Who Are We?

Tom Averna established Deer Harbor Charters is 1988. Before that he was an independent marine surveyor and professional captain working on various yachts in the Caribbean and the east coast. He studied Marine and environmental sciences at the College of the Virgin Islands. After calling the Virgin Islands home he moved to Orcas Island in 1988 where he raised his twins. Tom is now the “old man” in the business. He has been doing tours longer than anyone in the islands.

Nate Averna grew up on our whale watching boats. During the Summer months when Nate and his sister were out of school they spent every day aboard one of the boats watching and learning about the whales. Nate worked on the tall ship Picton Castle as engineer for two years. He obtained his master’s captain license in 2011 and has been one of our captains and will be the new owner of Deer Harbor Charters in the near future.

Natalie Herner has worked with Deer Harbor Charters since 1994. She has a background in environmental sciences working for the state doing bird counts, observing and documenting. She works at the Orcas school as a special Ed aid. Natalie has her captains license and also her own business doing guided hikes at Moran State Park or Turtleback Mt. She has a passion for teaching and showing our guests the whales as well as the rest of the ecosystem.

Cameron Fralick is our senior captain. He has worked with Deer Harbor Charters for ten years. He is the primary captain aboard Squito and is always happy to share his local knowledge with our guests. He is an Orcas Island local, growing up on the island his entire life. Cameron has sailed on the square rigger Concordia, covering the entire Pacific Rim countries. He is living aboard his 37′ sloop enjoying life afloat.

Trey Vore is a trained wildlife biologist who has been a lead naturalist for six years. He is also a substitute teacher at the elementary school. His background and deep love of the whales is a perfect fit for leading trips. We are happy Trey has become part of our family.

Marta Branch has worked with Deer Harbor Charters for five years. She is the environmental science teacher at the high school and established the Oasis program here on the island. She helped dozens of struggling high school students obtain their high school diploma. Marta is our primary naturalist at Rosario Resort during the Summer.