Small cruise line treats the whole world as one ocean

Cruising between ports in Canada’s Maritime Provinces, the
passengers and crew gather in a bar for the fundraising auction.
The crew members take turns playing auctioneer, spinning wildly
exaggerated tales of the attributes of lighthouse-shaped magnets, a
maple syrup cookbook and a bottle of whiskey. Passengers get into a
bidding war over a maple leaf mug, with a winning price of $60. The
One Ocean Expeditions’ flag that’s been flying on the ship goes
for over $200. It’s a silly and fun event that raises almost
$1,200 for the cruise line’s favorite ocean-related charities,
including the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Scott Polar
Research Institute and the penguin-tracking Oceanites. Over the
past eight years, One Ocean’s passengers have contributed nearly
half a million dollars toward conservation

  • cruise ship on the ocean
  • people walking a trail in a national park
  • person sitting looking out over views of ocean
  • people rinsing bottom of shoes in a foot bath
  • corrugated metal building with sign that reads "One Ocean Science Research Lab"
  • people walking through grassy area
  • island horses grazing
  • seal skull on a beach
  • gable buildings of a ghost town
  • people kayaking
  • cruise ship on the ocean

people walking a trail in a national park

This is just one way that the small, British
Columbia-headquartered company balances business with social and
environmental responsibility. As stated in One Ocean Expeditions’
philosophy on its website, “We view the world as one large
ocean containing a
series of large islands. So, it stands to reason that our actions
in one part of the ocean will trickle down and have an effect in
another part.” The company strives to give guests a fun and
memorable travel experience while being a model of ecological

person sitting looking out over views of ocean

Respectful port visits

One Ocean
gives a lot of thought to partnering with its
destinations, whether visiting wilderness or developed communities.
Since the company began with polar expeditions, biosecurity has
always been extremely important. To be sure that passengers
aren’t bringing seeds and other contaminants ashore, guests must
check their zippers and Velcro for debris and scrape out the treads
of their shoes. Passengers line up to vacuum backpack pockets and
closures on jackets. Everyone must also dip the soles of their
shoes in a special chemical bath before visiting certain ports.

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On the Fins and Fiddles cruise of eastern Canada, the only stop that
requires biosecurity measures is Sable Island. This long, narrow
island southeast of Nova Scotia is famous for its wild horses and
enormous gray seal colony. Bird life is also abundant. Ipswich
sparrows nest here, and roseate terns will let you know you’re
getting too close to their quarters by dive-bombing your head.

island horses grazing

“In Canada, Sable Island is really special to a lot of
people,” Alannah Phillips, park manager of Sable Island National Park
, told Inhabitat. “It has kind of a magic and mystery
to it that people want to make sure it’s protected.” Only about
450 people per year manage to visit this remote island. Visiting
requires special permits, and nobody but Parks Canada staff and a
few qualified researchers are allowed to spend the night ashore.
One Ocean Expeditions is one of the few small cruise lines to obtain a

The boot wash is the most important part of biosecurity,
Phillips said, because the chemicals kill diseases that could be
transported from horse farms. “You get a lot of horse people who
want to go to Sable Island.”

This is one of the most as-is beaches people will ever see. Seal
skulls, shark vertebrae, plastics — all sorts of
things litter the beach. What looks like kelp turns out to be long,
unraveled seal intestines. “It’s an amazing platform to teach
people,” Phillips said. “Even though it’s 175 kilometers from
the mainland in middle of the Atlantic Ocean, what you drop in the
water wherever you are can end up on Sable Island.” Helium
balloons, coconuts and sneakers regularly wash up. The most
exciting find Phillips remembers was a message in a bottle dropped
from a Scottish ocean liner in the 1930s.

Other Canadian stops feature low-impact activities, such as
biking the Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island, hiking in Highlands National
Park on Cape Breton Island and taking a guided history walk of the
ghost town island Ile aux Marins off Saint Pierre and Miquelon. A
fleet of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards offer other
planet-healthy options.

people kayaking

Sustainable cruising

One Ocean Expeditions is a tiny cruise line. At the moment,
it’s only running one ship, the 146-passenger RCGS Resolute,
which burns marine gas oil, a cleaner alternative than the cheaper
heavy fuel oil. The ship avoids traveling at full speed, preferring
a leisurely pace that reduces emissions while
interfering less with the navigation and communication of marine

Cabin bathrooms feature fragrant biodegradable soap,
shampoo and conditioner in refillable dispensers, made by an
ethical producer on Salt Spring Island, Canada. Every guest gets a
reusable water bottle. This is convenient, as there’s a water
bottle filling station on every deck. Announcements over the
loudspeaker remind passengers to bring their water bottles on
expeditions, and One Ocean hauls a huge water dispenser ashore in
case bottles run dry. Even the on-board gym offers a water
dispenser but no cups. If you forget your water bottle, well,
consider walking back to your cabin to retrieve it as part of your

gable buildings of a ghost town

One Oceans Expeditions has taken the #BePlasticWise pledge and
is part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s “Clean
Seas” working group, which aims to drastically reduce the
consumption of single-use plastic. The
cruise line regularly hosts scientists who do on-board research
ranging from collecting meteorological data to tagging and tracking
migrant whale populations to measuring plastic pollution in sea

“OOE also takes part annually in the ‘Clean-up Svalbard’
program to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Norwegian
Arctic,” according to Victoria Dowdeswell, part of One Ocean’s
marketing and business development team. “Here, both staff and
guests collect rubbish and assorted debris from fishing vessels,
which are carried via the Gulf Stream to Svalbard’s shores each
year. OOE know that there is only one ocean and that we all need to
work to protect it.”

+ One Oceans

Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
Small cruise line treats the whole world as one ocean