Chartering the Pacific Yellowfin – Conversations with Marc

Our founder and President Marc Telio is many things. A keen and curious explorer, business owner and friend to many. Throughout his years of adventures, he’s connected with countless fascinating individuals.

Our first conversation is with Colin Griffinson, owner and Captain of the Pacific Yellowfin Yacht. From the open ocean to the fairway, Marc and Colin’s friendship has spanned decades and is rooted in respect and admiration.

Originally built as a coastal freighter for the United States Army in WWII, the Pacific Yellowfin boasts a storied history, including being used by John F. Kennedy as a survey ship during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Today, lovingly restored by Captain Colin Griffinson, the Pacific Yellowfin spends her summers cruising the British Columbia coastline and sharing the Great Bear Rainforest with guests from all over the world. Read on for Marc’s interview with Colin, touching on everything from his most outrageous guest demands to how he keeps his golf swing in perfect form.

Colin the captain of the Pacific Yellowfin
Colin the captain of the Pacific Yellowfin

Marc: What led you to buy this boat, and what condition was she in?

Colin: When I saw the Pacific Yellowfin for the first time it was at the Olympia tugboat races in Puget Sound, a west coast madness. It was love at first sight. She was just the way I would have started: a collection of soft and hardwoods with some driftwood thrown in for good measure, all varnished up in ‘Bristol fashion’. But the running gear needed attention, and as you would have guessed, way more attention than one could have imagined. On meeting her owner, I thanked him for starting the restoration on my boat. He was, to say the least, surprised, but over time I convinced him that this was the case and so it ended up with him selling me the boat.

Marc: Tell us about your day job and overall career path?

Colin: I am a master painter by trade, 5th generation. Four generations in Ireland and I continued the company in Vancouver. It does very well and we are in all the fine homes in Vancouver, even going overseas for certain architects. As a young lad, I spent some time at sea, and if I didn’t have a family business to go into I am sure I would have a master mariner/deep sea captain.

Marc: What’s an average day like for guests onboard the Pacific Yellowfin?

Colin: No such thing as average! Up early in the morning, breakfast, away to beach comb, go kayaking, fishing, hiking exploring, swimming, motor or mountain biking, or meeting the local people. It truly is endless, and very difficult to pack it all in one week. This is why most of our guests return for more.

A brown bear with a tasty lunch
A brown bear with a tasty lunch

Marc: Tell us about the Great Bear Rainforest and why you’re passionate about sharing it with guests?

Colin: I love the wilderness. When the open ocean and land are combined in one massive wilderness package I am all in. Playing with world-class ocean travelers (whales), world-class kings of the mountains (bears/wolves) and sharing it with my clients (and watching them lose it!) is definitely a tonic for my good health.

Marc: You’re about as Irish as it gets. What led you to Canada?

Colin: Yes, I’m proud of my Irish heritage and still spend time with a lot of Irish people. I married a pretty Canadian girl in Ireland, and she dragged me across the pond kicking and screaming. I go back regularly, but Canada is my home now – and the BC coast never ceases to amaze me.

Marc: What are some of the more outrageous requests you’ve had from a guest?

Colin: Before it was legalized, marijuana used to be a request – as it ties in with island life. One guest (after seeing almost everything) asked me to show her a swimming grizzly bear. As ridiculous as this may sound we found one for her within a half-hour.

Marc: I spend my entire winter doing hardcore golf in all kinds of weather, golf trips to warmer destinations to keep playing, spending my time at the driving range on cold and blustery days and always working on my swing.   You show up in the late spring, not having lifted a club in 10 months, and somehow, with your clubs from 1907, you crush my score without breaking a sweat.  How does that happen?

Colin: Well natural talent is a bonus, but having the perfect swing that needs correct timing can be a curse when you don’t spend enough time on the practice range trying to keep it in tune. At my age, whether I shoot 76 or 176 I still enjoy the game.

Marc: Colin – you seem to have it all worked out.  You own and run very successful businesses.   You’re the best (and only one) at what you do.  You’ve been married to a wonderful woman forever.   You have great kids who follow in your business footsteps.  You seem to spend most of your time only on things about which you are passionate…and you still find time to golf with me.   What’s your secret to life and happiness?

Colin: I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated, and be fair and square. I think the karma from that alone manages to keep me on the right track, it really is that simple.

Water fun on the Pacific Yellowfin
Ever seen a water slide coming off an ex-Navy craft?

Experience British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest and Colin at the helm of the Pacific Yellowfin yacht with our Yachts Lodges & Resorts experience.