Bruce in kayak.

"We specialize in small group travel, which minimizes environmental impact, increases safety standards and allows for personalized, enriching and authentic experiences."

— Bruce Smith, founder and owner, Seascape Kayak Tours Inc.

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Client Corner


SEASCAPES – Fall 2008

The Newsletter for the SKT Community

Welcome to the first digital issue of Seascapes, your paddling community newsletter. This past summer has been a very busy one at Seascape’s headquarters on Deer Island. Not only did we have an awesome paddling season despite the high fuel costs and some foggy weather, but we unveiled our new logo and launched our new web site, where you can find tons of information about our offerings. This newsletter will give you the inside scoop on what we’ve been up to in Canada – and what’s in store for the exciting winter season in Costa Rica.


Return to the rock – 2008

Return to the Rock image.Seascape operated an eight-day expedition to the Bay of Exploits, Newfoundland, in June/July 2008. This was the first Seascape trip to Newfoundland in several years. A diverse group of thirteen came together to explore the rocky coast of Newfoundland and to reconnect with Seascape friends along the way.

“Steeped in history and legend, the Bay of Exploits made for a stunning place to find fantastic paddling and friendship!” wrote trip participant Christopher Hoyt, Halifax, of the experience. Another member of the group, Frank Postma of Chance Harbour, New Brunswick, wrote: “Seascape Kayaking Tours and Newfoundland was a unique opportunity to truly escape your everyday life, a getaway from the conditioned luxuries one takes for granted. It’s back to basics, including the necessity to bond with your fellow travelers to weather the challenges nature has in store. Teambuilding at its best.” His wife, Katinka Postma, summed it up thus: "For the first time in my life I really felt ‘one with nature.’ Being out there in a kayak on the big Bay of Exploits made me feel really tiny. The beautiful rough coastline, the swell of salty water, and no one there — except our group. It was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again!"

We realized on the trip that we need to do more to expose paddlers to this special coastal environment. So we are going back to the rock next year. Get in touch with us if you would like to know some of the details about the trip scheduled for June 26-July 4, 2009.


New web site a huge hit

Seascape LogoThis summer saw the creation of a new Seascape logo and the launch of our new web site, both designed by Paul Wagner at Pyrographic Media in Lexington, Kentucky. www.pyrographicmedia.com. Thanks to excellent continuous technical support by Mike Postma www.mikepostma.com the site is wind powered, which you can read about in the press release on our Media Center. The site has received a deluge of kudos from our friends, clients and travel industry colleagues alike. Here are just a few:

“I took a peek and found that I really have a good feeling about your web site. It really makes me want to do it all!!” – Barbara Lytle, Lexington, Kentucky

 

“Congratulations Bruce and Frances! The new web site looks great and is a nice presentation of Seascape. I hope to be out with you again before the 2008 season in NB is done, if not I’m certain to be back next year.”
– Connie Bishop, Fredericton, New Brunswick

 

“This is a beautiful site!! Very much communicates the eco-friendly tone you want, and also is very user-friendly. The photos are gorgeous! I love this, and can’t wait to take advantage of what you all are doing up there!” – Paul Ramey, Jacksonville, Florida

 

“The web site looks great. I think that it effectively gets across what Seascape is all about. It presents a very friendly face with an environmental awareness, while still stressing that Seascape is very safety conscious. Seems like everything someone would want in a kayak trip!!!” – Kathy Davies, Canmore, Alberta.

If you would like to make a comment about our site or about a trip with us, simply e-mail it and we will post it on our Client Corner for you. Please tell us the town and country you live in and, if you have been on a trip or in a course with us, please list that information as well.

To read more about the making of the site, click to our press release:
SEASCAPE KAYAK TOURS LAUNCHES NEW WIND-POWERED WEB SITE, Sept. 6, 2008.


Seascape Kids
A look at educational programs 2008

Bruce Helping a boy in a kayak.In addition to providing kayak trips for many vacationing families this summer, Seascape hosted several local youth groups on one-day sea kayaking experiences that offered an introduction to ecotourism and the stewardship of special coastal areas. These trips all included coastal cleanups along the many beaches near Deer Island and were designed to give students a better understanding of the working waterfront, including lobster fishing, salmon farming, the Passamaquoddy First Nation and Bay of Fundy-based ecotourism. Among the groups who visited were native youth from the Kingsclear First Nation; the St. Andrews Youth Centre Camp for Youth at Risk; and youngsters from a school-based program led by the Coastal Livelihoods Trust, a non-profit organization based in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.


Seascape to be featured in new film series

Sarah BoodAnother fun and exciting day at Seacape Kayak Tours was caught on film thanks to local aspiring filmmaker, Sarah Bood. Sarah is currently working for the Coastal Livelihoods Trust and is completing an educational short film series. Her films, aimed at inspiring students to practice environmental stewardship, focus on a variety of coastal livelihoods, including lobster fishing, weir fishing, aquaculture and ecotourism.

Seascape will be featured as a case study for the educational film on ecotourism. Part of the film is now available for viewing on the web-based video sharing program Vimeo and on our web site. In the final cut, Bruce Smith will discuss his work at Seascape and how he practices environmental stewardship. Responsible and ecologically friendly tourism are fundamental values of Seascape and will be explored in this film aimed at the fifth grade level.

"Locally-made short films are a fantastic educational tool," Sarah says. "In watching this film, students actually journey out with Bruce in a kayak, learn about what his work entails and why environmentally friendly practices are important to the well being of marine environments."

The ecotourism film will be completed mid-November and will be shown along with three other films to schools in Charlotte County, New Brunswick. To learn more about these films, contact Sarah Bood at [email protected]


Two SKT articles published in September

WhalesSeascape Kayak Tours is a member of The International Ecotourism Society, which published an article on the company in its September issue of the newsletter Digital Traveler. Turning Tides: Opportunities and Challenges for Ecotourism in the Bay of Fundy highlights many of the wonderful wildlife opportunities that Seascape’s paddlers enjoy when they launch from Deer Island. It also explains some of the threats to this very special ecosystem. “Protection is an element of ecotourism that desperately needs attention here,” says Bruce Smith in this article, pointing out that in Costa Rica – where Seascape has made its winter base of operations for the past 13 years – the government has taken progressive steps to preserve 27 percent of land mass in protected areas and national parks. “The Quoddy Region in the Bay of Fundy – a marine environment every bit as diverse as a rainforest ecosystem – is crying out for such protection.” A very special thanks to Laurie Murison and Art MacKay for help with this piece. To download a PDF of the story, click here.

One of New Brunswick’s leading business news publications, eNBusiness, with a circulation of 25,000, profiled Bruce Smith in its September 2008 issue. When asked by the interviewer why he has focused on outdoor recreation as a motivation for his career, Bruce said: “Kayak tours, because they allow people to be so intimate with the marine environment around them, are an excellent way to teach people of all ages the importance of respecting the oceans, the earth and its non-human inhabitants. Such connections with nature are the vehicle through which I experience spirituality, and when I can share those connections with others, I feel I am making an important contribution to their lives and to the world around us.” To download a PDF of the story, click here.

You can also see both these stories on the Media Center.


El Espiritu del Mar
Mixing yoga and kayaking

Lauri in yoga pose.The practice of yoga offers many benefits, from increased flexibility and strength to a deeper sense of connection with the world around us. We therefore felt it would be a natural fit to combine sea kayaking with yoga in an exciting new package to be offered in Costa Rica March 14-22, 2009. Before and after a day of paddling, sunrise and sunset yoga sessions will be guided by Laurice D. Nemetz, MA, ADTR, E-RYT, LCAT, who works as a yoga teacher and dance/movement therapist throughout Westchester County in New York. The photo here shows Lauri in action.

Our clients who choose this experience will find that Lauri is a warm and dynamic instructor; she has taught in a variety of settings from yoga studios to the university level, and has presented yoga workshops throughout the east coast of the U.S. and Canada on topics from spirituality to anatomy. Whether working with individuals or small groups, Lauri looks to find the highest level of movement potential and creativity in each individual. “I have always enjoyed hiking and nature, and fell in love with sea kayaking in Canada,” she says. “Kayaking and yoga are both about being present, and I believe they will provide a wonderful complement to each other in the beautiful surroundings of the Pacific.”

Lauri is the current co-President of the YTA (Yoga Teachers’ Association), is registered as an experienced level yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, and has received certifications in teaching hatha yoga and yoga therapeutics. She has her Master’s degree in dance/movement therapy and is both registered and licensed as a creative arts therapist and publishes and illustrates regularly in her field. This trip is open to paddlers and yoga enthusiasts at all levels of experience. The maximum group number is 10. If you would like to communicate with Lauri directly, you can reach her at [email protected].


Costa Rica Oropendola Special

Bird in tree.The Oropendola is one of our favorite birds in Costa Rica. It likes to hang upside down, and so in honor of this amazing bird, we are turning prices upside down for those who are willing to book their trips early this year. If you are interested in coming to Costa Rica to paddle with us between November 2008 and April 2009, we are offering a 10 percent discount for those who book and pay for their trip in full before October 31, 2008. You can get this 10 percent discount on your entire trip if you e-mail and tell us the trip you want and that you saw the Oropendola Special on our new web site. Find all the Costa Rica trip descriptions on the Costa Rica page, prices on our Price List at the bottom of the Costa Rica page and dates on our Trip Schedule on the top right of any page on our site. We’re happy to adjust dates to fit your needs, so just e-mail us or call to chat: [email protected] or toll free 866.747.1884.


Mystery shoppers rate Seascape high

Bay of Fundy LogoSeascape is certified for quality as a “Bay of Fundy Recommended Experience” by the Bay of Fundy Tourism Association. Secret shopper style evaluations are part of this program, so one day, unbeknownst to us at Seascape, a couple of paddlers who came for a full-day trip took note of every single part of the experience. Seascape’s overall rating was excellent. Here we share with you some of the mystery shoppers’ comments in several categories.

Customer service
Our telephone contact made a positive impression. These people were very interested in ensuring that we had all the information needed. Once on Deer Island, there are clear signs leading to the site. We were late in our driving to the area, and telephoned them to let them know. They were very understanding about our delay, though we were not able to go on the trip at the time we had booked. We went to the site anyway, and rescheduled a trip with them for later in our holiday. We received a warm welcome and were even offered coffee and water. They were very understanding and helped us to plan a trip specifically for taking photographs.

Safety and equipment
Staff was very friendly, efficient, professional, properly dressed and genuinely interested in making this an enjoyable experience. They were encouraging, took interest in what we were interested in and made us feel safe at all times. Our tour started off with a very thorough briefing, which covered safety regulations, how to get in and out of the kayak, how to paddle efficiently and how to steer the kayak. Potential emergency situations were reviewed and clear instructions provided. All questions were answered thoroughly and knowledgeably. All the equipment provided (paddling jacket, PFDs, spray skirts, paddles, kayaks and dry bags) was in excellent condition. The guide was very well prepared and equipped. Each kayak had an extra paddle and a water pump. The guide had a radio, cell phone and first aid kit, as well as advanced wilderness first aid training. The clarity of instructions, knowledge and experience of the guide, his professionalism and overall competence, the quality of the equipment, meant that we felt safe at all times. We particularly appreciated his knowledge of the tides and currents and the use of the radio to advise other boats in the area of our presence.

Interpretation, wildlife and environment
Given the nature of the activity, the staff and guide have to have an excellent knowledge of the Bay of Fundy and its ecology. The commentary and the additional information on the marine life and fauna was interesting and appreciated. The guide knowledgeably answered all the questions about the Bay of Fundy. The coastal fishing practices were described and well explained. There was an overall sense of deep respect for the environment. We remained at all times at a respectful distance from the marine life, particularly the seals. We made a wide berth around the seals on the rocks, and kept a respectful distance from the ones which were curious and swam towards us. When we listened to and watched for porpoises and whales, we sat quietly in the kayaks and let them approach us. The Code of Ethics for observing whales was clearly posted and referred to. We sighted a whale but did not make any effort to follow it and the guide was particularly clear that wildlife should be left alone. All garbage from our lunch was carefully put back into the containers to be taken back with us. Our guide was observed many times scooping up floating garbage, and tucking it in the kayak for later disposal.

Overall impression
Kayaking is certainly a very interesting way to experience from very close the richness and diversity of the fauna, the amazing tides and the natural beauty of the Bay of Fundy. Being new at kayaking and a bit apprehensive about being out on the sea in a small craft, we felt safe and in very competent hands at all times. Although the weather was not the greatest, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience. Sitting in thick fog, unable to see more than 5 meters ahead, yet hearing porpoise, whales, seagulls and fog horns was an amazing experience; seeing the blur of a porpoise swimming beside me was pretty amazing too! Our expectations were exceeded both because of the very pleasant and professional staff and the overall experience. It was a very satisfying experience that could be recommended to almost everyone from novice to experienced kayaker.

And finally, about friendliness and courtesy, the mystery shoppers said: “Excellent, we felt very welcome and treated as guests, almost friends, rather than clients.” This is the aspect of his business that makes Bruce the happiest – when people come away feeling like they were treated as friends. That’s why so many of our clients do become our friends.


We will ship you Seascape brochures

Seascape has some attractive, 8-page brochures that tell our story and provide tons of information about our trips both in Canada and Costa Rica. We would be happy to ship you a package of these within the U.S. or Canada at no charge. Just e-mail us before Oct. 20 if you are interested.


Looking for a few good people

Seascape is always looking for talented, motivated and energetic people who are passionate about special coastal areas to join our team. Contact us for more information about on-water and land-based employment opportunities.


Parting shot

Eagle Taking FlightWe are always amazed by the wildlife on and around Deer Island. Bruce captured this special shot while a group of paddlers watched Bald Eagles from their kayaks just off Dinner Island.