Frequently Asked Questions
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How fit do I have to be?
You need a certain amount of strength and agility to climb in and out of small boats, and walk over uneven terrain. Age is usually not a factor. There is always the option to go with the group or stay behind.
What will the weather be like?
Usually on the Pacific Coast we have a good variety of constantly changing weather. Expect a mixture of sunshine, rain and wind on most trips. On Southeast Alaska trips near glaciers expect cool temperatures where wearing hat, gloves and warm jacket are appropriate.
How rough will the water be?
We travel in protected areas most of the time. On many days of the summer this coast is like sailing on a lake - flat and calm. Sometimes we cross into open water for short periods of time where we may experience greater motion.
Do I need to bring sea sickness medication?
If you are prone to motion sickness it is a good idea to bring sea sickness medication. Check with your doctor.
Do I need boating or sailing experience?
You don't need any boating or sailing experience to enjoy traveling on our boats. If you are interested in learning about boat operation our crew would be happy to involve you in navigation or helping on deck.
How much do we sail?
The amount of sailing we do depends on the wind, where we are headed, and the interests of the group. We try to sail when we can, .however our interest is in wildlife viewing first of all.
Do I really need to bring rubber boots?
Yes! Bring rubber boots for sure. The closer they are to knee height the better and they should be comfortable. There are very few places that we travel where there are docks so you will be stepping into the water and onto the beach. Your boots will be very useful for walking in west coast rainforest as well. If you are not comfortable hiking in your boots you can change into other footwear once you are on shore.
What kind of rain gear do I need?
Your rain gear needs to be completely waterproof and strong enough to stand up to wear and wind. You will need rain pants and a rain jacket (with a hood or rain hat).
Why do I need to bring a sleeping bag?
The majority of our trips take place in wilderness areas where there are no laundry facilities. We ask you to bring your sleeping bag to simplify things. We will supply a pillow and an extra blanket for you.
What is the hiking like? Strenuous? Easy?
We offer a variety of walks and hikes on our trips. Often there is more than one option at a stop.
Can I come on my own?
Yes. Many of our guests are single travelers. Our cabins accommodate two people in each. We will match you up with another single traveler of the same gender.
What are the cabins like?
All cabins on a large yacht are irregular sizes to fit the contours of the ship. Every cabin has accommodation for two people - some cabins with double bunks, most with two single bunks, often an upper and lower style. You will find that you don't spend much time in your cabin as there is always something to do or see on deck
How much storage is there in the cabins?
There is limited but adequate storage for the amount of gear you will need on our trips. Soft luggage, like a duffel bag, is most easily stowed as it is compressible.
Can I have my own cabin? Is there a single supplement?
On most trips we are not able to offer a private cabin to one person, and do not have a single supplement policy. Guests are welcome to make special requests in advance, and we will try to fulfill them, if possible at the start of the trip.
Do you take children on your trips? Is there a discount for children?
We will consider taking children. It depends on the age and the maturity level of the child. Parents /guardians are solely responsible for their children while on board. Some of our trips are not open to children. We have a limited amount of spaces. A child takes up a whole space and pays full price.
Why is your liability waiver form the way it is?
Our waiver form is the standard form for the industry in Canada and/or the U.S.
It is required as a condition for our insurance.
How crowded is the boat?
The boats are well designed for our purpose. Guests comment that there is more room than they expected and that they don't feel crowded. We are one of the few tour operators that offer private cabins on boats of this size.
How often do we get off the boat?
We try to get off the boat 2 or 3 times a day depending on the trip.
Smoking on board?
There is no smoking allowed onboard the boats.
I'm not an experienced kayaker. How stable are your kayaks?
We have double kayaks (two people in each boat) and smaller single kayaks on some trips. They are a wonderful way to enjoy solitude and explore the shoreline. Our crew will be happy to give you instruction and get you started. We use them in sight of the boat when we are at anchor.
Can I bring my hairdryer, electric shaver? Can I recharge my video batteries?
Yes, we have regular 110v household current available in all cabins when the generator is on (usually in the morning and late afternoon). It is a good idea to bring an extra video battery.
Can I use my cellular phone?
Cellular coverage is poor to non-existent in the areas in which we travel. Our guests comment on how much they enjoy the simplicity of ship-board life and a break from technological demands.
How often can I shower?
We carry a good supply of water but it is important to remember that a boat is totally self-contained and in wilderness areas not always near a water supply. We ask that people not shower every day to help conserve water.
Do you offer vegetarian or special diet menus?
All of our meals are served buffet style. We can usually accommodate most special dietary concerns if we are given sufficient advance notice.
Do I need money during the trip? Will there be anything to buy?
You may want to bring cash and your cheque book. We have some items available on board that you may wish to purchase. On some of our trips we may stop in small communities where local crafts are available and where credit cards are not accepted.
Is it appropriate to tip the crew? How much?
If you feel that the crew have made your trip special and wish to show your appreciation a tip is very much appreciated. How much? 5-10% ?
What qualifications do the crew have?
Our skippers are all Coast Guard and Ministry of Transport licensed Captains and our crew are all highly qualified with experience and training in emergency procedures, boat handling and first aid.
How safe is the boat?
Our boats are Coast Guard certified passenger vessels and undergo strict yearly inspections.
What wildlife will I see?
We expect to see a variety of wildlife on all our trips. Wildlife is wild life and have their own agenda. It is only luck that determines how close wildlife comes to us or how spectacular their behaviour. Our crew are very good at spotting animals and along with enthusiastic guests spend a great deal of time looking. Bring your binoculars. We take a cautious approach when observing wildlife. We do not want to apply any pressure to animals that could result in a change in their behaviour.
What kind of equipment is good for photographing wildlife?
If you are intent on getting good wildlife pictures, you should contemplate bringing a long lens. A lens of 300mm seems ideal, while lenses with lengths of 180-300mm generally give good results. Consider bringing fairly fast film to capture whale breaches and other action photos, and to allow photography in the low light of morning or evening.
Will I be able to fish?
Our trips focus mainly on wildlife. Usually only a small number of our guests are interested in fishing with the hope of providing dinner. We have fishing gear on board. If you wish to try fishing you will need to purchase a fishing license before you join the trip. We no longer fish on our San Juan and Gulf Islands trips to protect depleted fish stocks in this area.
If you need further information or if you have any questions that we have not answered please contact us!