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Spotlight on Guides: Robin Humphreys, our newest Guide Trainer

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Robin Humphreys

Level 3 with Guide Trainer 
Time with the SKGABC: 8 years

Robin Humphreys

Where do you work / paddle and for whom?

I've mainly guided for Spirit of the West Adventures and Mothership Adventures but have also worked for Gabriola Sea Kayaking, SKILS and various private schools. I've guided in lots of areas in BC, but mostly in Johnstone Straight, the Broughton Archipelago and the Great Bear Rainforest as well as internationally in Chilean Patagonia and the Exam Cays in the Bahamas with Spirit of the West Adventures. 

Do you have a side / winter gig or study?

I have had various winter jobs, as most guides have. I've worked as a snowmobile tour guide in Whistler, a Ski Patroller, and most recently at Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Courtenay, all mostly to support being a ski bum in the winter. Still figuring out what I'll be "when I grow up"...

What do you like to educate or inspire guests about?

I love to see my guests inspired to think and care more for the ecosystems that we get to see during our trips. I particularly enjoy it when people arrive eager to see some "charismatic megafauna" like killer whales and I am able to show them all the smaller organisms that support the food web that allows these huge mammals to exist. I feel like I've done my job well when someone leaves just as excited and interested in krill or bull kelp or sea stars as they are about the whales.

What's a challenging memory or trip you've had as a guide and what did you take from it?

Probably the most challenging element of guiding for me has always been dealing with those occasional guests (not to stereo type, but generally older males) who just can't fathom that someone 1/3 their age and 1/2 their size might actually know more than they do about something. I have been fortunate enough to work with some great male co-guides who have offered their support and built up my credibility in front of those challenging guests. It's something I'm sure most young female guides encounter, and I think I have probably learned patience and confidence from dealing with it, along with a slightly cynical sense of humour.

What's something you did when you started guiding, that you don't do anymore?

When I first started guiding I often shared a tent with my coguide, now I've had enough smelly feet for one lifetime. I also used to write a full on novel in my log book... no longer.

Favourite meal to make as a guide?

Fresh fish. In particular cod or salmon chowder on a cold wet day. I've been gifted fish by generous fishermen before and it's such a bonus treat to BBQ it on a hot sunny day or turn it into a tasty chowder in the pouring rain.  

Care to share a guiding-related fun fact?

That sea foam that you get when waves have been crashing on rocks? You know the really foamy, frothy stuff that sticks to the side of your boat when you paddle through it? Its actually millions of little critters (phytoplankton) called diatoms. The diatoms are made of silica with oils inside, when they are smashed on the rocks the silica shell breaks and the oil and silica is whipped up with he sea water and forms this foam that we have so much fun paddling through.

Favourite spot in the world to arrive at and pull up your kayak ... 

If I told you, I'd have to kill you. Haha! 
- Robin