Staff Highlight: Daryl DancerWe have an incredible staff team at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Each staff member comes with a different background, skill set and strengths making our team varied and diverse. These differences and strengths blend together to create our warm and friendly Farewell family. So, we thought it would be nice to start a staff highlight series to celebrate our amazing and appreciated staff members. We would like to share a little more about one of our most experienced guides, Daryl Dancer, to kick off the series!
|Daryl is a water-loving person. She has spent the majority of her life working and playing in marine and aquatic environments. Growing up in northwestern Ontario, she spent a lot of time on interior lakes. This affinity has been growing since a very young age when she took her first-ever boat ride at only six months old. Later in her childhood, Daryl took up recreational sailing and has continued this hardcore hobby to this day. She loves her sailboat so much that Daryl sails up to Farewell Harbour at the beginning of each season and anchors in the bay to sleep aboard her boat after a hard day's work. Every evening she rows a small rowboat from the lodge home to her little floating abode where she enjoys the peace, quiet, and gentle rocking of the waves. Daryl also volunteered and trained for 11 years with marine search and rescue, combining her passion for being on the water with her interest in helping others.
|Photo by: Lesley Bainbridge
Daryl got her first job as a bear viewing guide at Knight Inlet Lodge when she was hired in 2007 by Tim, the Operations Manager at the time. She said, “This job kind of found me because I trained in outdoor recreation and environmental assessment technology, and I’d never heard of bear viewing before. So one night at a friend’s house party, I was talking to the host about my background, and he said, ‘Woah, have you ever thought about being a guide?’ And I just thought the whole idea of it was incredible. And of course, I never told anybody that I was petrified of bears! But I convinced myself I wasn’t going to let this stop me. I’m sure I can get over it!” And I think we can all agree, that she’s most definitely conquered that fear with grace and determination.
From Knight Inlet Lodge, Daryl went on to work with Tide Rip Grizzly Tours, which operates out of Telegraph Cove, and she worked with Tim again at Spirit Bear Lodge, in the First Nations community of Klemtu on BC’s northern coast. At Spirit Bear Lodge, Daryl quickly developed the nickname Aunty D, and whether she liked it or not, it stuck! When I asked her about it, she said, “Oh that! A couple of the First Nations skippers started calling me Aunty, and at first, I was like, ‘I’m nobody’s aunty!’ but then Tim told me it was a sign of respect, so I decided just to let it roll.” The nickname must’ve stuck because when you work with Daryl, you can’t help but look up to her.
Although Daryl must have hundreds of great stories from her years of guiding, one of her favourite things is getting to know individual Grizzly bears and their behaviours and temperament. When you watch them over the years, you learn that they all have different personalities, and when you recognize individual bears, you can view them more comfortably. One story she told was from her time at Spirit Bear Lodge. “During one of my last tours, I had a precocious subadult, and he was looking at me, and I could tell that he was about to push the boundaries. And so, I had to get aggressive with my voice around him. He was being so cheeky! Not in a harmful way, but he was encroaching on our sit spot when he was not supposed to. So I used my big bear voice, and he eventually turned around and continued upriver. That’s why you need to understand the temperaments of the bears we’re viewing. I remembered that bear being cheeky from last year.”
In the off-season from her guiding work, Daryl works in partnership with the Commercial Bear Viewing Association (CBVA) as an instructor for a blended delivery course to be a level 1 bear viewing guide. She has also developed her own online content for bear safety and awareness for a more recreational audience. This information is geared towards avid outdoors people and the hiking community to get them interested in bear awareness to help keep both people and bears safe. Although she’s still developing her website and training platform, there are some excellent resources and recorded lectures about bear safety at www.daryldancer.com. Here at Farewell Harbour Lodge, we’re very fortunate to have a deeply experienced guide such as Daryl. Her knowledge and expertise add to the richness and depth of our team!
By: Sylvie Stewart Grantham
Past Blog Posts
Jun 13, 2022
Forest FungiForest Fungi are an important part in any forest ecosystem. Read more about how they reproduce, recycle nutrients, and work in symbiosis with others!
Apr 23, 2022
Staff Highlight: Daryl DancerFind out more about one of our most experienced guides, Daryl Dancer, from her love of sailing to her passion for Grizzly bears, she's got it all.
Mar 25, 2022
Sea Otter Success StoryDiscover more about the turbulent history of sea otters in British Columbian waters.
Mar 10, 2022
Wild Pacific Salmon EcologyFind out more about Pacific wild salmon. This post covers their diverse, intriguing ecology and why they're so important for our ecosystem!
Feb 20, 2022
How Hammerhead Got a NameFind out how the humpback whale, Hammerhead, got named! This is one of our favourite stories to tell at Farewell Harbour Lodge.
Feb 1, 2022
Tomato Basil SoupCheck out Chef Dylan's recipe for his delicious homemade tomato basil soup!
Jan 14, 2022
Rainforest EcologyJoin us on an imaginary journey into the Great Bear Rainforest, and maybe along the way you'll learn some ecology!
Jan 3, 2022
Reflecting on 2021Winter is the time of year when we reflect on the past before looking ahead.
Dec 13, 2021
Winter at Farewell Harbour LodgeMeet Cecil and Marisa, our winter caretakers, and get a glimpse into their winter life at Farewell Harbour Lodge.
May 1, 2021
Wildlife Guide - BearsWe put together a quick, easy guide to help you better understand what to expect when you go bear viewing with Farewell Harbour Lodge!
Apr 24, 2021
Farewell Kitchen - Paul's CioppinoWe uncovered a recipe from the past and had to share it with you! Enjoy with a crisp white wine in the sunshine!
Apr 19, 2021
Top Tips for Photography at Farewell HarbourWe are lucky to have some very talented friends, who also happen to be professional photographers! We asked them for some of their top tips!
Apr 10, 2021
Wildlife Guide - WhalesFind out more about whale watching in the Broughton Archipelago, from what you should bring with you to the best time of year to visit!
Mar 24, 2021
The Rest of the StoryThere are many stories that came together for Farewell Harbour Lodge to be where it is now. Ryne Brockway, co-owner and friend, tells us his.
Mar 11, 2021
Sweet Potato CookiesChef Robyn's easy and delicious sweet potato cookie recipe! Perfect for a boost of energy when out on the trails or just need a little pick me up.
Mar 2, 2021
Staying Jung on Berry IslandHave you ever taken a personality test? We talk about how MBTI is used to create better working relationships and strong connections.
Feb 25, 2021
Engage all your sensesThere are many ways in which we find escape. We look at how engaging all of your senses can help to switch off the outside pressures in a more mindful way.
Feb 11, 2021
A Love StoryTim tells us a Valentines Day story of how he and Kelli met and fell in love on this wild west coast.
Feb 2, 2021
The Forest Floor with MarlieOur rainforests are home to so much life! One of our guides, Marlie, helps us to notice the smaller things that are vital to its survival.
Jan 27, 2021
Going, going, SCONE!One of our guests' all time favourites! We get asked for this recipe more than any other, so here it is to enjoy from home.
Jan 17, 2021
A different perspectiveA wonderful way to see more of the vast landscape is by air! Read about one morning we took to the skies and experienced everything from mountain tops to sandy beaches.
Dec 21, 2020
Sea Kayaking with BeccaOne of our kayak guides, Becca, tells us why this is her favourite way to get even closer to nature and experience the Broughton Archipelago at its best.
Dec 18, 2020
Sointula - Place of Harmony on Malcolm IslandThings to do in Sointula! Full day excursions to Sointula and Malcolm Island. Pioneer history, whale rubbing beaches, historic lighthouse and more!
Nov 1, 2020
Differences between black bears and grizzliesA few things to look out for when bear viewing with our guides at Farewell Harbour. We look at some of the main differences between black bears and grizzlies.