#WEcreateBC | Meet Carla Halvorsen, Action Packed Charters, Port Alberni
Carla is sharing her story as part of #WEcreateBC, an initiative of Women’s Enterprise Centre and Forum for Women Entrepreneurs that celebrates women entrepreneurs in BC and the communities who support them. Learn more at wecreatebc.ca
My name is Carla Halvorsen, I am a member of the Uchucklesaht Tribe and I grew up in the Village of Ehthlateese which is located about an hour boat ride down the Alberni Canal. I have a husband and a daughter and live in Port Alberni, BC.
We had to depend on boats or float planes to get to and from home and school over the years and harvested most of our traditional foods from around Kildonan and out in the Barclay Sound – it was very important to know how to operate a boat and all the safety aspects of the marine weather in order to survive down there.
I come from a whole family of skippers and fishermen – my mother was the captain of the school boat named the Lowrider back in the day for many years and also skippered my boats, and all my sisters have their skipper certifications as well. My husband Mike Lambert is also a skipper/captain and I also have my skipper certification.
I ended up working as the Law Clerk, Registrar and Director of Operations for Uchucklesaht and now live in Port Alberni. I love to work for my community and I’m always so happy to be able to meet their travel and safety needs. I decided that it was time to start up my own business at the end of 2016 called Action Packed Charters because I realized that there was a need for more passenger travel on the waters.
I ended up getting a five passenger boat called the Raider at the end of 2016, this boat is one of my favorite boats to fish in for either halibut, bottom fish or salmon. We actually started off with delivering people to their doctors appointments in this boat because medical travel was important at the time. People that lived in the isolated area of Kildonan could not always make it to their medical appointments due to lack of transportation.
I ended up getting charters for not only fishing, but also charters to sacred cultural areas where some local first nation peoples needed to oosimich or perform some traditional practices, others wanted to just cruise and explore the waters and hear about the history of our beautiful areas down in the Barclay Sound, and others that just needed to make it home or to work in some isolated areas.
By the time 2017 hit, I realized I needed a larger boat and so I ended up getting a boat named Qu’usin that can hold up to 12 passengers. Qu’usin means Raven in Nuu Chah Nulth language and ravens are thought to be the master of time. During this year I ended up winning best new business of the year through NEDC and it was such a nice surprise.
I successfully was able to gain even more charters transporting various contractors such as loggers, helicopter pilots, tree planters, BC Hydro crew and fisheries crew – also hikers to and from certain areas to complete their adventurous hikes near Bamfield or Della Falls.
I also liked working with Dave McCormick at the Port Alberni Port Authority, he was able to incorporate our company into their family events through China Creek Campground and also Family Port Days where many activities were planned for families and children.
I had always wanted my own fleet of boats to meet the activity demands for this area and I do ensure that I am able to create the best package for each passenger depending on their needs because everyone has a different idea of what they would like to do.
It was always a dream of mine to have my own company and I am happy to say I was able to make that dream come true with the support of such great people in these communities between Port Alberni, Bamfield and Kildonan.
I have still have so many more creative ideas I can incorporate into this company and it is exciting – there are so many more fun possibilities for different sorts of adventures.
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