Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canadian Rockies Rafting

I went with Canadian Rockies Rafting a couple of years ago on the Kananaskis River - loved it. The scenery, the wildlife, the sheer pleasure of being on the water as well as the professionalism of the Canadian Rockies Rafting team made for a memorable day.

This is what they have to say about themselves.

We love rivers. All kinds of rivers. And each section of river we run has its own personality, its own rhythm, and its own set of rewards. With three major river drainages and four distinctive trips, we're certain we can introduce you to a river you can learn to love.

At Canadian Rockies Rafting, the safety and enjoyment of our guests is paramount. We know our guests arrive with a unique set of needs, desires, and experiences. We work hard to ensure that we meet each and every one of your expectations. We want you to enjoy the rivers we run as much as we do.

Join us for an exciting whitewater paddle raft adventure on the Scenic Kananaskis River. Enjoy a beautiful mountain river located along the front ranges of the majestic Canadian Rocky mountains. The river tour is rated as Grade 2 to 3 and is an excellent experience for adventurous groups, families and friends. The Kananaskis River offers wonderful mountain scenery, excitement and natural history. This half day tour is very popular for people looking for an introduction to whitewater or river experience the whole family and group can enjoy.

We run the same stretches of river as other rafting companies but that is where the similarities end. We run all the rivers that are offered in the area. Our equipment is the finest on the river. We use 100% self bailing rafts that we ensure are built to our specifications for the rivers we run. Our staff members are friendly, experienced and willing to answer your questions and concerns. We offer opportunities to waterfight, cliff jumps, short hikes and body surfing that no other company offers. Our customer service level is second to none.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Authentic Cowichan First Nations Experience - Vancouver Island, BC

Quw'utsun' offers all guests an Authentic Cowichan First Nations Experience - Interpretive Guided Tours, West Coast themed Gift Shop and First Nations contemporary cuisine in the Riverwalk Cafe.

The Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre is located in the Cowichan Valley, 45 minutes from both Nanaimo and Victoria in the southeast corner of Vancouver Island.

"This (Cowichan) legacy was, and still is, an incredible connectedness to the warm land called Quw'utsun'. It is not the transitory character that typifies most recent North American culture, but a rare permanence of place that has endured for hundreds of generations." Daniel P. Marshall

Twenty years ago the Quw'utsun' People embarked on a project to raise the profile of Quw'utsun' knitters, carvers and jewelry makers, while displaying the Quw'utsun' culture and history to the world. In 1986 the Cowichan Tribes outbid twenty organizations and bought the Cultural Center buildings from Expo '86. The Cultural Centre opened its doors in 1990.

The Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre is a world-class destination, focusing on the economic development of the Cowichan People. The goal is to foster and promote pride in the culture and to offer a memorable experience to all visitors.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Recent comments from the Yukon

Tincup Wilderness Lodge, off the beaten track even by Yukon standards, offers the ultimate wilderness experience. The, fly in only, Lodge is perched on the doorstep of Kluane National Park in the heart of Western Yukon.

Guests at the Lodge have the opportunity to balance their outdoor recreation in a number of ways.

Tincup Lodge provides exceptional angling opportunities along the 24-mile shoreline of the lake as well as at surrounding lakes and rivers. The clean waters of the area abound with Arctic Grayling, Lake Trout, Inconnnu, Northern Pike and White Fish.

Guided day hikes range from nice, easy treks along rock and grave filled creek beds to more challenging hikes up any one of the 1500 to 2000 meter high mountains which completely surround Tincup Lake. Game trails also serve the hiker with easy access routes to the high alpine country where guests can wonder for hours and still be in constast site of the lodge below. In addition, the lodge provides its guests with the use of its cedar canoe, rowboat and one-person kayaks.

The main cedar log Lodge features a dining room, bar, and an outdoor hot tub on the large deck and has spectacular views of the lake and surrounding mountains. There is also a private lake front extra hot sauna.

Each of the cedar log cabin has a private shower, cozy woodstove and a covered veranda for admiring the breathtaking beauty of the wilderness. Each of the 5 cedar lodge cabins can accommodate 2 guests.

For guest wishing to learn more about the fine art of preparing tasty, wholesome dishes and desserts, Jose offers cooking demonstrations and instructions featuring cuisine reflective of the true nature of the North.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip report The Canadian Rockies and Alaska by Ferry

14th July 2009.

Dear Sandra

Ref: Canada & Alaska Holiday 31 May to 02 July 2009.

We have now returned from our most enjoyable holiday which was so well organised by Frontier Travel and more than exceeded our expectations. Congratulations on using your detailed knowledge of the two countries which contributed to our marvellous experience and enjoyment of our trip particularly as the weather was good except for two days. We thought you might like more information about our experiences.

Fairmont Palliser Hotel Calgary gave us a great start with superb accommodation, food and service.

Brookes Heritage Inn Drumheller had a comfortable clean room but not much else to commend it. Our visit to the Dinosaur National Park, Tyrrell Museum and Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump was well worth our visit despite the long drive because everything was so well signposted along the way.

Buffalo Mountain Lodge, Banff again excellent accommodation and food and places of interest were close by.

The drive along the Icefields Parkway was spectacular and we had ample time to visit Lake Louise & Moraine Lake on our way to Emerald Lake and the Lodge.
A truly spectacular location with superb views from our balcony room but The Lodge could do with a refurb and was not the same standard as the Buffalo and food average.

Coast Pyramid Lake Resort, Jasper a spectacular location but a car is essential until the day of departure if catching a train. We persuaded them to provide us with a first floor Suite which has great views of the lake and mountains and the restaurant was excellent.

The Skeena Train was excellent giving us time to relax and rest after our long drive with helpful and friendly staff. The Treasure Trove Casino & Hotel, Prince George was a long way out of town and recommend finding somewhere closer to the station.

Crest Hotel, Prince Rupert an excellent location with amenities close by with Bald Eagles in the trees by the hotel.
Grizzly Bear Tour, Khutzeymatee was fantastic and the local operator looked after us very well. We saw 7 Bears grazing on sedge grass and searching for clams etc by the waterside and visited the Ranger Station. No motion sickness problems!
The Indian Museum is a must visit and recommend the Guided Tour.
Our journey on the Ferry up the Inside Passage was excellent with a clean comfortable cabin, spectacular scenery and occasional Whale Spotting. Again no motion sickness problems!

The Goldbelt Hotel, Juneau was in a good location close to the town but had not a lot to commend it. Because of the numerous Cruse Ships the Town Centre was nothing more than an open air Shopping Mall and Restaurants were not that great. A lovely place for Breakfast is Paradise Cafe under the digital clock seen from the traffic lights entering Main St providing lovely home made Pastries etc.
We took the Bus Tour from the centre to Mildenhall Glacier with a most amusing driver.

Admiralty Island Tour by Sea Plane was again spectacular and Butch our Pilot was great and very friendly. Unfortunately after 5 hours on the island we did not see any Bears. Unless the Salmon are running I would not recommend this.

Westmark Hotel, Sitka a perfect location for visiting the island. We used the hourly hop on off circular bus to visit local attractions. Recommend the Russian Dancing Display at the Museum and the Indian Dancing at the Long House. We also went to The Fortress of the Bear which is at a former Paper Mill. There are two Bear Cubs housed in what was a large Pulp Vat about the size of a Cricket Pitch with a Pool to swim around. By flying out early morning and returning to Juneau later the following day we had ample time to see everything.

Gustavos and the Glacier Bay National Park.
Another amazing experience on a comfortable and large Catamaran with close up views of the carving Glaciers. People at the Goldbelt in Juneau flew over the night before staying at the Gustavos Glacier Bay Lodge which they enjoyed and was really nice and close by the boat jetty.

Ramada Hotel was comfortable, clean and provided a reasonable complimentary breakfast. The Staff was very friendly and the Complimentary Airport Shuttle was great.
We also enjoyed the City Tour on the Tram.

Denali National Park
The drive up by bus was very comfortable with some great scenery and the return journey by train was really nice with large comfortable seats.
The Tundra Wilderness Tour was spectacular with a very knowledgeable guide and we had a wonderful clear day with fabulous views of Mt. McKinley.
Plenty of wildlife sightings of Red Foxes, Moose, Caribou Herds, Goats and 2 bears with 2 cubs each.

The Marriot was in the perfect location and the weather was good so we hired bikes and cycled around Stanley Park.

Vancouver Island
We were so pleased that we chose to fly to Tofino because again the weather was perfect and gave us spectacular views from the air. The Wickaninnish Inn more than exceeded our expectations with excellent sea views from our room and superb weather during our stay.

So thank you once again for arranging our dream holiday

Edward & Glynis

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Whale Route - Quebec

From Tadoussac to Blanc-Sablon, Côte-Nord is really the Whale Route.
Most of the 13 species of whales found in the St. Lawrence are easily observable along this route, from the small harbour porpoise to the enormous blue whale, the largest mammal on the planet. This region is one of the five best places in the world in which to observe several species of whales each year. It is no coincidence that four internationally renowned research groups are based in this area.

Tadoussac Bay, a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club, is at the heart of the Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park and is the home base of several companies offering sea excursions. While Tadoussac is the best known area for whale watching, several other sites in Côte-Nord, in both the Manicouagan and the Duplessis regions, offer exceptional observation conditions—even from the shore. Keep your eyes peeled from April to November, and remember that three species of seals and many species of marine birds will probably join in the show for your visual pleasure.

While exploring the Whale Route, be sure to stop at the new Garden of the Glaciers in Baie-Comeau. This attraction offers unique multisensory experiences that focus on phenomena associated with the last ice age, climate change and the migration of the first peoples. Located in a converted church, the Glacier Exploration Center features a multimedia show trail with spectacular projections and décors. Continue your adventure in the Maritime Adventure Park where you can observe how the surrounding landscape has been carved out by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. The park offers three interactive guided tours, including the Valley of the Seashells, a site that is unique in the world. Outdoor lovers will also want to visit the Adrenaline Zone, which offers a multitude of exciting activities. Finally, sea kayaking and hiking are also possible in the park.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Talls Ships in Nova Scotia

The international gathering of world-class Tall Ships is in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 16 to August 1, 2009. Having hosted Tall Ships gatherings four times over two decades, Nova Scotia is no stranger to the visitors who come to see these grand ships in Halifax and ports across Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia provides the perfect setting for a Tall Ships event. The atmosphere, the tradition and the opportunity to follow the ships around the province is an experience that is offered to the visitors and people of the province during Tall Ships Nova Scotia 2009.

Ships will arrive in Halifax on Thursday, July 16 and following the magnificent Parade of Sail in Halifax on Monday, July 20, designated ships will head north to Cape Breton, making stops in Port Hawkesbury (July 22 - 23) , Louisbourg (July 22 - 23) and Sydney (July 25 - 26) while others will head to the mainland ports including Lunenburg (July 22 - 23) Pictou (July 28 - 29) and Pugwash (July 31 - August 1).

Imagine stepping aboard a majestic Tall Ship feeling the sway of the deck and seeing the view from the bow, this is the only way to experience a Tall Ship, short of sailing on one.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Wildlife Sightings in British Columbia

A group aboard the Island Roamer this week spotted 2 Sperm Whales in the open waters of the Queen Charlotte Islands! They were approximately 40 feet long. In the same day they also spotted 45 black-footed Albatross.It has been another amazing season for Humpback Whales, birds, bears and all the species in the Northern Galapagos (as the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia are known)

The fictional Moby Dick was a sperm whale. The real one has the largest brain of any animal - indeed it is the largest of the tooth whales and very rare to see near a coastline. They do live in all the oceans except the polar but are not often seen in the waters of British Columbia.