Crew and A: Liam Ogle
Liam joined Outer Shores Expeditions full time in 2016 as Mate aboard the Passing Cloud. Now with over 13-years guiding in the outdoor adventure industry, spanning several countries, climates, activities, and terrains, Liam brings a wealth of diversity to our crew onboard. Liam is as busy as a bee and quiet as a mouse as he maneuvers around the Passing Cloud from sun-up to sundown. You’ll find him adjusting the sails to catch that perfect wind, all-the-while on the lookout for whales and wildlife, as he shares his knowledge of the coast with our guests. His humble and positive demeanor, combined with his understanding of and passion for these wild places, makes him the perfect addition to life aboard a small-ship on the coast of British Columbia.
How did you get into the outdoor adventure industry?
It was my focus right from day one. I went into the guiding industry right away with the Outdoor Adventure Guiding Program at North Island College. I dabbled in all sorts of sports and outdoor activities that involved guiding. I started out leading hiking trips in the Rockies as an interpretive guide, learning the ecology of the Rocky Mountains in Jasper National Park. That was my first introduction, and I immediately got hooked to just be out in nature all day – that was definitely the selling point. But then I quickly realized I needed to be by the ocean again because I grew up on Prince Edward Island. I wanted the mountains but I knew I had to be by the water, so I went to the coast and kind of did everything from sea kayaking to white-water rafting, to mountain bike and road bike tours, and all sorts of other activities.
I got a job in the Galapagos Islands on a similar type of operation as Outer Shores where you have a group of guests come aboard. I loved that style of guiding, where you cover a huge section of the coast and see different spots every day. I really enjoyed that. I then got hired on at King Pacific Lodge on the Central Coast, and that’s where I fell in love with the Great Bear Rainforest. We were land-based so we could only get as far as you could within a day. I was doing a lot of zodiac driving, whale watching, and bear viewing. We had a helicopter so we got to explore a lot of the interior mountains of the Great Bear Rainforest, doing heli-hiking excursions – which was so great, but I really missed the boat-based tours.
How did you discover Russ and the Passing Cloud?
My very first trip as mate onboard Passing Cloud was a chartered trip with another company in Haida Gwaii in 2015. Russ was captain and I just loved the boat. Russ asked me to stay onboard for an additional week to help with some maintenance, and that’s where I just fell in love with the Passing Cloud.
I was actually in Australia when I sent my resume to Russ, in anticipation of hopefully getting a job when I got back. He called me when I was still there, and I said, “I’m flying home, I’ll meet you in a couple of days!” Twenty-four hours of me being home, I had a meeting with Russ and then he offered me the job!
So now that you’re back working in BC, how do you compare the two? Do you miss working overseas?
Yeah, I miss going to new places, new countries – it was an adventure. I love boating so that’s what drew me in initially, but there was something missing. You would show up to this beautiful place, but no one would really appreciate it. With Outer Shores, I was drawn in by Russ’ philosophy of exploring these places and really learning about them on a whole other level. When I worked aboard the private yacht, I got to tour around all of these beautiful countries, but we didn’t really know much about where we were, other than just learning ourselves and reading some books. These expeditions that Outer Shores does, it really brings you into the heart of the culture of the area and the love of nature. Having the onboard specialists that have PhD’s in everything from intertidal life, to killer whales, and people who have been archaeologists on the coast for 25 years… the level of knowledge that these people share is incredible and I just get to soak it in through osmosis – it’s pretty awesome! Every day is a learning experience; it’s like a moving classroom.
Out of all the regions that Outer Shores explores, do you have a favourite?
The Great Bear Rainforest, for sure. I think the Great Bear Rainforest definitely has a special place in my heart. I have a lot of really fond memories from there and have spent a lot of time there. The scenery and the wildlife are just phenomenal, with endless little nooks and crannies to explore. I’ve been going back to the Great Bear for almost 6 seasons, and have barely scratched the surface of some of the spots. There are still so many inlets and islands that I have on my list that I want to go back to and haven’t got around to yet. There is this expansive coastline just waiting to be seen, and Russ will take me there for sure on Passing Cloud, at some point or another.
Do you have a most memorable moment with Outer Shores?
That’s a tough question. I wouldn’t say most memorable, but definitely some special moments, ones that you’ll remember forever. Most of them have to do with spectacular wildlife encounters, a lot happening in the Great Bear. Being completely surrounded by humpback whales, not knowing which way to look; A beautiful summer day, setting all sails, turning the engine off and just cruising and enjoying the surroundings; and then exploring some areas that you would totally miss if you didn’t have a naturalist onboard to point out features that you would have never known existed if it wasn’t for them. So I get to learn a really immense amount of facts about the coast in every little spot that we tour, from Haida Gwaii to the central coast. I couldn’t say one moment in particular would trump all of them. They’re all wonderful in their own way.
What is it that makes a good expedition aboard the Passing Cloud?
Every trip you’re going to get wildlife of some kind, which is special. Nature will provide what nature provides, and each moment is special in every expedition for that. Every area that we go is spectacular, so not one place is necessarily better than the other. It’s the people that you share those experiences with that make it the most memorable, the group that is joining you onboard the Passing Cloud to see all of these things, the moments that you have, the laughs that you share over dinner, and the stories that you get to talk about at the end of the trip, about what we experienced that week. That’s what makes it most special.
If Outer Shores were to explore a new region, where would you hope that to be?
The Kitlope area in the Great Bear Rainforest. It’s a place of the coast that I’ve never been that I’ve been dying to see. I’d like to explore that area and its big Fjords. I would like to explore the Bella Coola area as well, in the southern regions of the Great Bear Rainforest. And if Russ ever wants to sail up to southeast Alaska, I’d be totally keen with that too! The Aleutian Islands – let’s get wild! Who knows? Anywhere the Passing Cloud goes I’m there!