Gulf Island sailboat cruise in British Columbia

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Gulf Island sailboat cruise in British Columbia

One of the joys of traveling along this coast is the islands, inlets and fjords that make up its absolutely stunning geography. Sailors consider this area one of the best cruising destination in North America with scenic anchorages and fabulous weather. Passengers will be thrilled by the excitement of porpoise, hundreds of seals, and sea lions out on the rocks. The Coast Salish First Nation people have lived here for thousands of years and we will see sites they once inhabited.

Operating a sailing vessel brings a number of challenges from an environmental impact point of view, which we try to minimize through refuse management practices that are the focus of many discussions on-board, on land and at the office. We recycle glass and tin along the coast, and in the small communities we work out of. Paper is a major issue. We find that burning paper along the ocean shores at low tide is a better choice than adding to very small landfill sites on remote islands. The tide washes it up in the next cycle.

We also compost out in deeper water. There are all sorts of marine organisms like crabs that are detritus feeders. Some of the organic matter, like orange peels, will float, so we avoid composting those in places that are more densely populated like the Gulf Islands.

All the lights on-board are 12-Volt, so they run off the batteries. We donít have incandescent lights; everything is compact fluorescent. The efficiency of our conventional power train is enhanced by the shape of sailing vessels which are slender and foster easier movement through the water than more blunt hulls. In all areas that are part of First Nations territory, we work collaboratively with them, and we are committed to hiring local guides.

We have an on-going wildlife log so all significant sightings are catalogued. Often we travel to parts of the coast that researchers seldom get to. For 20 years, we have been doing marine mammal sightings in conjunction with the Vancouver Aquarium and the Department of Fisheries and Oceansí Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo.

Appreciate wilderness, respect wildlife and native cultures
We only travel in small groups of 12-16 guests. Small groups can watch in awe as a bear feeds on salmon. Smaller boats can float silently among the whales. We adhere to the principals of ecotourism. We support local communities, promote conservation, ensure our practices are low impact, and provide guests with world-class knowledge about the coast, the wildlife and Native cultures. We travel together in a relaxed, fun style (our lives are here to be enjoyed). We contribute to a variety of whale and seabird research programs and support conservation groups working to protect coastal wilderness.

On each trip we are committed to introducing participants to the wonders of nature. An experienced naturalist leads daily walks ashore and often provides short evening slide shows or presentations. Participants find learning engages their curiosity, and enriches the trip immensely.

On all our voyages we intentionally keep our itineraries flexible to take advantage of wildlife sightings, weather and tides, and the interests of the group. These sample itineraries describe typical trips. Activities, however, may occur in a different order or be substituted by suitable alternatives. Wildlife is wild life and may not necessarily conform to our schedules.

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