Boutique expedition ship Swell at anchor. (c) Kevin J Smith/Maple Leaf Adventures

A new, boutique ship begins offering expedition cruises along the Inside Passage in 2015. The classic, restored tugboat Swell – owned by the award-winning Canadian company Maple Leaf Adventures – begins service with two inaugural voyages in April and May. She joins Maple Leaf’s other classic ships in the fleet.

The first, Swell’s Maiden Voyage, runs in the balmy Gulf Islands National Park in southern Canada, Apr 20-24, 2015. Guests on the maiden voyage will be part of the ship’s blessing ceremony with some very special guests, and will receive commemorative gifts including a special bottle of wine from the local Saanich wine-growing region. (Inquire)

The second trip is the Swell’s Inaugural Inside Passage Cruise, Apr 25-May 2, 2015. This 8-day journey covers the inside passage of Vancouver Island, a historic waterway that the Swell herself has plied for over 100 years as a working tugboat before her conversion to a passenger vessel. (Inquire)

With just 10 guests on each, the trips provide an experience of surprising exploration, accessing beautiful islands and islets that are not accessible by ferry, as well as coastal villages.

Shore destinations include wildlife colonies, remote beaches, historic farms, and other areas of natural and cultural significance.

Natural history highlights in late-April and early May include:

  • spring wildflowers (white fawn lilies, pink shooting stars, purple camas, blue-eyed Mary, brown chocolate lily)
  • congregations of seabirds around upwellings filled with krill and small fish
  • flowering heritage fruit trees on old, historic farmsteads
  • visits by transient (Biggs) orcas to the Salish sea
  • sea lions, seals, river otters, bald eagles, ravens, turkey vultures
  • forest songbirds
  • mild weather

The gourmet food, expert local naturalist and crew, and plenty of shore explorations that characterize Maple Leaf’s trips are also highlights of this trip on the Swell.

About the MV Swell

Swell's classic beauty. Photo (c) Kevin Smith / Maple Leaf Adventures

The Swell is an 80-foot, classic wooden tugboat, built in 1912. She has been lovingly restored with exquisite craftsmanship and is a Transport Canada certified passenger carrying vessel.

Swell is the first of her kind of the coast with all-private staterooms with full ensuites. She also has a main salon, an enclosed aft lounge and an open-air top-deck lounge with hot tub. Guests are invited to join the crew in the ship’s wheelhouse or paddle one of the ship’s kayaks. She features expert naturalists and local guides. (View more about the ship.)

Both trips are open for booking.

Swell Maiden Voyage, Gulf Islands, BC, Canada
Dates: Apr 20-24, 2015, 5 days / 4 nights
Depart: Sidney, BC (just outside Victoria, BC)
Return: Sidney, BC (just outside Victoria, BC)
All-inclusive fare: Category 1 stateroom Cdn $2600, Category 2 stateroom $2900 plus taxes

Swell Inaugural Inside Passage Voyage, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Dates: Apr 25-May 2, 2015, 8 days / 7 nights
Depart: Sidney, BC (just outside Victoria, BC)
Return: Port McNeill, BC (a 45-min flight from Vancouver, BC)
All-inclusive fare: Category 1 stateroom Cdn $2875, Category 2 stateroom Cdn $3190 plus taxes

Inquire about Swell’s inaugural voyages.

About Maple Leaf Adventures
Selected for Canada’s “Signature Experiences Collection” by the Canadian Tourism Commission, Maple Leaf Adventures has provided conservation-focused, big adventures aboard small ships since 1986. With a reputation as one of Canada’s top sustainable tour operators, its multi-day excursions give guests one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the most beautiful and rare places in the world, often in areas that were once under threat of destruction or in dire need of protection. In 2012, Maple Leaf was awarded the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award, for promoting the appreciation of Canada’s natural, cultural and aesthetic heritage, while also protecting them. As a long time practitioner of ecotourism, Maple Leaf Adventures pioneered travel in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest and northwestern Vancouver Island and has made significant contributions to conservation. National Geographic Adventure has rated Maple Leaf Adventures one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”. For more information, visit

Photos: Gorgeous professional photos are available upon request.

Media Contact:
Maureen Gordon, Maple Leaf Adventures 250-386-7245 (o) or 250-881-6143 (m)