Meet the Crew

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Alex Brodie-Fleet Manager/Captain/ Naturalist, is a native of Hawaii where his family still resides. He lived on the Monterey Peninsula for many years before moving to Santa Barbara. While attending the University of California at Santa Barbara, Alex had an internship with Island Packers. After earning his Environmental Studies Degree, he worked aboard a research ship for the University of Hawaii. Alex has traveled extensively, worked in a wide variety of ocean-related businesses, and operated many different types of vessels. He started working full-time at Island Packers in 1990. When not working, Alex loves to spend time with family, surf, travel, ski, and backpack. He is passionate about the ocean and loves sharing its wonders with others. 

Andrea Mills- Education Coordinator/Crew/Naturalist, is from Malibu Lake, California and has been on the Island Packers team since 1998. Prior to her current position, Andrea ran the educational programs for the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. She loves everything ocean related as well as being in the mountains. Andrea has a passion for sharing her love of the Channel Islands. She is passionate about getting future generations hooked on this special place. She wants young visitors to see what the world around them has to offer. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Marine Biology as well as multiple teaching credentials. Andrea studied at both the University of California at Santa Barbara, and California State University at Channel Islands.

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Dave Newman – Deckhand, is a Ventura native. He joined the Island Packers team in 2015. Dave’s love of travel has taken him around the globe. A long time visitor to the Channel Islands, Dave likes sharing his knowledge with visitors. In addition to traveling, he enjoys photography and taking pictures of the local environment during his travels.  He also enjoys surfing, mountain biking and rock climbing. 

Dave Corey – Captain/Naturalist, began working for Island Packers in March 2001. He has an extensive background working on ocean vessels. At the young age of 12, Dave worked on a commercial salmon fishing boat in Alaska. Later he skippered both whale watching and dive boats in Maui, Hawaii. He has also run dive and fishing boats in Santa Barbara, California. When Dave is not working as captain for Island Packers he is an avid and low-handicap golfer, he likes to surf and play softball, but most of all he enjoys being a dad.

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DeeDee Beaman – Crew/Naturalist/Educator, has worked for Island Packers since 2005. She recently married her high school sweetheart on the Island Packers boat, the Vanguard. She enjoys educating students and the public who visit the Channel Islands. DeeDee is all about sharing her knowledge and passion for the local ocean and environment. She also works as a science technician in Marine Studies and Geology at Oxnard College.

Jackie Lockhart – Deckhand, is from Irvine, California and has been working at Island Packers since 2013. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology from California State University Channel Islands. While in college, Jackie’s  studies focused on ecology evolution and organic biology as well as chemistry. She is currently pursuing an education as an emergency medical technician. When not working and studying, Jackie enjoys her love of the outdoors including snorkeling, hiking and photography. This busy lady also finds time to volunteer at a local hospital. She is passionate about discovering the world around her and helping people. 

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Jean Scholes – Captain/Crew/Naturalist, is from Bernie, California and joined the Island Packers team in 1997. She earned her degree in Marine Science from UC Santa Barbara. She has worked as a research diver and marine science teacher. She continues to teach marine science and enjoys educating people about the Channel Islands. Jean is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to explore nature. She also loves to spend time with her daughter and family.

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Jimmy McWaters – Lead Captain/Naturalist, has worked for Island Packers since 2003 and is a self-described "jack-of-all-trades” and Renaissance man. He is an artist, mechanic, electrician and IT specialist. Jimmy has spent many years around the Channel Islands and has even circumnavigated the waters from Anacapa to San Miguel Island by kayak! If you’re ever on the Island Adventure ferry, be sure to note the artistic use of non-skid on the decks. Jimmy also enjoys making craft beer and hard cider and has created an aquaponics aquarium and enjoys gardening.

Joe Honsey - Deckhand started working for Island Packers in 2015. Prior to coming to Island Packers Joe worked as a kayak guide in Alaska and Lake Superior. Joe has BA in Fine Arts and enjoys mountain biking and kayaking in his free time. Joe enjoys assisting our guests to make the most out of their visit to this beautiful national park. 

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Joel Barrett – Captain/Naturalist, joined Island Packers in 2004. Besides being a USCG licensed captain he is also a registered nurse, active birder, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology. Joel helps to arrange Island Packers bird watching trips throughout the year. He leads hikes on all the Channel Islands and enjoys surfing, hiking, traveling, and other outdoor pursuits. 

Leanne Kleinsmith-crew/naturalist is a Ventura County native. Although she has spent years in the Real Estate business working as an Appraiser, she has always wanted to work at Island Packers and was able to join us in 2016. She loves being on the water and is very passionate about the Channel Islands. She loves animals and nature so she is currently studying for her Wildlife Biology degree.. Leanne enjoys being outdoors in her free time and you can find her kayaking, snorkeling and fishing . She loves to snowboard in the mountains.

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 Lee Fleischer – Captain/Crew/Naturalist, is from Vermont, but grew up near Boston where he taught himself to sail. Lee joined the Island Packers in 2006 and thinks operating a high-speed power catamaran is one of the best jobs ever! Lee has an MBA and worked many years in executive management. He also ran sailing school for Santa Barbara Sailing Center and helped develop the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Lee loves the Channel Islands and sharing his knowledge with visitors. He enjoys golfing, guitar and watching Formula 1 racing. Lee lives to explore what’s around the next corner.

Laurie VanStee – Crew/Naturalist/ Educator, joined Island Packers in 2007. She holds a degree from Cal Poly, in Ecology and Systematic Biology. Laurie has a Masters of Science in Environmental Education from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  With her extensive environmental fieldwork experience, Laurie recently completed a position as a naturalist and tour guide in Baja California, Mexico educating visitors about the annual Gray Whale migration to the lagoons. As an avid birder with many years of environmental field study, Laurie finds her work on the Channel Islands rewarding, educational and fun. In her free time Laurie enjoys both mountain and road biking.

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Lisa Anderson –Naturalist/Educator/Cruise Director, joined Island Packers in 2002 after running a SCUBA diving business with her husband. It included contract work for Island Packers running whale watching and local island trips. She is an educator naturalist that leads hikes on all the islands. Lisa is a member of the “All 8 Island Club”. An exceptional athlete; Lisa has run 50 marathons, participates in triathlons and half Ironman competitions. She’s currently training for a full Ironman this autumn. Lisa is married to her husband, Al with 3 children; Nicholas, Jackson and Lena.

Luke Dutton – Captain/Naturalist, joined the Island Packers team in 2010. He is a USCG licensed captain and a world traveler. Luke has a wealth of maritime experience from working on a cruise ship to running a paddle wheeler on Lake Tahoe. He loves the outdoors and enjoys snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain hiking, and of course traveling. Luke is always smiling and gives excellent advice to visitors on how to get the most out of their visit to the Channel Islands National Park.

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Matt Howard-Deckhand, is a native of Ventura and joined the Island Packers team in 2015. Previously he served in the United States Coast Guard and is still an active reservist for the USCG in Long Beach. Outside of work he enjoys surfing, hiking, and fishing and is very passionate about the outdoors.

Nate Melling – Deckhand, is originally from San Jose, CA. He also works as a wildlife biologist for the Institute for Wildlife Studies on the Channel Islands. Nate has a wealth of knowledge about the Channel Islands National Park. He has a great sense of humor and enjoys interacting and educating passengers as they head out to visit the islands. He is also an avid birder. In his free time he enjoys rock climbing, and BBQ sauce.  

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Paige Knowles – Captain/Crew/Naturalist/Educator, joined the Island Packers team in 2009 and since has earned her 100-ton USCG license. As a naturalist she leads hikes on all five islands in the Channel Islands National Park and works with many school children who come to the islands to learn and explore. Paige has previously worked as a kayak guide, glacier guide in Alaska, rock climbing guide and a blacksmith. She is also an accomplished musician presently learning the ukulele.

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Pancho Mayoral – Captain/Crew/Naturalist, joined Island Packers in 2011. He has an extensive background in ocean related activities as well as extensive marine knowledge. He has years of experience as a kayak instructor in both Baja, California as well as Alaska. Pancho is part of a team that  annually tags turtles in Baja, as part of a long-term study. He has been a whale-watching guide in Baja and outdoor education instructor. He is always improving his knowledge of whales and uses this vast knowledge as a captain and crew for Island Packers. When not working, Pancho enjoys kayaking, fishing and spending time with his family.

Paul Belgum – Crew/Naturalist, has worked for Island Packers since 2012. He is a recently retired secondary teacher from Ventura Unified School District . Paul volunteers for the Ventura County Search and Rescue. He is also an accomplished musician and singer and even plays on Island Packers Harbor Cruises. His love for the Channel Islands comes through when he is leading hikes for both the public as well as students.

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Rayon Carruthers – Deckhand, is a native of Belvedere in Red Hills, St. Andrew, Jamaica. He joined Island Packers March 2015. Before his current position, Rayon worked in Environmental and Marine Biology for 10 years. He then worked as a Master SCUBA Diving Trainer.  In 2014 he earned his USCG Captain’s License and is grateful to have landed a position at Island Packers. Rayon is excited about his new job and everything he will learn about the Channel Islands and the local environment. Before his daughter, Meadow, was born, his pastimes included playing futbol (soccer), tennis and sailing. Rayon is passionate about the ocean and what it has to offer; it’s incredible power and beauty bring him peace.

 Tim Brown-Deckhand, is an Oxnard, CA native. He worked on the Sunfish in Channel Islands Harbor as a deckhand and kayak guide at Anacapa Island before joining Island Packers in 2015. He has also worked on the Scarlet Belle as a deckhand. In his free time he enjoys surfing, fishing, and hiking. Tim loves the outdoors. He has also stayed busy by obtaining his EMT and is now looking towards earning his captain’s license. He is very passionate about both photography and surfing. 

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Thomas O’Neil – Captain/Naturalist, has been working for Island Packers since 2000. He has a wide range of maritime experience including being a captain on oil supply boats, sport fishing boats, commercial fishing boats, dive boats, a paddle wheeler, sail boats, private yachts and the Island Packer ferry boats. He enjoys being captain on what he calls, ‘the best boat in the fleet’, the Island Explorer. Thomas is an avid surfer, loves snowboarding and riding dirt bikes. He is also learning to play golf.