MV Explorer has sunk

MS Explorer (AP)GAP Adventure’s MV Explorer sank in Antarctic waters today after hitting submerged ice. Luckily all passengers and crew were safe. Ironically, it was the first custom-built Antarctic cruise ship, and the first cruise ship to visit the Antarctic. It was also the first cruise ship to navigate the northwest passage without help of an icebreaker.

The accident may have a ripple effect on other antarctic cruises, as people may look for real icebreakers to travel on, rather than ships with ice-strengthened hulls (like the Explorer).

Adventure Canada charters the ship in summer for its arctic expeditions, so it is scrambling to find a new ship for next year’s expeditions.

Protection for Canada’s boreal forest

Canada’s government just announced that it will protect 10.8 million ha of boreal forest in the NWT. That is 2.5 x the size of Holland or Vancouver island:
– 1.5 million hectares designated for a future national wildlife area
along the Mackenzie River near the town of Fort Good Hope under the
Northwest Territories Protected Area Strategy;

– 3.3 million hectares identified for a new national park (2.6 million
acres of new protection) on the East Arm of Great Slave Lake; and

– 6 million hectares of priority lands between the new park and an
existing wildlife refuge to be managed for conservation and
appropriate development by the Akaitcho First Nations under a pending
treaty agreement.

Great news for conservation in Canada.

Tourism online marketing

Online marketing is a hot topic in the tourism sector, but many companies aren’t doing so well in the online space. If you want to keep up with the latest tips, be sure to follow my colleague Daniel Vasquez’ online marketing blog.

Top ten marketing organizations in Canada

Canada’s Marketing Magazine recently announced its list of top ten marketers for 2007. The Canadian Tourism Commission is among them. Who do you think should win? Vote for your choice at http://www.marketingmag.ca/ in the poll on the left of the page.

Foldable kayaks

Along with the Alpaca rafts, The Trak Kayak also gets a spot in the category of cool outdoor gear. I grea up with foldable Klepper kayaks, but they took a while to set up, they had a lot of parts, and we punctured  the boats many times on the rocls of Belgian rivers.  Fast forward 30 years, and enter this very cool foldable kayak. Made of very durable material and only seven pieces, it sets up in 5-10 mins.

And what is extra cool is the hydraulic steering mechanism. You can hydraulically alter the shape of the boat to change direction, or paddle in a sidewind. Now, how cool is that? The $5000 pricetag is a bit of a problem, though…Trak kayak

Alpaca rafts

Alpaca raftThere is lots of great outdoor gear out there, but every so often a really cool new toy comes along. Alpaca rafts qualify for the “real cool” label. They are small, ultralight inflatable rafts. Why are they cool? Because they allow you to hike through remote areas, and cross large rivers along the way in style. Especially in the north this is pretty useful. Check out the kinds of trips people dream up with these.

Banff Mountain Books and Films

I am back in the real world agin after four days of pure bliss in Banff. We had some great speakers during the book festival, including Ed Viesturs, Lincoln Hall, Glenn Boles, and Steph Davis. The film festival included some fantastic reals, including Endless Knot, Nine Winters Old, Ice Mines, and the crowd favourite, 20 Seconds of Joy. Rick over at besthike.com has reviewed many of the films.

If you like their world tour, you’ll love the festival. Very highly recommended. This year’s festival trailer isn’t up yet, but last year’s is available here.