Meet our Captains

Meet Captain Ivan

Ivan Reiff is the proud owner and operator of Western Prince Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours. Ivan resides in Friday Harbor with his family year round. Ivan holds a USCG Master 100 Ton License and is part time captain on the Western Explorer. Ivan’s appreciation for marine wildlife began in childhood, working on his father’s commercial fishing vessel from the age of 9. “Commercial fishing taught me to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the marine environment. It also showed me the need for conservation and education. Our hope is that we will have a positive impact by sharing this incredible marine ecosystem with our guests.”

Meet Captain JB

John Boyd “JB” comes to us from Texas, where he got his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Biology. He taught for two years at Houston ISD Outdoor Education Center before moving to the Pacific Northwest. JB completed the Marine Naturalist Training class in 2002, and has been working as a Marine Naturalist ever since. JB has also been a volunteer with The Whale Museum’s Soundwatch boater education program since 1997. JB is also a charter member of Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists. When he’s not out with Western Prince, JB can be found on various research boats in the area assisting and learning first-hand about important research in our area.

Meet our Naturalists

Meet Chris

Chris Cassidy fell in love with the islands on a visit in 2001, and moved here 2 months later. Her first experience seeing orcas in the wild was life changing and enhancing and led her to complete The Whale Museum’s Naturalist Training in 2002 and begin working on the Western Prince in 2003. Currently our office manager and naturalist, Chris feels she has the best of both worlds and is passionate in sharing the Salish Sea experience with our guests from first phone inquiry through to the breathless wonder of our wildlife encounters. A member of SSAMN and committed to providing an educational and enlightening tour experience.

Meet Bethany

Bethany has an undergraduate degree in marine biology from UC San Diego and her Master’s degree from Scripps Institution of Oceanography where she studied marine phytoplankton. She has spent her whole life exploring the San Juan Islands from both the shore and the water but is always excited to discover new things about this wonderful place. She is very proud to have grown up on and be one of the few residents of Crane Island, a smaller, non-ferry serviced inner island of the San Juans. She loves getting to share her home and knowledge about the wildlife and ecosystem with visitors. In addition to working in the San Juan Islands, during the winter season, Bethany travels to Maui, Hawai’i to work as a naturalist for the humpback whale season there. When she’s not watching whales, she can usually be found in the water, diving and snorkeling regardless of water temperature!

Meet Katie

Katie has a degree in Zoology from Colorado State University and has worked as a naturalist in the San Juan Islands since 2001. She loves sharing her knowledge of orca whales and the island ecosystem with visitors to the region. She feels that it is very important that people gain an understanding of the natural world they are viewing. In addition to working in the San Juans, Katie has worked as a naturalist in Mexico and Alaska educating travelers about everything from gray whales to grizzly bears. She has also completed a humpback whale research internship in Hawaii and spent several years as a research assistant with the Center for Whale Research. When she’s not sharing her knowledge, Katie is an avid nature photographer and spends a lot of her free time outside trying to catch the beauty of the area. While she enjoys traveling and working in many different places, the San Juan Islands with its diverse wildlife and ecosystem, will always be home.

Meet Alison

Alison Engle has a lifelong passion for animals and the out-of-doors. Growing up in Washington State has provided her the opportunity to live in the city, the mountains and now the San Juan Islands. Alison completed the Marine Naturalist Training class in 1998 and has worked as a Naturalist ever since. She has continued her education by attending lectures, workshops and volunteering with local whale researchers and Soundwatch. Alison is also a charter member of Salish Sea Association of Marine Naturalists. When Alison is not watching whales she can often be found in her studio painting them! The marine environment provides an abundance of inspiration for her art work. “Working with the Western Prince Crew has been a priceless experience. Each trip is a new adventure. After many years of being on the water there are still many days when I hear myself saying “this is the first time I have ever seen . . . !” I can’t wait to share the next adventure with you!!”

Meet Elah

Elah grew up in Southern California with a great love for all things aquatic. She has a passion for education and conservation, specifically for the abundant wildlife of the Salish Sea. She’s excited to return for her second full season with Western Prince and enjoy all that San Juan Island has to offer! Elah still lives in constant awe that she gets to wake up every day and talk about whales for a living. Her favorite movies are Free Willy and Seinfeld, which counts as a movie when you watch it for three hours straight. 

Western Prince Whale Watching Crew

For over 30 years we have dedicated ourselves to observing and understanding the marine wildlife here in the San Juan Islands and our entire crew enjoys sharing their knowledge and insights with you. Most whale watching tours in the area often go to the same places and see the same wildlife. The main difference between tours is the guides leading them. Our company operates on a smaller scale with a personal touch, providing a superior tour while showing our utmost respect for the whales and wildlife we encounter.

Our Team Our Team