Allison Montgomery

Lead Naturalist

Allison Montgomery is the current Lead Naturalist of the San Juan Clipper, bringing both knowledge and passion for wildlife and the marine environment. Born and raised in the Seattle area, she has always been captivated by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Her lifelong fascination with animals and the marine world inspired her to pursue a degree in Wildlife Ecology from Washington State University.

With an educational background complemented by various courses and certifications focused on the marine environment, Allison has dedicated her career to studying the rich biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest. Her professional journey is marked by her commitment to practical conservation efforts. She volunteers with Orca Network, contributing to the public understanding of these magnificent marine mammals. Additionally, her work at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery has been instrumental in efforts to boost Chinook salmon population numbers.

Throughout her career, Allison has remained deeply connected to her roots in Seattle, where her love for nature first took hold. As a Naturalist, she combines her knowledge, experiences, and unwavering passion to educate and inspire others about the importance of preserving our natural world. Allison believes that sharing information with the public fosters empathy and understanding, which are crucial for the conservation of whales and their environment. Her hope is that increased public awareness will lead to positive changes in land and aquatic health, allowing these ecosystems to thrive.

In addition to her professional achievements, Allison has a rich personal life filled with creative pursuits. Her favorite color is lavender, and she has several pets at home. She was a ballet dancer for over 18 years, an experience that instilled in her a deep appreciation for art and discipline. She loves drawing and often finds inspiration from nature.

So, what’s Allison’s favorite whale?

“I have always had an affinity for the baleen whales. Something about watching a creature so massive, yet gentle is amazing to me. I think humpbacks have to take the winning spot though! As for orcas, I especially enjoy our encounters with the T65A family. They are so spunky and that T65A2 boy, Ooxjaa, is just a sight to behold!”



Laurn Ryan-Booth

First Mate/Naturalist

Lauren has been obsessed with marine mammals and especially killer whales for as long as she could remember. She grew up on Long Island and always loved visiting the local beaches. Upon graduation from high school, Lauren pursued a degree in Marine Biology from University of North Carolina Wilmington. While in college, she conducted research on the diets of surf-zone fishes in North Carolina. Her first experience working with marine mammals was from interning at New York Marine Rescue Center. As an animal care intern, she helped take care of sick and injured marine mammals and sea turtles.

After graduating, Lauren moved to San Juan Island as a Soundwatch Boater Education Intern with the Whale Museum. This was the first time Lauren ever saw killer whales in the wild and it was also how she learned about the San Juan Clipper (formerly Victoria Clipper III). While interning with the Whale Museum, she collected data regarding whale behavior and vessel interactions, she educated boaters about whales, and she even got to help collect killer whale poop! Upon completing her Soundwatch internship, she found an internship with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This brought her to Charleston, SC, where she worked as a dolphin photo-ID intern.

Lauren then went back to school at UNCW and earned her Master of Science degree in Marine Science in 2015. Her research focused on assessing impacts of pesticides on molting hormones in blue crabs While deciding where to go next, Lauren knew she wanted to be closer to the killer whales that she always loved. She then packed her car and drove across country to Seattle. The day after arriving in Washington, she landed a job as an onboard attendant on the Victoria Clipper. She enjoyed her time on the Victoria Clipper, but always wanted to work on a whale watching boat. Luckily, a job opened up the next season on the San Juand Clipper and she has been working on the boat ever since.

Currently Lauren works as a first mate and naturalist on the San Juan Clipper and as a naturalist on a whale watching boat in Hawaii during the winter. She also volunteers at SR3 SeaLife Reesponse, Rehabiliation, and Research. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hiking in the mountains, attending her husband’s comedy shows, or cuddling with her mini poodle, Truffle.

So what’s her favorite whale?

“My favorite whale is T63, Chainsaw. The first time I ever watched him I was volunteering on the Soundwatch boat. He surfaced right next to us and every time we tried to move out of his way, he changed direction and surfaced right next to us. It definitely seemed like he was messing with us.”



Angelica Patyten


Angelica Patyten has always loved the ocean. Growing up in Sacramento, California, she was determined to become a marine biologist and someday live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her passion and dedication led her to achieve an impressive educational background, earning an Associate’s degree in Marine Science, followed by a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Oceanography.

Post-graduation, Angelica’s journey has been quite diverse. She has conducted research on NOAA ships, gaining experience in marine science. Her passion for education and conservation also led her to teach at the Seattle Aquarium, where she inspired others to appreciate local marine ecosystems.

As a naturalist, Angelica combines her extensive academic background and rich professional experiences to promote understanding and stewardship of the marine environment. Her commitment to marine science and her enthusiasm for teaching make her a wonderful advocate for the ocean and its inhabitants.

So, who’s Angelica’s favorite whale?

“My favorite whale in our Salish Sea is T65A6, Callisto! I saw her as a calf in 2018, the same year I moved to Washington to finally achieve my lifelong dream.”