We just returned from an exhilarating adventure along the British Columbia coastline with Maple Leaf Adventures. Exploring “Whales & Wild Isles” on their newest ship, the Cascadia, was comfortable and luxurious with 5-star cuisine courtesy of Chef Jo! We had been considering travel with Maple Leaf for several years but were hesitant as senior travellers to join adventures on the smaller Maple Leaf schooner or their tugboat, the Swell. When they added the 138ft Cascadia to their ship roster this Spring, we jumped at the chance to try one of their several adventures exploring the BC coast and were delighted by the roominess of the ship. Each of the 12 cabins on Cascadia has their own 3-piece bath with plenty of storage (ours also had a king size bed!). The main salon is a beautiful space for lounging and eating meals and we loved visiting with Captain Corey on the bridge as he patiently explained about navigating in BC waters. Comfortable expedition tenders are used for daily exploring away from the ship and allow you to get closer to marine wildlife or explore isolated beaches. We were thrilled to be able to experience humpback and fin whales, sea otters, sea lions, marine birds, and even three elusive sea wolves along the shore. What an honour to view these animals in their own natural environment and leave no footprint behind.
Travelling by ship with Maple Leaf Adventures afforded us with an unparalleled opportunity to see parts of the BC coastline that are only accessible by water. Our crew was incredibly professional and made us few welcome and well cared for during the entire journey. Shout-outs to Deckhand Bryan who was willing to show a couple of beginners how to fish for salmon and to Engineer Lance who cheerfully answered all our many questions about how boats work. Indeed, travelling with such a great crew on the Cascadia felt like travelling with family as we had the opportunity to share conversation at meals and other times throughout the day.
We give special kudos to Phil, our Exhibition leader and naturalist, who carefully planned our daily excursions in the tenders to explore wildlife and scenery. He listened keenly to our interests and fine-tuned our adventures to allow us opportunity to view our favourites such as intertidal life, whales, and birds. He even helped us find humpback whales bubble-feeding which fulfilled a significant dream on our wish list. His knowledge of BC history and culture, the environment, and wildlife was extensive, and we learned a great deal from his thoughtful explanations.