Frequently Asked Questions
Is this trip suitable for me? View answerHide answerAnyone is eligible so long as they are: – enthusiastic about participating, – amenable to the vagaries of weather, – agile enough to clamber in and out of shore vessels in an area where there are no docks, step over 10-inch-high door sills (on the Swell) and able to climb up and down a steep staircase like a ladder (on the Maple Leaf), or a regular staircase (Cascadia) – and friendly enough to get along with others in the relatively close quarters of a yacht. We have had people on board as much as 80 years of age. However, our trips are not suitable for people of failing health or physical disabilities. Anyone will enjoy the trip as long as: – they have an interest in nature and culture and the outdoors, – they appreciate that we’re in a wilderness setting, with no wifi, no luxury hotels, – they understand that as we are in a remote location, going ashore in areas of wildlife, strong weather, tides and rainforest, their safety is paramount to our guides and as such we will not be serving alcohol until the evening, – they appreciate this is an expedition cruise with talented guides to learn from, not a private yacht. Maple Leaf Adventures is an equal opportunity service provider.
What is included in the price? View answerHide answerOur price includes all meals, activities and guides throughout your voyage in the region you are visiting. Specifically:
All meals, snacks and beverages prepared from the freshest ingredients by our superb chef.
Fine wines featured with the evening meal, and a limited amount of beer included and available throughout the trip. (Liquor is not a large part of our trips, so plan on light consumption).*
Services of our naturalist and professional crew.
Use of gear on board, including rubber boots, kayaks and fishing gear (with fishing licence).
All accommodations on your vessel and, on trips with a land day, in a local lodging.
* Your trip takes place in a remote wilderness setting at high latitudes. Weather can change, the water is cold, currents are strong, tides are big, cities and towns and assistance are far away, and wildlife lives here in relative safety. Each day, our activities involve going out in small boats (zodiacs, kayaks) and on foot to explore and experience this magnificent place, up until dinner time. On the sailing ship, we may also sail, which involves the extremely powerful force of wind on massive sails, halyards, booms and sheets. As a result, we serve wine with dinner but not lunch or afternoon snack, and special occasions with a toast in the daytime are selected with your safety in mind.
Not included in our price:
Transportation to the trip’s point of origin or from the trip’s point of return for Maple Leaf, Swell and Cascadia. The exception is the flights from Vancouver to the start of the trip and return are included for Cascadia’s Haida Gwaii trips, as well as any trip that has a current Flight Promotion (see Special Offers Page).
5% Goods and services tax (GST), on Canadian trips. There is no GST on Alaska trips.
Any tip you wish to leave for your crew. Tipping is entirely confidential.
Sustainability fee. As a professional eco-tourism company, it is at the core of our operating principles to work with local communities (as we are members of the local community ourselves), respect regulations, look after the planet and contribute to local opportunities. Responsible operations cost a little more. We extracted from the fare a percentage of the increased costs that go toward sustainability and added it to the list price as a sustainability fee of $200 per trip. Through this, we hope our guests share in the pride that a trip with Maple Leaf Adventures is a contribution to the sustainability of the coast, as well as being a great experience.
Can you accommodate my special diet? View answerHide answerYes. If you advise us in the pre-trip forms, we can accommodate most dietary requirements.
Do you serve alcohol? View answerHide answer
We serve a limited amount of alcohol on our trips — good wines for you to enjoy with dinner, and a limited supply of craft beer. Other than on our tasting cruises, alcohol is not a focus of our trips. Instead, we guide you to explore the nature, wildlife and culture of the rugged coast, and make the most of daylight hours to take you to wonderful places ashore and in our small boats. Due to this being a wilder environment than most people are familiar with, everyone is responsible with alcohol. Your trip takes place in a remote wilderness setting at high latitudes. Weather can change, the water is cold, currents are strong, tides are big, cities and towns and assistance are far away. Wildlife such as bears and wolves live here in relative safety. Each day, our activities involve going out in small boats (zodiacs, kayaks) and on foot to explore and experience this magnificent place, up until dinner time. On the sailing ship, we may also sail, which involves the extremely powerful force of wind on massive sails, halyards, booms and sheets. As a result, we serve wine with dinner but not lunch or afternoon snack. Other, special occasions with a toast in the daytime are selected with your safety in mind.
Will I be seasick? View answerHide answerSea sickness is rarely a problem – for several reasons. First, most of the areas we travel are protected waters, not exposed to open ocean swells. In that way, this spectacular coast is unlike almost every other in the world. Second, both ships are heavy ships with tens of thousands of pounds of lead in their keels that keep them upright. We travel short distances in protected waters and go ashore often. The Maple Leaf, being a sailing ship, can keep people comfortable in wavier waters than the Swell can, so the Maple Leaf has the option to go to exposed coastal areas more frequently than the Swell. There are so many great options to explore on the coast, and we prefer to keep our guests comfortable, so we don’t take you out into bad weather. For more detail on why you probably won’t be seasick on a Maple Leaf trip – even if you do feel ill in other ocean environments – view the article “Inside Passage & Haida Gwaii Cruising Conditions – why you probably don’t have to worry about seasickness“, written by Maureen Gordon, who gets seasick in open ocean environments, but not on Maple Leaf trips.
How much time do we spend ashore? View answerHide answer
Depending on the area and the day’s agenda, we’ll typically go ashore between 1 and 3 times a day, for between 1 and 3 hours at a time. Some trips are longer, too.Typical number is 2 shore trips a day. For more details, view the article “How Much Time Do We Spend Ashore?“.
Do you take solo travellers? View answerHide answer
Yes. On the sailing ship, between 1/4 and 1/3 of our guests are solo travellers. On the tugboat and catamaran, it’s a bit less. Our trips are experiential in nature. In addition to the other guests, you have five built-in travel companions who are also in effect solo travellers: your expert guides and crew. Although they are leading the trip, taking care of the work and making sure you’re well cared for, they are your companions in the adventure, too.
Is there a single supplement? View answerHide answer
There is no single supplement on the sailing ship Maple Leaf. If the trip fills, we ask that you share a sleeping area with another guest of the same sex or sleep in our comfortable wheelhouse accommodations. There is a single supplement on the tugboat Swell and catamaran Cascadia, however, we also offer cabin pairing for solo travelers of the same sex on Cascadia.
I've never been on a boat before -- is that OK? View answerHide answer
Yes, absolutely. You will be travelling on a 95-ton (Maple Leaf) or 130-ton (Swell), strong boat run by an expert crew. You are aboard as our guest and we will look after you very well. You don’t have to do anything other than enjoy yourself.
Do you have kayaks? View answerHide answer
Yes, and you are welcome to go for paddles in the spectacular bays we anchor in.
How many people are typically on a trip? View answerHide answer
Aboard SV Maple Leaf we take up to 8 guests on board, and have a crew of 5. Aboard MV Swell we take up to 12 guests on all other trip areas. Swell has a crew of 5. Aboard Cascadia we take up to 22 guests in Haida Gwaii and 24 in all other locations. Cascadia has a crew of 10.
What are the other guests like? View answerHide answer
Just like you! You will find that the other guests aboard share similar interests in travel, adventure and sustainability.
Can you describe a typical day? View answerHide answer
Morning Wake up in beautiful wilderness anchorage. Dress and take your morning coffee or tea on deck, observing the bay and rainforest, and any wildlife that’s moving around. Optional morning kayak paddle if the day’s schedule permits. Breakfast, either on deck or in the dining lounge/salon. Shore trip by zodiac. Depending on where you are, this could be to walk in the rainforest and meadows with the naturalist; view wildlife; explore a beach; visit a cultural site or research station or coastal community; or explore a group of islets for birds, seals and intertidal life. Typically lasts between 1 and 3 hours. Our shore trips are natural and unimpeded by crowd management techniques required on larger ships. You’ll find the trips interesting but also with the unscripted fun of a small-group exploration. Return to ship, greeted with mid-morning snack. Weigh anchor and get under way. View beautiful scenery as your ship exits the bay and begins its course toward the next destination. Join the navigation crew in the wheelhouse, talk with the naturalist on deck, watch for whales, porpoises, eagles and seabirds along the way. Read, photograph, relax. The ship will stop to look at things of interest along the way …wildlife, landscapes, waterfalls, fishing, the crew’s crab or prawn traps, etc. Afternoon Lunch on board. Shore trip by zodiac, similar in manner to the one described above, but with a different focus. Typically lasts between 1 and 3 hours. Return to ship for afternoon snack. Evening Weigh anchor and cruising to new area for the night’s anchorage. Evening activities could include wildlife viewing, hot springs visit, beach fire, watching the sunset, naturalist lecture/slide show, evening kayak in anchorage before dinner, fishing, stargazing. Dinner at anchor.
How long have you been operating? View answerHide answer
Can I be involved in sailing the ship and performing other duties? View answerHide answer
On the SV Maple Leaf, yes, absolutely. We encourage our guests to participate in any aspect of the trip that interests them and to whatever level they are comfortable with. We are patient instructors (no yelling) and delight in helping people learn. On the other hand, you are not required to sail or perform duties while on your vacation. The choice is yours.
What makes you an eco-tourism company? View answerHide answer
Our trips have low impact (virtually no impact) on the planet and on the places we visit. We build no structures and leave no trace. We are locally owned and operated. We partner with other local people. We have protocol agreements either signed or in process with First Nations in territories we visit. Our naturalists – experts in their fields – and other knowledgeable crew members provide a wealth of knowledge on the areas we visit, as do our First Nations guides. We work within the regulations of parks and conservation areas, pay the applicable fees and obtain permits for all limited-use areas we visit. We dedicate time and resources to preserving the natural areas we travel in and the wildlife that live here. We continually maintain our ships and our office to become more efficient, and more environmentally friendly each year. Green Tourism Canada, a rigourous, independent third party evaluator, has certified us to the highest level, Gold, for sustainable tourism.