1. A real adventure, managed in comfort by experienced professionals
Imagine standing on the deck of a 95-ton sailing ship as she points her bow toward a channel that wends between a group of islands. From the moment our crew welcomes you aboard Maple Leaf, you'll feel that combination of excitement and trust that makes the best adventures possible.
With a comfortable, expedition-worthy ship and a crew that are veterans of coastal exploration and hospitality, you'll be happy, warm, and superbly fed as you explore some of the wildest, most beautiful parts of planet Earth.
2. A very small group - so that the experience is truly your own
For some companies, a small group can mean 50 people. Not us. In BC and Alaska, we take 8 or 9 guests, with a crew of 4 or 5 to look after you. In the Galapagos we take up to 16 guests, with a crew of 8 to look after you. That's an exceptional ratio.
Why should you care about group size?
From the moment you contact us, you are a real person to us, with individual questions and interests for your trip. We will remember who you are when you call, and will help answer any question you might have. From the moment you begin your trip, you'll realize that it really is YOUR trip ... not a trip that you have joined as a participant. Our crew make sure you have everything you need, are there to give a hand when you need it, and get to know you and your interests.
Beyond that, there are other benefits: when we are viewing wildlife, you are part of a small group so you always have plenty of time to see everything and immediate access to guides who explain what is going on. And finally, when entering sensitive ecosystems or observing wildlife close up, there are real limits on "carrying capacity" -- how many people can be in a place without harming it.
3. Expert local area knowledge - 25 years of exploring the coast
Maple Leaf Adventures and her crew have been exploring the coast for decades. And we continue to explore, finding exceptional new places to bring our guests that few, if any, others know about. It means we have a depth of experience to draw on when seeking places to go, we have expert knowledge of tricky navigation requirements and weather systems, and we know and respect the cultures and ecosystems here ... after all, it is our home we have chosen to share.
Likewise our Galapagos crew are all experienced and local.
4. Naturalists with extensive experience
Veterans of field research projects in the areas we visit, they share their expertise and abundant knowledge on a very understandable and enjoyable level. They have guided us to some of nature’s most impressive events. The naturalist will be fully part of our group, able not only to interpret what we are seeing, but also able to have one-on-one conversations with you about it, if you want to explore an idea further.
5. Strong relationships with coastal scientists and conservation groups
Being "on the front lines" of exploring the BC and Alaska coast, we find ourselves in the company of field scientists with whom we regularly exchange information and share a meal.
6. Long relationships with First Nations communities
We are also travelling in the traditional territories of the coastal First Nations, and we respect their long history here by engaging in economic relationships with communities. We have developed longstanding friendships along the coast, and on your trip we may invite our friends on board for a meal and a conversation.
7. A classic, work-of-art ship, the Maple Leaf
The most expensive ship built on the coast at her time of launch, the Maple Leaf is a classic, one-of-a-kind wooden ship. The sense of security and adventure that all who travel on her feel comes both from her beautiful and solid construction, as well as her long history on the coast. Sailing a traditionally-rigged tall ship is a thrill. And it's pleasurable to simply stand on her fir decks and admire her mahogany cap rails, spruce booms and brass finishings. All of this is augmented by modern technology, including a professionally equipped galley, state-of-the-art navigation and communications technology, and top-quality "Polaris" expedition boats.
8. Fabulous chefs and local cuisine
We may be adventuring far from "civilization" but our personable chefs and ample, locally-supplied food stores ensure fantastic meals and snacks throughout the day, made with your dietary needs in mind.
9. The best expedition equipment and tools for you
Fully experiencing the wonder of the coast is important to us. In addition to the personal experience you will have and the interpretation of our guides, we have hydrophones for listening to underwater sounds such as the calls of whales, to DVD movies, to charts and maps we share with you all along the way, to binoculars, kayaks, crab/prawn traps and nets for collecting specimens to examine, and a well-stocked library of reference books.
10. A real ecotourism company that gives back to the planet
At least 1% of all sales revenue from our adventure cruises is given back to the planet, donated to conservation organizations and others working for positive change on the coast. For example, recent donations from Maple Leaf Adventures supported Raincoast Conservation Foundation's bear monitoring project (protecting coastal bears from illegal trophy hunting) and their educational outreach publication, Tracking Raincoast. In addition, we practise the tenets of ecotourism. For more information, please see our About Maple Leaf page.
11. Crew, Staff & Guides who love having you with them
Maple Leaf's crew and staff are proud of the coast and being able to share it with guests. We expect that their enthusiasm and interesting experience was a factor in our guests giving a 100% score for satisfaction in a survey by National Geographic Adventure magazine's editors.