As the Captain and co-owner of the Pacific Yellowfin with his wife, Colin delivers unique luxurious private yacht cruises along the BC coast. As a long-time sufferer of “wooden boat disease”, his love of the water started in childhood in Dublin’s busy Dun Laoghaire Harbour. From his early experience on boats, his passion for boats has spanned more than five decades. Colin has cruised the BC coast for more than twenty years and his love of the sea and interest in people make him incredibly knowledgeable of all fishing hot spots, beautiful hikes and secret waterfalls. Numerous guests have commented on Colin’s sense of humor and storytelling abilities, with “kids” of all ages enjoying his tales. His mastery over the 140ft long Pacific Yellowfin makes our guests feel utterly safe. When he’s not working in Colin Griffinson Inc., his Vancouver-based painting and decorating company, Colin can often be found tinkering aboard the Pacific Yellowfin, exploring new routes for his adventures.
How do the experiences you offer at Pacific Yellowfin Private Charters give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of British Columbia?
Because of our unique relationships with the first nations, researchers, and locals in the areas we charter we are able to offer a truly one of a kind trip. From harvesting fresh clams and oysters with local farmers, to viewing whales with whale researchers, we work with our guests to plan a trip that not only meet their travel goals but far exceed their expectation of what can be done in the area. Our guests get a literal, one of a kind tour from our very good friends and experts in the area who have been working with us for years.
How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?
We started with a charter yacht under the same style of others operating in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. This didn’t fit our style so we changed angles to be more of an adventure travel company who happens to be a charter boat.
What is one detail of a cruise on the Pacific Yellowfin that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?
One of our most important details is our engineer Jack, who keeps our original twin direct drive, 19 ton, 6 cylinder. Imperial Atlas Diesel engines running, without him we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere. No one notices him because no one can ever find him when we need to. Should you find this elusive creature simply prompt him for a verbatim rendition of a classic vaudeville story should you have an hour to kill.
What do you wish every guest knew as they consider joining you for a cruise along Canada’s Pacific coast?
How different the 3-4 areas of coastal British Columbia are from each other not only in terms of distance, but, wildlife, remoteness even landscape as well as the communities and people we visit.
What is one travel trend that really excites you?
Experiential travel. (For the record, all of us at TravelDew couldn’t agree more!)
What sets Pacific Yellowfin apart from other private charter options along the coast of British Columbia?
The Pacific Yellowfin itself is a classic wooden WW2 freight vessel with more history than our industry itself. Refit and repurposed for the exact reason of chartering guests along our amazing coast makes her perfect for the job. With our 3 tenders, 7 off-road motor scooters, kayaks and mountain bikes and paddle boards, there is no part of the coast inaccessible to us or our guests. That along with our waterslide, trampoline, water skis fishing equipment, snorkel, gear hot tub, and more make our boat far and away the only option that should be considered along the BC coast.
What is one insiders tip to getting the most out of an experiential travel vacation?
Take the top 20 things to do on TripAdvisor and throw them away. Look for something unique and local to do that’s off the beaten path, this way you are more immersed in the culture of the area and likely will experience a more all-around vacation.
What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow?
Not having a set itinerary, our goal is to show people our favorite areas and take them on trips that we ourselves did as a family. They are along to enjoy the ride.
What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?
One too many times kissing the blarney stone. It is said that each kiss of the blarney stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab.
Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience you provided to them.
We were having a very long day sitting on a salmon river watching bears fish. We were waiting for a spirit bear to pop out and start feeding on salmon. While we waited over a dozen black bears came in and out of the river to fish and feed their young. This particular set of bears, a mother and her yearling cub were in the middle of the river, momma fishing and baby keeping a careful watch of its surroundings. As the mother strolled in front of us watching the water, hoping to spot and catch a salmon the baby never took its eyes off of our position. All of a sudden, Salmon! The mother leaps 4 feet into the stream, both paws stretched out and mouth open. She missed. But not soon after another lunge, followed by an even bigger splash. Still no luck. We carefully waited with anticipation as she tried 4 or 5 times to catch a fish for her cub, which at this point were the only 2 bears in this part of the river. As mother and cub stood picturesquely on a log over the stream we spotted a salmon swimming up behind the bears. Fortunately so did momma, her eyes and ears darted down to the stream below her and time seemed to stop as everyone in our group was as still as the bear. Just when the suspense was reaching its peak she jumped. Moments after the huge splash and a few swats of her paw the water settled and up came the bear with a big pink salmon in her mouth. Immediately our group erupted in cheer and before we could quiet them down the now spooked mother bear dropped the fish and sent her cub up the tree directly in front of us. As the guests calmed down the mother bear went back and picked up the fish we made her drop. We watched as mother and cub shared the fish up in the tree. An unforgettable moment for not only us but I’m sure the young bear.
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