Eat, Sleep, Adventure - Small Boat Cruising
After months of staying at home, the world is slowly opening and people want to travel again, but they want to do it safely. Our recent adventure as the only small boat passenger vessel setting sail in Alaska helped us define those safety needs by working directly with our partners and guests. Small boat travel may look different in the future, but adventure is still the keyword. The experiences we create today become the world we live in tomorrow. And guess what, your perfect sailing awaits! Here are some top reasons to inspire you in planning your 2021 small boat, small group, small footprint getaway.
Micro-Worlds in Each Destination
There’s nothing like months of being at home (or scrolling the internet) to spark your interest in new subjects. But if you’re like us you have built up a lifetime of curiosity about sea critters and the wonderful world of intertidal zones.
The intertidal zone -- the area between high and low tides -- is a harsh and unforgiving habitat. One that expects those resilient residents to be hardy between rock and sea. Intertidal zones have four distinct physical subdivisions based on the amount of exposure -- the spray zone, the high, middle, and lower intertidal zones. Each one has it’s own biological community and personality.
Places like Southeast Alaska provide a wealth of treasure when the tide is low, and we can walk the shores. Imagine jumping off a skiff at Robert’s Island to seize the opportunity to learn about barnacle-covered limestone, limpets, anemones, hermit crabs, and sea stars. Listen to the sound of your knee-high XtraTuf’s sloshing through the mud or pose for selfies with wriggling sea stars. One thing for certain, you’ll be with a small group of like-minded people and an enthusiastic naturalist guiding you through your experience.
We explore across oceans from Costa Rica’s shifting sandy tides, to the underwater views of Hawaii’s moving tides and interacting with the complex life forms in Alaska’s spray zone.
We travel small, but we also look deep into those micro-worlds that exist in nature. A place that exposes the creatures residing at our feet, in rocky areas, or hidden on mossy branches. One that leaves us with childlike excitement, curious for more.
More Time Together, Fewer Port Stops
Consider a slower travel pace later this year or the next. Instead of rushing through tourist towns, you can peruse beautiful landscapes and experience close encounters with nature. Adventure travel focuses on the wilderness, not the shops. And guess what? There is no need to move from hotel to hotel to see various sites. Your overnight passenger vessel acts as your personal B & B moving from island to island for you.
Your central location incorporates small local community interactions that come from long time partnerships with family-owned businesses in those communities. That way more economic benefits and support stay in the community and can create change for those it helps the most. We have always chosen to work with people, affiliates, and allies that align with our common values like sustainability, small footprint travel, and culture.
Cultural port stops have included a day with the Embera tribes of Panama, to share song, dance and local traditions, making poi and talking story with the last original family from the island of Molokai or learning the heritage of the native tribes of Alaska’s Tlingit. The surrounding beauty paired with more time connecting has created a family-like atmosphere onboard our boats since day one. Talk about travel inspiration!
Discover Our Hidden Gems (spoiler alert it’s our onboard guides)
If you’re heading into the wilderness, you’re going to want an experienced guide. One of the things we look for in the team with work with is a natural love for the outdoors and a wide background of experience to pull from including EMT’s, Wilderness First Responders, naturalists, biologists, geologists, whale whisperers, and all-around entertaining individuals. So yeah, we like to say our onboard expedition team is one of our hidden gems.
They easily fall into the spotlight onboard as they lead you through your daily activities, evening naturalist presentations, and take your adventure orders during happy hour. You’ll create your own camaraderie and soon find out what we already know. Our expedition guides are like icebergs. What you see is just the tip but they have a wealth of information and experience below the surface and are waiting to share it with you. Just ask them what got them into adventuring next time you’re onboard!
The Essentials Are Provided
From XtraTuf neoprene boots to snorkels and wetsuits, your adventure gear is already on board. And during these changing travel times, the team has thought of just about everything to keep you safe onboard from new training protocols to additional cleaning staff. And yes, our clean trip kit, including hand sanitizer, logo masks, and adventure buff will be waiting. That’s one of the nice touchpoints for guests adventuring with small boats. It feels like you have a dedicated concierge onboard who cares about the details.
Concerned about special dietary requests and healthy eating? We’ve got you covered and have a dedicated culinary team and pastry chef that can cater to vegan’s, gluten-free diets, pescatarians, and allergy requests (all from a small galley). The company has also made it a goal to shorten the supply chain of our food and purchasing, which means we source locally from the destinations we visit. Some of our responsible travel policies include serving only sustainable seafood, partnering with local farmers, follow leave no trace practices and purchase supplies with less packaging to reduce waste.
Like the guests who travel with us, we aim to provide a positive impact on the places we visit.
Multi-Sport Multi-Generational Activities
Small group travel has been on the rise and seems to encourage more family interaction. If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, why not consider traveling with a small group provider? This not only makes it easier to practice physical distancing and create your own travel bubble but also lessens the impact on destinations. Small group operators are more focused on providing something for all ages in the family, from the adult kid to the small humans they bring with them. Adult summer camp is open. Sounds great to us!
We provide a wide range of activities for all skill levels that allow for special memories to be built for everyone. While the parents are stand up paddleboarding, grandparents can watch the younger travelers and when grandma and grandpa are exploring shore walks and bushwhacks, kids can kayak. Maximizing vacation time makes sense, and multi-generational travel exposes all levels of the family to cultures, experiences, and sights that last a lifetime. And it’s all under the guidance of a highly experienced team.
We Make it Sustainable
Part of our small group core values is doing the right thing and getting a little better every day. That means that we are always looking for better ways to do things, to travel responsibly, and connect with savvy travelers who want the same.
After many months away and nonexistent tourism in some places impacting small communities economically, many will be ready to welcome us back in 2021. But we think that also means continuing to focus on sustainability with these small communities. Keeping our support high, and our visits focused on small group low impact travel. While we are eager to continue to learn from these communities and support them we also understand that it is more important than ever to understand the impacts we have on local culture and travel. It’s difficult to replace the traditional knowledge, voices, and wisdom of these indigenous tribes and the benefit they provide for all of us.
When it comes to sustainability, we run a tight ship and encourage our guests to do the same. People leave our trips with a renewed sense of appreciation for nature, conservation, and the remote destinations they visit. They also take on ownership of responsible travel, cultural recognition, and how to tread lightly. No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, be prepared. Remember to follow the top Ts—trip planning, travel light, and only take the essentials.