Indigenous Tourism Business Feature: Sea Wolf Adventures, BC
Sea Wolf Adventures
Mike Willie spends a lot of time on the ocean off northeastern Vancouver Island — the traditional territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw. The owner/operator of Sea Wolf Adventures takes small groups of visitors from the island to the smaller island community of Alert Bay to tour a longhouse and the cultural centre. He also guides people through waters teeming with dolphins, whales and other marine life while crossing to the mainland and going deep into X̱a̱ḵwika̱n (Thompson Sound) and Hada (Bond Sound).
Willie, who is from the village of Kingcome Inlet and a member of the Musgamakw Dzawada‘enuxw First Nation, put a grant of $5,000 toward buying a new, comfortable 33-foot vessel. “Our company has invested $275,000 into our new, more up-to-date vessel for our guests,” says Willie. “It’s very stable and great in the rough water, very spacious inside with high-back seating, charging stations at every seat for iPhones and Androids and a TV for presentations.” The Mayumi has the same name as his daughter: “The word means truth and beauty—hence travel.”
While the grant covered only a fraction of the cost of the boat, a North River 3100, it demonstrated external confidence in the company and helped secure support from the bank. “With these funds, we showed financial institutions that we have the support and trust of ITAC when we asked for a business loan,” says Willie. “The grant put us in a better position to undertake the larger infrastructure upgrades we need to expand, become profitable, and better meet market demand.”