The 92-foot sailing schooner Maple Leaf was built in 1904 in Vancouver, Canada. At that time, the two-masted ship was British Columbia's most expensive coastal yacht and the region's first to have electric lights. Maple Leaf was once a race-winning society schooner and later served as a halibut fishing boat. Then in 1980, the owners of Maple Leaf Adventures acquired the ship and began extensive restoration work, which was completed in 1986. The historic tall ship's woodwork includes the original coastal Douglas fir, yellow cedar and mahogany.
The ship has four semi-private cabins arranged two-by-two and separated by an open corridor. Each cabin has two-and-a-half permanent walls. The remaining wall area is a heavy curtain. Think of an old-fashioned train sleeper car with two rows of bunks, each with a curtain. In other words, you'll probably hear noises from your neighbors. Each cabin has a lower double bed that's 6.5-feet long and a single upper bunk. Couples often use the upper bunk for stowing luggage as space is limited. To dress, for example, you stand in the area between the bed and curtain. Travelers share two bathrooms that have a small shower each. The shower is located above the toilet, but separated from the sink/vanity by a curtain.
There is no single supplement. If necessary, solo travelers will be paired with another single of the same sex.
Meals are informal, with no dressing up required. Passengers sit in a horseshoe-shaped booth around a single table. Meals are served, and you might be dining on fresh crab caught off the ship earlier in the day. Wine is included with the three-course dinners, as is a limited amount of beer. Special diets can be accommodated with advance notice. In fair weather, meals and snacks may be served outside on the deck. Along with dining, socializing takes place in the wheelhouse which doubles as an enclosed lounge and library. It's here where charts are kept and some of the steering happens. On deck, there's a recessed level with seats for viewing wildlife and an open space near the aft wheel, which is used to steer when under sail.
Maple Leaf carries kayaks for passenger use and rigid hull inflatable boats for excursions to remote beaches, villages and rainforests. There is a hydrophone for listening to the songs of whales. The ship anchors at night, allowing for evening kayak adventures and fishing. Prices are all-inclusive, covering kayaks and excursions, but not tips to the crew. Rain gear, boots and fishing gear (a license is extra) are also provided. Beginning in late April, the ship cruises along the east coast of Vancouver Island or north to the Great Bear Rainforest, home to the rare white spirit bear, on four- and seven-night itineraries. Summer into mid-October is spent on eight-night trips to the wildlife-rich islands of Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) or to the Great Bear Rainforest.