapids will be running at speeds that should bring hundreds of Bald Eagles to one specific area to fish for Hake. This experience nicknamed the “Eagle Show” has been an absolute highlight for all who have witnessed it and we will there on both days!

PRIVATE ZODIAC: For the north island segment of the workshop, we will have a boat captain who is extremely familiar with the area. This will also be the most spacious zodiac that we have used on a workshop. This wide-body vessel has 4 rows of seating with each row capable of seating four. With only 6 participants, there will be plenty of room for all of your camera gear and for getting your shots and 2 instructors readily available to assist as needed.


To expand each Information Section, click on the “>”

Our Daily Itinerary

Our Daily Itinerary remains flexible each day to maximize our experience based on what is happening in the area. The following is a general guideline only and may change as necessary. Local whale watching companies work together by sharing sightings via VHF radio, websites and industry-specific phone apps. This may also influence where and when we go.

Meals & Beverages

Pricing includes all meals with the exception of lunch on July 23rd and the optional farewell dinner on the final evening.

* Included meals are noted below: (A) – Appetizers; (B) – Breakfast including juice & coffee or tea; (L) – Lunch including a selection of water/non-alcoholic beverages; (D) – Dinner (maximum of $40 per person at Alert Bay and $50 per person including food & beverages.); (*D) – Optional Dinner July 25th (not included). Gratuities for meals are not included. Unused daily meal allowances do not carry forward.


DAY 1: FRIDAY JULY 19 @ 1:00 pm


Participants will provide their own transportation to and from Port McNeill. Once our list of participants has been established, we will create a private Facebook page where people wishing to carpool from Campbell River can communicate with each other.

In addition to everyone having the opportunity to meet, this will be a great time to chat and ask questions about wildlife photography. Restaurants can be a noisy location and not to worry if you aren’t able to ask your questions there as we will be available once we arrive at the Inn and throughout the workshop. After the Meet and Greet, we will reconvene at the marina, suit up and board the zodiac for our 20 minute trip across to Alert Bay. Accommodations are just a couple of minutes up the road and we will be bringing a vehicle across via ferry to transport participants & baggage between the marina and hotel.

We will settle into our rooms and meet up for dinner early evening. After dinner, we will continue our discussions on wildlife photography and particularly discuss camera settings when photographing from a boat in various water conditions. 

DAY 2: SATURDAY, JULY 20 (B) (L) (D)


After breakfast, we will depart for our first boat tour searching for marine & land mammals. Lunch breaks may take place on land or onboard. This will be discussed with participants during the tour.

After returning to the hotel, we will have a break before reconvening for dinner. 

DAY 3: SUNDAY, JULY 21 (B) (L) (D)


After breakfast, we will depart for our second boat tour searching for marine & land mammals. Lunch breaks may take place on land or onboard. This will be discussed with participants during the tour.

After returning to the hotel, we will have a break before reconvening for dinner.

DAY 4: MONDAY, JULY 22 (B) (L) (D) 


After breakfast, we will depart for our first boat tour searching for marine & land mammals. Lunch breaks may take place on land or onboard. This will be discussed with participants during the tour.

After returning to the hotel, we will have a break before reconvening for dinner.



We will bid farewell to Alert Bay after breakfast and transfer back to Port McNeill via zodiac. Today offers a more relaxed day with a break from being on the water and a chance to self explore Port McNeill and other areas along the route back to Campbell River. Due to the flexibilty with today’s schedule, participants will arrange lunch on their own. Travel time between Port McNeill and the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River is approx. 2 hours. Check-in time at the arranged hotel is 3pm.   

We will reconvene in the evening for dinner at a local restaurant and time to be announced.



Today we will start with a whale watch trip followed by our first trip to “The Eagle Show” with a later morning departure. Tide & Current Charts indicate that the excitement should start around 3:30pm. Water speeds are predicted to run at an astounding peak speed of 12.5 knots (23 KM/H) which happens to be one of the fastest runs during the 2024 Hake migration. Since turbulent water is what drives the Hake to the surface, we anticipate there will be some tremendous fishing action!

After returning to the marina, we will return to the hotel for a quick break and reconvening for dinner at a local restaurant.

DAY 7: THURSDAY, JULY 25 (B) (L) (*D)


After breakfast, we will return to our rooms and pack up our luggage before the 11am check-out time.

Today we will make our second trip to “The Eagle Show”. Exciting peak water speeds are expected again today, just slightly slower at 11.8 knots (22 KM/H). Today’s fishing action is expected to start at around 4:20pm.

Upon returning from our final boat tour, guests will be returned to Discovery Habour Marine. For those who wish to attend, everyone is invited to an optional final dinner and farewell social at a local restaurant to be determined. 



Floatation Suits:  Survival floatation suits will be provided by the boat charter company and must be worn during boat trips. The upper portion of the suit can be lowered when the vessel is stopped or at low speeds. Suits must be fully zipped while the vessel is travelling at speed. Sizes from small to XXX Large are available.

Release of Liability: The boat charter company may require acceptance of a Release of Liability as a condition of boarding and as part of our requirements to participate in the workshop. Refusal of the Release of Liability presented by the boat charter company will be deemed as a withdrawal from the workshop and subject to the Coastal Workshops Inc. cancellation and refund policies.

Washrooms: The Zodiac is not equipped with a marine toilet. There are limited locations where washroom facilities are available and they are not always in the immediate area. We are looking into a portable washroom and quick setup privacy screen system so that a mobile washroom can be setup in emergencies. We will update this section once confirmed. The boat captain and instructors will be in communication about this throughout the workshop and participants should provide advance notice when a stop is needed as it may take 20 minutes or more to the nearest stop.

Zodiac Size: For this workshop, we will be chartering a custom modified zodiac that has exceptional space. The vessel is equiped with four rows of extra wide bench seating that is capable of seating up to 4 persons per bench. With only 6 participants, space will be ample. Lots of storage space is available under the bench seating for camera bags, backpacks, dry sacks and extra clothing layers.

Camera Gear on a Zodiac: While it is natural to be concerned about having your expensive camera gear on a boat, in all of the workshops hosted there has never been an issue reported. Photography takes place when the boat is stationary or at low speed. Guests are notified when we are going up to full travel speed and there will be an opportunity to put away gear into protective camera bags. In addition, July is the driest month of the year for the area with an average of 10.7 days of rain with a total monthly accumulation average of just 33mm. It is a great time to be on the water for sure!


Coastal Workshops is aimed at all levels of photographers. Previous workshops have ranged from complete beginner to professional photographers. We will both be readily available while on tours. This is your workshop and we want you to feel free to ask questions and request feedback. Regular interact with guests by reviewing your camera settings and previewing your pictures on camera can be expected. Acceptance of this is completely optional but it can be an integral part of gauging that your photo opportunites are maximized. Back at the dock after a full day on the water isn’t the optimal time to realize that something isn’t going well. Outside of tour times, we will also be available for further discussions, tutorials, photo editing, photo reviews etc.



The overall fitness requirement is listed as Easy – Medium

BOAT LOADING & UNLOADING: Participants must be able to step down into the boat and they must be able to step up and over to get out. Stepping out can be more difficult particularily for individuals with a history of ankle, knee, hip, leg or back issues. Suitable shoes with good ankle support make this process much safer.

STAIRS: The accommodations that we stay at in Alert Bay require climbing stairs. We have not previously visited the inn at Alert Bay but based on pictures that we have seen, it should be expected that their will be stairs. Please let us know if stairs are a concern and we will make every effort to select a room for you that has as minimal as possible. Stairs may also be a factor at locations where we stop for breaks. Fully accessible rooms are not available for this workshop. Accommodations in Campbell River are fully accessible.

RAMPS: It can be expected that access to the boat at all of the marinas that we visit will require that you ascend and descend ramps. The pitch of these ramps can change greatly as they move with the dock during tide changes. Tide changes in these areas can be as much as 5 meters/16 feet with tide change happening approximatley every 6-7 hours.

UNEVEN TERRAIN: In some situations, we may have to walk over uneven terrain, loose ground, small to medium size rocks and/or around beachwood particularily if we have have to stop at a beach for washroom break where facilities are not available.


  • Camera Equipment
  • Meals & beverages not noted in the daily itinerary
  • Any accommodations before or after the workshop
  • Air and/or Land Transportation to Port McNeill and from Port McNeill to Campbell River
  • Travel Visas as may be required for international visitors
  • Travel & Medical related insurance
  • Recommended Gratuities:
    • Alert Bay:

Breakfast & Lunch: We have arranged a set price for breakfast and lunch. Recommended gratuity is 10-20% = $1.80 – $3.60 per meal & dinner is based on your meal selection

Hotel Stay $3 – $5 per day

    • Campbell River:

Breakfast: A continental breakfast is included with your hotel stay and tipping is not required however you may wish to tip housekeeping the recommended rate of $3-$5 per day. Lunch is provided by the boat charter company and gratuity suggestion for the captain/owner is below and dinner gratuity is based on your meal selection.

Hotel Stay $3 – $5 per day

    • Boat Captain:

$20 – $65 per day



  • Tripods are not permitted on the zodiac tours due to limited floor space but you may wish to have one for outside of boat tours.
  • Monopods are permitted but not recommended. Engines may be running while photographing and vibrations can transfer through to the camera. Their lack of stability make them a fall risk – the water is really deep! For most parts of the workshop, light is not a major issue allowing higher shutter speeds/lower ISO.
  • Drones are not permitted at any point during the workshop


  • DSLR or mirrorless changeable lens body or bodies. If you have more than one camera body, it can be helpful to have a shorter focal length and longer focal length as most times we are 100m or more away but animlas may come to the boat.
  • Focal length & zoom lens – 200mm is the recommended minimum but will be limiting as subjects are more often further away than close. Zoom lenses work very well due to the unpredictabilty of wildlife – sometimes they come to us.
  • Zoom lens capable of 500-600mm will be a BIG advantage!
  • Large prime lenses can be used but they will need to be handheld and based on 2 people sharing a bench space it can be awkward.
  • Teleconverters – They can be a very effective tool when used properly and in combination with the right gear. If you are considering purchasing one for this workshop, we recommend first verifying compatibility with your camera and lens. Not all teleconverters work with all lenses and some combinations can result in slower auto-focus, loss of auto-focus all together, lower shutter speeds and/or unacceptable high ISO levels.
  • Camera bag or dry pack. Stan & Stuart use regular, non-waterproof padded camera bags however dry packs offer the best protection. July is the driest month and shooting is done mostly while the boat is stopped or moving slow.
  • Rain/weather covers are optional based on personal comfort level. Trash/recycling bags can also be effective and take up little space in your pack “just in case”. There are lots of tutorials online for this simple solution.
  • Lens cleaner and cloth.
  • Extra batteries
  • Lots of camera card space
  • Laptops are optional but we recommend backing up photos daily. Laptops can also be handy if you would like to discuss photo editing or request feedback on photos taken. We will also have our laptops at the workshop for photo reviews and tutorials


  • Full body survival suits are provided by the boat charter company and are required to be worn while on the boat.
  • Morning and evening temperatures can be cold even in July – bring layers. Even with survival suits, it can still be cold as temperatures on the water can be 5-10 degrees cooler and Zodiac speeds can be around 50 KM/H between sightings – there will be lots of room under the seats to store items.
  • Gloves and toques. Hats with chin straps suggested rather than ball caps as they will blow off – many hats have been lost at sea!
  • Rain shell including pants and jacket are recommended just in case. Survival suits are not waterproof!
  • No open-toe shoes are permitted on the boat. Shoes must have closed toes and hiking shoes or boots are recommended. Waterproof footwear is suggested.
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses or goggles. In some cases, transitioning between sightings or returning to the dock can be 30-50 minutes of continual driving at 50 KM/H
  • Extra water. Water is provided but it never hurts to have extra on long tour days. We encourge refillable water bottles.



COMOX AIRPORT (YQQ): Comox is the nearest main airport with flights serviced by Air Canada and WestJet. The distance from Comox Airport to Port McNeill is approximately 255km or 2 hours & 50 minutes. The drive to Port McNeill takes you through Campbell River. The distance from Campbell River to Comox Airport is approximately 60km or 45 minutes.

CAMPBELL RIVER AIRPORT (YBL): Coastal Pacific Airlines has direct flights between Campbell River and both Victoria & Vancouver with Vancouver being the lower cost option. This may offer a better overall cost option if you are planning on arriving on a date before and/or after the workshop start/end dates and if you plan on renting a vehicle.

RENTAL CARS: Rental cars are available at both Comox & Campbell River Airports. However, if your flights are to and from Comox, you will be incurring the cost of the rental car while at the workshop. By flying into Campbell River, with advance notice and providing that car pooling can be arranged to Port McNeill, the rental car could be returned on the workshop start date and/or picked up after the workshop. Stuart lives just 5 minutes from the Campbell River Airport and he would be glad to assist with drop off and pick up where possible.

AIRPORT SHUTTLE: There are taxi and shuttle companies that can provide transportation to and from both airports. Neither of us have needed this service so we cannot offer a company recommendation. Please note that based on social media posts over the past few years, a common complaint in Campbell River is that pre-booking a taxi even days in advance may not be reliable so please give yourself extra time if you need to use that service. As noted, the private Facebook page we will create is a great place to chat with other participants and arrange ride shares.




Workshops Release of Liability must be submitted prior to attending. This document will be presented at the time a request to participate has been received. See also ADDITIONAL TERMS & CONDITIONS in the next section below.

PAYMENT METHODS: We accept payment by cheque or bank transfer to

Sorry  but we are not currently able to accept payment by credit card at this time.

INITIAL DEPOSIT: A deposit in the amount of $3,050 is required to secure your placement for this workshop. For our refund policy, please see our “CANCELLATION POLICY” below. Travel insurance with Trip Cancellation, Trip Delay, Trip Interruption & Lost Baggage is strongly encouraged for all participants. If registraton is on or after May 20, 2024, payment in full is required.

BALANCE: Final payment of $3,349.75 is due on or before May 20, 2024. If the balance is not paid in full by the due date, the “60 Day or less” cancellation policy will apply. No refund will be offered.

US PRICING: The fee for residents of the US is $4,770USD. A deposit of $2,250USD is required to secure your spot and the balance of $2,520USD is due on or before May 20, 2024. If the balance is not paid in full by the due date, the “60 Day or less” cancellation policy will apply. No refund will be offered.

PAYMENT INSTALLMENTS FOR BALANCE: If you would prefer to divide the balance over time, please let us know and we can setup automatic invoice reminders for the desired amount and dates that you would like to submit payments. Payment in full must be made in full on or before May 20, 2024

CANCELLATION POLICY: If for whatever reason you need to cancel, notice must be provided to us in writing or by e-mail and receipt must be confirmed by Coastal Workshops. Unless stated otherwise in a workshop description, refunds are provided according to the following guidelines:

  • A 100% refund, less a 2  $100 administration fee, will be issued if notice is provided greater than 180 days before the workshop commencement date
  • Refund of all funds received that 1, 2 exceeds 50% of the total workshop cost when notice is received 180-91 days before the workshop commencement date
  • Refund of all funds received that 1, 2 exceeds 75% of the total workshop cost when notice is received 90-61 days before the workshop commencement date
  • 1No refund will be issued when notice is received 60 days or less before the workshop commencement date and the balance of the workshop will be owed unless a replacement is found and only if the workshop is filled to maximum capacity

1 For any of the above where a full refund is not issued, Coastal Workshops will make reasonable efforts to find a replacement for your workshop spot. If a replacement is found and only if the workshop is filled to maximum capacity, a 100% refund, less a $100 administration fee will be issued.

Participants may also choose to transfer their refund to any future workshop scheduled within the next 18 months and the administration fee will be waived unless cancelled again. Transferring your payments to a different workshop does not reset the cancellation policy.

Example: If you cancel the first workshop between 180-91 days and you then cancel a second workshop within 60 days, you would only receive a refund of funds that exceeds 50% of the workshop value and would not qualify for the 100% refund.

A 100% refund will be issued if Coastal Workshops cancels the workshop for any reason. No compensation or reimbursement will be issued for expenses incurred by the participant related to attending the workshop. Travel insurance with Trip Cancellation, Trip Delay, Trip Interruption and Lost Baggage is strongly encouraged.

TRANSFER OF YOUR WORKSHOP PLACEMENT: If for whatever reason you must cancel, you may attempt to find a person to fill your workshop placement providing that there is no waitlist; please check with us first. A successful transfer is dependent on the replacement attendee submitting the necessary registration information, accepting all Terms & Conditions and by returning a signed Release of Liability. If the transfer is successful, all funds paid to Coastal Workshops will be applied to the new attendee’s account. Reimbursement of your funds from your replacement is your responsibility and not that of Coastal Workshops.  Any balance owing, if any, will be the responsibility of the new attendee under the terms of their contract.


A copy Coastal Workshop’s Waiver of Liability in its entirety will be presented at the time that a booking request is made. The following is a summary of some of the key elements.

CONTRACTED/THIRD PARTY SERVICES: Coastal Workshops contacts goods and/or services to other companies as may be required to facilitate workshops. This can include, but is not limited to accommodations, transportation (ground, air, marine), food services, tour & wildlife companies and guides. By submitting payment to attend a workshop, you accept that Coastal Workshops is not liable for the actions of any third-party contractor or their employees. You also acknowledge and accept that third party contractors set their own policies, procedures and limitations that may alter the overall experience. This may affect scheduling and/or limit our ability to provide specific aspects of the workshop as may have been described in promotional content or in written and oral communications. This is beyond the control of Coastal Workshops and no refund, discount or compensation of any kind will be offered. Furthermore, by participating in the workshop, you are granting Coastal Workshops a complete waiver of all liability for death, injury, damage, loss, accident, delay as the result of actions of any third-party contractor and/or their employees. Travel insurance with Trip Cancellation, Trip Delay, Trip Interruption & Lost Baggage is strongly encouraged.

DELAYS & CANCELLATIONS: Many factors can influence scheduling within the workshop including, but not limited to, weather, natural disasters, third party contractors, lost items such as luggage, travel delays, equipment malfunction, errors or omissions in reservations, overbooking etc. This is beyond the control of Coastal Workshops and no refund, discount or compensation of any kind will be offered. Travel insurance with Trip Cancellation, Trip Delay, Trip Interruption & Lost Bagage is strongly encouraged. If for any reasson should Coastal Workshops Inc. cancel the workshop, a full refund for all payments made will be refunded. Coastal Workshop Inc. will not offer any compensation that exceeds the amount paid to Coastal Workshops.

MEDICAL INSURANCE FOR RESIDENTS OF CANADA: Canadians who reside outside of British Columbia are encouraged to purchase Medical Insurance Coverage. In the event of a medical emergency, not all expenses may be covered by your home province or territory. Do not assume that all benefits of your provincial or territory health plan will be valid in British Columbia.

MEDICAL INSURANCE FOR INTERNATIONAL VISITORS & CANADIANS WITHOUT HEALTH CARE COVERAGE: Medical Insurance Coverage is mandatory Any workshop participant residing outside of Canada or any Canadian who is not covered for medical under a Provincial or Territory will be required to provide proof of full private medical coverage a minimum of 72 hours prior to the workshop start date. Participants who fail to provide proof of valid medical insurance will not be permitted to participate and no refund, discount or compensation of any kind will be offered.


Accommodations, meals, beverages and transportation other than noted are not included. Alcoholic beverages are not included.

Partipants are responsible for all travel related costs to get to and from Campbell River & Port McNeill. As noted, we will establish a private Facebook group and those looking to carpool can post.



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