Great Bear Rainforest

Fall Expedition Cruises into BC’s Wonders

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Connect with local guides whose yachts take you beyond the roads into the famed Great Bear Rainforest

Glenn McMaster assumed his favorite position at the bow of the zodiac, ready to pivot backwards into the shallow water and haul the inflatable boat onto shore. A retired geologist, McMaster liked helping out the crew on his expeditionary voyage through Canada’s Inside Passage with Maple Leaf Adventures.

This time, however, he noticed his fellow zodiac passengers silently signalling for him to remain in the boat. He sat, turned and saw why they’d aborted the landing: three grizzly cubs appeared onshore not ten feet away from the zodiac.

“It was the experience of a lifetime,” Glenn says, “The crew didn’t get nervous at all, it was like ‘hey, this is part of the experience,’ because they knew exactly what they were doing. The bears just stayed put and stared at us.”

A Planned, Yet Unscripted, Journey with Local Experts

Serendipity is always key when cruising the fjords and islands. Whether sailing on Cascadia, our 24-guest catamaran, Swell, a 12-guest converted tug or Maple Leaf, the 92-foot schooner that accommodates 8 guests, Maple Leaf Adventures’ founder Kevin Smith’s ethos, “we focus on putting ourselves in the path of the magic” is often rewarded several times a day. Maple Leaf Adventures offer week-long B.C. itineraries that explore the unroaded archipelagos and fjords, as well as vibrant coastal Indigenous cultures.

“Yes, we travel from Point A to Point B, but we always adapt to what’s out there,” says ship naturalist Fiona Hamersly Chambers, MSc. “Last season we were sailing along the central coast when we came upon two resident clans of orcas, totaling 55 animals, swimming toward us. We shut off the engines and floated. Then we got in the tenders for another hour.”

Quiet Fall Is Peak Wildlife Time

Bears or orcas in their natural habitat are just one feature of these award-winning multi-faceted expedition cruises.

As August turns to September, birds migrate south, and salmon return to spawn. The natural world provides layers of sights and inspiration: bald eagles and sandhill cranes flap above; martens, bears and wolves pad the forest, seabirds scud above the water’s surface and whales dive deep.

Onboard naturalists, plus scientists and Indigenous guides ashore, teach guests about the landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife behaviour.
It’s this rich experience that enabled the people of this coast, including Maple Leaf Adventures, to build a world-class tourism industry based on conservation principles here.

Craftsmanship, Hospitality and a Long Local History

The local crew are honoured to welcome guests to the coast they love. They share the insights from a long history of science, exploration and life on the coast. The chefs feature local flavours in cruisine. And local art infuses the ships with coastal spirit.

With easy air access from Vancouver, the Great Bear Rainforest trips make an easy—yet exotic—autumn experience for those who seek adventure beyond the norm.

Our fall Great Bear Rainforest tours depart weekly through Sep and Oct, aboard Maple Leaf, Swell, and Cascadia. Enjoy a complimentary hotel stay the night before your Great Bear Rainforest adventure: Applies to Aug 31-Sep 8 and Sep 18-26 (Swell or Maple Leaf)


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