Meet the Crew

Captain Darci Bogdan

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  • Hello, my name is Darci Bogdan and I’m one of the Captains here at Sea Spirit Ocean Safari. I’m a Santa Cruz local that grew up sailing the Monterey Bay with my family aboard a 50 ft. Piver Trimaran. In 2000 my family and I left Santa Cruz to cruise the world and all of its treasures. As a teenager my passions were surfing, scuba diving and traveling through foreign countries all the way to the East Coast of the United States through the Panama Canal.
    In 2010 I received a BA in Children’s Book illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design. During this time I also studied metals and jewelry design but never truly found my art form until recently when a family friend took me under her wing and taught me the ancient art form of cloisonné.
    Shortly after graduating college, I moved to NYC and become an ASA Sailing Instructor and found my passion for teaching and education while still pursuing my creative field.
    In 2013 I became a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, moved back to Santa Cruz and continued working as a Sailing instructor and Charter Captain for various companies while simultaneously illustrating local children’s books.
    In 2018 I began working for Sea Spirit Ocean Safari to continue my journey through educating the public about the wonders of the ocean.
    My long term mission in life is to share, inspire and educate others about the beauties of the ocean so that we can all learn to take better care of it. I look forward to seeing you on one of our charters!

    My creative release;

Captain Joe Stoops

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  • My name is Joe Stoops and my passion begins in the ocean but from a fisherman’s perspective. I have fished the coastal waters of California since 1968. My offshore experience started in 1974 when I acquired my first boat and tried my hand at commercial fishing. While operating a commercial salmon troller I opted to convert it to a salmon mooching boat to save fuel and enjoy the sport aspect.
    In 1993 I acquired my captain’s license and this kicked off my first season in Alaska.
    There I was based out of Elfin Cove and fished the remote waters of the northernmost entrance to the Fabled Inside passage. This is where I fished the most consistent waters in the world for five species of Salmon, Pacific Halibut and Lingcod. I continued for five more seasons becoming Elfin Cove’s top guide. It was important for me to promote the catch and release of 100 lb.+ Halibut because of the fact that they are predominately spawning females. This included tagging and releasing Halibut for research purposes.
    During Alaska’s winter season I migrated south to the Florida Keys and Guatemala. Operating a charter boat, I fished for tuna and bill fish. This is also where I learned the art of live bait sailfishing while using light tackle. As Captain, competing in Sailfish tournaments, I perfected my boat handling skills in tight aggressive situations. While residing in Key Largo I also operated dive boats for charter and research work in which time I acquired my Diver Master certification.
In the fall of 1995, I returned to my native Santa Cruz and began offering custom sportfishing charters in the Monterey Bay. However, there were still a couple years where I switched between home and Alaska.
    During the past 20 years, I’ve gotten married and had four children. The last two decades in particular, I’ve seen the importance of sustainability first hand. Not only in the fishing community but in our oceans as a whole. My experience is vast but teaching others about the biodiversity of our Monterey Bay and the importance of our oceans has always been and remains very important to me.


Naturalist Kaelyn DeYoung

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  • My name is Kaelyn, and I am 24 years old. I grew up in southern California about an hour east of Los Angeles. When I was 18 I moved up to Monterey for college. I attended local California State University Monterey Bay from 2012 to 2018 majoring in Marine Science! During one of those years I enrolled in a study abroad program in Queensland, Australia. Australia was beautiful, and I was fortunate enough to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World (the Great Barrier Reef)!  Growing up I was always outside adventuring, and had a strong interest/appreciation for wildlife. Today you can still find me outside exploring with a camera in hand! One of my favorite past times is to shoot wildlife photography. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to have a job that allowed me to learn while spread awareness on the importance of protecting ecosystems along with the animals found within them. I first became involved with working on whale watching boats in Monterey back in 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Come out and see for yourself how amazing the Monterey Bay is! You will learn why this place is known for being the world famous whale watching heart of California along with why Monterey plays a vital role in the region’s marine health, and biodiversity. I look forward to sharing my love of the Monterey Bay and it’s inhabitants with you.

Naturalist Helen Christianson

Naturalist Helen Christianson Steering a boat
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  • Hello my name is Helen and I was born and raised in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California. I attended UC Santa Barbara and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Patagonian Ecosystems. Since graduating, I have worked as a CA native plant propagator, crew on the Chardonnay sailboats, selling produce at local farmers markets, kayak guiding in the Kenai Fjords national park in Alaska and in Moss Landing, and most recently as a naturalist at a residential outdoor education school in Pescadero, CA. I have spend years traveling the world and exploring here on the West Coast and I am thrilled to have landed back in my hometown of Santa Cruz. The Monterey Bay is one of my favorite places on earth and I couldn’t be more excited to share what I love the most..the ocean! I spend most of my time sailing, surfing, and kayaking on the Monterey Bay but some of my land lover activities include mountain biking, tree climbing and long walks on the beach.