Meet Captain Neil McDermott & Karen Mead
My career path first led me to dietary management for hospitals and long-term care facilities for 30 years. Many years ago, while conversing with friends, I reflected that if I could do my career over again, I would want to be a marine mammal biologist. As a young boy the TV series “Flipper” was one of my all-time favorites and I never missed a Jacques Cousteau special.
During a high school reunion, it struck me. I realized that far too many classmates had passed away and a good friend said to me, “tomorrow isn’t promised.” I continued my career for a few more years and then one sleepless night at about 3:30 am I told my partner; I was done with my career and I was submitting my resignation. I had no idea what I wanted to do. Amazingly, she lovingly supported my decision. I spent a couple of months exploring various business opportunities and formed an LLC. While unclear as to what exactly our company was going to do, we spent a lot of time exploring and fishing throughout this beautiful slice of heaven in which we live.
In October of 2016, we attended WHALEFEST organized by the Sitka Sound Science Center and listened to the presentations from leading research marine scientists from around the world. One of the presenters was Dr. Jim Darling of the Maui Whale Trust who spoke about humpback whale songs. As I devoured his lecture the light bulb lit up. I wanted to offer whale watching tours on which our guests could listen to the whales. I approached Dr. Darling after his presentation and he graciously spent time with me and subsequently, via email, answered my frequent inquiries about the equipment he uses for amplifying and recording the whales. Voila! A Whale’s Song Expeditions was to be our company. A short 11 months later, we hosted our first guest.
We so appreciate Sitka and wanted our company to help sustain the great organizations that make this such a wonderful community. Since partnering with local, national, and global organizations that research and protect the marine environment, our company has donated over $5,000 in just 3 years.
We did not want to be a turn-and-burn, next-group-come-board type of tour company that just delivers a narration. We set our mission to enchant our customers and be Sitka’s premier whale and wildlife tour company. Therefore, we only offer small group expeditions with longer itineraries and always have both a naturalist/photography professional and our captain on board for every trip.
To this day I know I have the closest possible job to that of a marine mammal biologist and I absolutely have THE best office (helm) view of anyone in the world. I am privileged to share my office view, the stunning landscape, and exciting marine wildlife behaviors with guests who I now call friends.
We hope to tour with you soon.