Exploring Alaska aboard small ships
Tugboat Swell, Maple Leaf Adventures.
© Jeff Reynolds / Maple Leaf Adventures / photo provided
Travellers who want to experience the nature of Alaska, but do not wish to travel with massive ships, might find an alternative with a small ship expedition: The Canadian coastal ecotourism company Maple Leaf Adventures has just extended its “Alaska Supervoyages” for 2023, which are the region's longest expeditions.
The changes to these small-ship trips – aboard a heritage tugboat – include an extra 24 hours in nature, from additional shore trips and wildlife viewing, plus one more night at anchor in a beautiful cove. The 13-day itineraries maximise exploration of Alaska's nature, culture and wildlife. “It's astonishing to reflect that although millions of people visit Alaska, the tiniest percentage spends their trip in Alaska's natural world,” said Maureen Gordon, one of Maple Leaf Adventures’ owners. Her company wants to let people “become part of that big natural world for their trip”.
Just twelve guests
Maple Leaf guides just twelve guests through the breadth of the Inside Passage, from historic Ketchikan to glacier-hewn fjords, to Admiralty Island's brown bears, the waterfall-fed Baranof Island, the diverse ecology of Chichagof Island, and the west-coast world of Sitka. Typical wildlife sightings include brown bears, humpback whales and sea otters. Shore trips include rainforest walks, iceberg boat rides, beach exploration, hot springs and wildlife viewing.
Guests travel aboard the 88-foot, converted tugboat Swell with six cabins. Built in 1912 from Pacific Northwest lumber, Swell can access areas where the big cruise ships dare not sail, anchor overnight and travel at just nine knots, suitable for slow travel.
Dates and Prices: Maple Leaf Adventures offers 10-, 11- and 12-day Alaska trips throughout June, July and August, with all-inclusive prices starting at $11,950 before taxes, based on cabin category.
Maple Leaf Adventures, founded in 1986, specialises in conservation-focused trips aboard small ships. Its multi-day excursions give guests one-of-a-kind experiences in areas like British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest and northwestern Vancouver Island. The company is one of Canada´s best-known practitioners of ecotourism and donates 1 per cent of revenues to conservation, including to the Alaska Whale Foundation, its newest donation recipient.
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