We are very proud of our expert guide staff. They are an intergral reason our kayak, bike and hike tours along the Califoirnia Central Coast area are so highly rated.
Kat was born and raised in Oregon where nearly every weekend of her childhood she was camping, hiking or kayaking with her family. Mountains, rivers and beaches were around every corner and her father encouraged constant exploration. Since moving to California, she has been finding new adventures all around the state to enjoy, such as Yosemite, Big Sur and Sequoia National Park. "I couldn't have settled in a more beautiful part of California than the Central Coast. The people in Morro Bay are wonderful and the scenery is so breathtaking that I never tire from it."
She has always known she would work with nature and since graduating from Oregon State she has explored many directions to incorporate that into a career. Taking reptiles to classrooms, training animals as a zookeeper, driving/guiding bus tours through the San Diego Zoo, and taking students on nature hikes are all experiences that have shaped her knowledge of the natural world and her love of sharing its wonder with others.
Craig is a true local, born and raised in the San Luis Obispo area. Although Craig has traveled quite a bit, he refers to Morro Bay as his home port and currently resides there. Craig is an artist and can often be found at local art and music festivals. He is an avid mountain biker as well as a hiker and a kayaker and loves exploring the Big Sur area. Craig is passionate about sharing the wonders of our local area with visitors and locals alike. He can often be found on Morro Bay for a dawn kayak over to the dunes for a bit of meditation and yoga.
Erin grew up in beautiful Cambria, California, where she spent most of her time playing in the woods and developing a love and a curiosity for the outdoors. She has since followed her curiosity to Cal Poly, where she studies Biology, and to Pacific Wildlife Care, where she gets hands-on experience with much of the local wildlife that we see on the bay. She loves to talk about the wonders of the county she grew up in and the incredible creatures we share it with. She especially loves birds and loves to be active in a kayak on the bay, on her bicycle around town, or on her feet hiking one of the many trails the Central Coast of California has to offer. In her down time, Erin likes to paint, and you can often see one of her paintings on the auction item list at benefits for Pacific Wildlife Care.
Karen has always had a passion for nature and the outdoors. Her first job was working on a horse ranch and giving tours on horseback in the Santa Monica Mountains. Later on she attended the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College where she worked with and trained everything from an African lion to a bald eagle. After completing the program, she went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to finish her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science as well as a minor in Equine Science. Karen also taught elementary students about natural history and ecology in an outdoor school setting and is an active volunteer at Pacific Wildlife Care. In 2015 Karen became a registered nurse. When she is not kayaking on the bay, you can find her mountain biking, scuba diving, or snowboarding.
Spending her summers growing up on a small lake in Maine ten miles from the ocean and close to mountains, Rose has utilized the outdoors as her playground from a young age. She graduated from the University of Vermont in 2008 with a degree in Recreation Management and Sustainable Tourism in the Rubinstein School of Natural Resources. Since then Rose has worked at an eco-resort in the Caribbean, worked on a farm and traveled in Patagonia, South America, and has worked as crew on sailboats in Maine, finding herself on a few boat deliveries to and from the Caribbean. Since 2007, Rose has worked for various kayaking companies back east. In the spring of 2011 she became certified as a registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide, guiding in Maine and now for Central Coast Outdoors starting winter of 2011. Rose is enthusiastic on and off the water and thoroughly enjoys sharing her love for and knowledge of the environment around us.
From a very young age, Kyle has had a tenacious attraction to nature. It was not uncommon to find him crawling through a narrow deer trail, or snorkeling in the kelp forests of Catalina Island. His enthusiasm for nature got him his first job as a field station manager in Baja, California. For 2 years he called Bahia de Los Angeles home, where he helped lead study abroad programs that focused on marine biology. Kyle was fortunate have many wonderful encounters there, including swimming with whale sharks and exploring uninhabited desert islands. The experience encouraged him to pursue a degree in biology, which he began at Cuesta College in 2012. Here he took as many field courses as possible, and founded the Cuesta Naturalist Club. His two and half years at Cuesta firmly introduced him to the rich natural history of San Luis Obispo county, and acquainted him with many of its local characters. Kyle is currently at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he is studying ecological systems with a degree in Biology. He is a curator for the plant conservatory, and is actively involved in graduate level research among his own undergraduate projects. His love for nature and the Morro Bay area is infectious, which he uses to share a sense of renewed wonder as often as he can.
Growing up on a ranch on California's Central Coast provided an early and bountiful immersion into the natural world for guide Kyla Grafton. While attending Humboldt State University in the heart of the redwoods her love for the outdoors blossomed. College exposed Kyla to several outdoor recreational pursuits. She was able to combine her love of whitewater rafting and kayaking with her education in Natural Resources to work as a kayak and interpretive ranger for the National Park Service. She has also worked as a naturalist and guide in Alaska, a whitewater river guide in Northern California as well as a naturalist educating children in an outdoor school near Santa Barbara. Working as a guide and naturalist is often seasonal, which has given Kyla the opportunity for much global exploration.
Cycle touring through Laos, trekking in the Himalayas, paddling in New Zealand, living with a Garifuna family in Honduras and scuba diving along Australia's Great Barrier Reef have been some of the highlights during her life of travels.
Kyla is currently developing a new set of skills as a wife and mother to two young children. Among other things her kids are helping to rekindle her sense of wonder through their joy of rock hopping, puddle jumping, tree climbing and boogie boarding.
Steve grew up in SLO County, where he developed a lifelong passion for the water. He went north to Humboldt State (where he met his wife) and Oregon State to study Fish Biology. After working for 12 years as a fisheries biologist in the Northwest, the rain finally got to Steve and his wife and they moved back to the Central Coast of California. For the past 6 years Steve has taught biology at Cuesta College and Hancock College. When he's not exploring the coast with his young daughter Zoe, Steve enjoys fishing, surfing, mountain biking, hiking, SCUBA diving and (of course) kayaking. He has been kayaking for over 25 years and loves sharing the beauty and wonders of the Morro Bay estuary with unsuspecting visitors!
If you could describe Mandy in a few words it is this... she possesses an adventuress spirit, a keen eye for the patterns in nature and a deep love for creatures and the ecosystems they live in. She has a strong background in biology, decades of coaching and environmental instruction, experience as a world-class competitive paddler, a lifetime relationship with the ocean, and has been an environmental activist, a poet, and a creative director of an advertising and marketing firm. All this background and passion gives her a unique ability to communicate her love for the earth and share it with others. After years of travel to and paddling in places as remote as Antarctica, the Galapagos, South Africa and Tasmania, Mandy firmly believes that the Morro Bay Estuary is an unsurpassed coastal jewel and one of the best locales for environmental education and unique wildlife experiences in the world. The Central Coast always draws her back home like a homing pigeon. It is here she was born and raised, and it is her privilege to call the waters of the estuary home today. It is her pure delight to share her rich and unique home with others when she can.
Dave has been a world traveler from birth by virtue of his father being in the navy. His family loved to boat, fish and camp when he was young and Dave credits these numerous trips for his love of the outdoors. Dave is most at home in the water and is an avid surfer. His adult travels have taken him to many Pacific Rim destinations including Guam, Costa Rica and Kauai. Dave currently resides a stones' throw from the ocean in the town of Morro Bay with his wife Margo and their young daughter Jessica. When not surfing or guiding kayak trips, Dave can often be found working with young students at one of our local Central Coast environmental schools or camps.
Since retiring as a Fire Captain in the California Department of Forestry in 2006, Paul has thrown himself into outdoors pursuits with a passion. He has become an accomplished docent for Morro Bay State Park, as well as for the Point San Luis Lighthouse, guiding numerous tours in both areas for all kinds of people. With 15 years of kayaking experience plus his naturalist training and an all round friendly demeanor, Paul is a great asset to the Central Coast Outdoors guide team.
Ed spent his early youth watching the Atlantic swells crash on England's west coast, his high school days learning to kayak whitewater and climb rocks further inland. A college internship in California introduced him to the joy of teaching and his lovely wife. Now living in Morro Bay, Ed teaches about the natural world at a local outdoor school. He can be found on his time off gliding over the Pacific in his homebuilt kayak or exploring the depths with SCUBA gear. For Ed, helping people explore and sharing knowledge about the fascinating non-human residents of the bay while kayaking is like gravy on top of gravy.
Steve attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and received a Master's degree in Field Biology. He taught high school biology and earth sciences for several years and presently teaches natural history courses for Community Programs at Cuesta College and works for a local residential outdoor school attended by 6th grade students. Steve served on the committee that recently published "Wildflowers of San Luis Obispo" and is the author of "The Peregrine Falcons of Morro Rock - A 40-year History", available at Amazon.com. He is past-President of Morro Coast Audubon Society and is the volunteer coordinator of the Hi Mountain Lookout Project, where volunteers and college interns radio track the movements of California Condors and conduct other biological field research projects. Steve enjoys kayaking, running, biking, hiking, playing basketball, and wildlife and landscape photography.
Katharina grew up in a small town in Austria where she and her siblings spent many memorable summer weekends hiking with her dad. In the winter he taught the family how to downhill and backcountry ski. Since childhood, Katharina has always had a love for the outdoors, adventure, and just being active. Wanting to combine her love of the outdoors with education led her to pursue a BS in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in outdoor education from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Katharina loves to kayak, hike, do yoga and Pilates, and to just explore this incredible place that she lives in. She also enjoys traveling and learning about different cultures. Katharina is curious by nature and loves learning about wildlife as well as sharing her discoveries with others.