Style of Travel: A Boutique Expedition by Water
As we have come together at Maple Leaf Adventures, we have created a different kind of trip for you, where you can truly experience the best of life on the coast, as a guest of expert locals and naturalists.
Enjoy the friendship of great residents. Smell the sweet coniferous forest as you step ashore. Feel the rhythm of ship and ocean as you steer the ship. Taste the flavour of huckleberries or freshly caught prawns. Hear a whale’s sharp inhalation of breath before it dives.
Our purpose is to give you the best of the coast, while also supporting the conservation of its ecosystems and cultural fabric. Our mission is to show that the best travel delights the mind and senses and can enrich, rather than harm, the places we visit. Care and attention to detail are at the heart of all we do.
- All accommodations included in your trip, including comfortable, classic ship-board accommodations with fluffy duvets, and local lodges if your trip includes a lodge stay.
- All shore trips, wildlife viewing, and zodiac excursions guided by our expert, knowledgeable crew/guides. All cultural site visits, and all additional local guides.
- All meals and snacks, prepared freshly for you by our chef. Meals feature great variety, and highlight local, fresh specialties.
- All beverages including coffee, tea, juices and sodas, filtered water, plus wine and craft beer with dinner*.
- The services of our naturalist and crew both aboard the ship and ashore. These caring, entertaining and knowledgeable people are your hosts for the trip, always available for questions, teaching, or conversation.
- Open wheelhouse. You are welcome to come into the ship’s wheelhouse, from which our crew are navigating the ship. On our sailing ships, you are also welcome to take the helm under our crew’s guidance, and help sail the ships, if you like.
- Use of gear on board including kayaks, fishing gear, and rubber boots.
* 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. See the FAQ for details.
Our Small Scale: Feel the Coast's Hugeness
The proximity you will feel to the coast’s mountains, forest and islands is incomparable with any other form of water travel. Sail with an escort of dolphins. Feel the spray from waterfalls beside us. Walk in ancient forests that are cathedrals of green
Access to the Best Places on the Inside Passage & Haida Gwaii
Maple Leaf Adventures has been awarded special access permits to protected areas, allowing you entrée to worlds most people will never see. Our relationships can also give access to special cultural sites, and scientists in the field.
Timed for Peak Wildlife Events, with Plenty of Shore Time
Our trips are timed to coincide with great natural events, ensuring sightings of a fantastic variety of wildlife including bears, whales, dolphins and hundreds of species of birds. There is always lots to do and see. Our shore trips include visits to intertidal areas, beaches, river estuaries, rainforests, and villages. One of the crew is an expert naturalist or fascinating specialist to help you understand the areas we visit.
Gorgeous Classic Ships with Comfortable Finishings
Our ships are beautiful wooden ships, built here, with long histories on the coast. So even as you walk the deck or step into the wheelhouse, you are having a truly coastal experience, connected to more than a century of history
The Excitement of a Real Journey
Travelling with a small group of guests means that your experience, while carefully planned, is also natural and spontaneous.
You will not feel like part of a crowd, and your experience is not limited by barriers and procedures used to manage large groups. Every second, you are on a real journey.
We treat each guest as an individual. We notice your interests and help you to do everything you came for. Every Maple Leaf crew member is welcoming and generous – with their time, their knowledge, and their thoughtfulness.
Full, But Unhurried, Days
Our days are full but our pace is unhurried, giving time to linger with whales, sketch in a Haida village, beachcomb, and walk ancient forests. We go ashore often to experience the entire place, not just the view.
Expert, Local Guides, Crew & Company
Your trips are developed and operated by us — expert mariners, naturalists, guides and managers who have grown up exploring the coast and who want you to experience the best of the best. Veterans of local field research, our naturalists share their expertise and abundant knowledge from real experience here. Our relationships on the coast give you access to researchers and local residents to further enrich your trip.
Natural History Exploration Tools
The ships have excellent natural/cultural history libraries, hydrophones for listening to whales underwater, DVDs, small aquariums, fishing gear, GoPro cameras, kayaks, and top-quality shore boats with clean and quiet engines.
Coastal First Nations guides we work with and who share their long history and knowledge of the place with us are from the Gitga’at, Haida, Haisla, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo-Xai’Xais, nations, and Kwakwaka’wakw of northern Vancouver Island, and Coast Salish of the southern Gulf Islands.
- Rainforest walks
- Exploring by small boat
- Wildlife viewing
- Coastal village visits
- Cultural site visits and experiences
- Natural history learning, in all environments, with our naturalist
- Sailing (sailings ship only)
- Kayaking (optional)
- Hiking (optional; possibly one good hike on a trip)
- Fishing (with a licence)
- Foraging (sea asparagus, berries, and other items, as seasonably available and as appropriate and sustainable)
- Whale identification for research (on trips with whales)
- Beach campfire and star watching
About Adventure Travel - Is This Right for You?
This is a trip with a true sense of adventure. It’s important to realize it’s for people with adventurous spirits.
The coastal ships are beautiful and comfortable but they are not Las Vegas, big hotels, or big ships.
If you seek cruise ship amenities, including grand, hotel-room style cabins, this trip may not be for you.
But if you seek to explore in an authentic way, in comfort and with the camaraderie of expert crew and guides, we look forward to welcoming you aboard.
You're Supporting Local, Conservation-Based Enterprises
By travelling with Maple Leaf, you are part of the important, emerging conservation-based economy on the coast. Our careful, thoughtful approach to our trips, to nature, and to all of the people we visit have earned us a reputation as a model for conservation travel. We are a coast-owned and operated business, and 99% of the money from the trips stays within the coastal economy. We dedicate time and resources to conservation of the coast — our home that we gladly share with you
A Note About Alcohol
We are pleased to serve good wines with dinner and have an excellent house craft beer, brewed specifically for your ship. However, alcohol is not a big part of our trip, so plan on light consumption.
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 some trips, we may be in the company of bears or other wildlife. 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.