Conference 2017 – Expedition Cruising

AH18 October 16, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Creating Ambassadors: Expedition Cruising Helps Secure the Future of Sable Island” Allow us to introduce Cedar Swan, an adventurer and passionate outdoor enthusiast. The CEO of Adventure Canada—as well as an expedition planner…

(Read More)

Conference 2017 – Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks:

AH18 October 15, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks: Following a Digital Paper Trail” With some 350 ships thought to have wrecked on Sable Island, it’s sometimes called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic”. At our conference, Bill…

(Read More)

Conference 2017 – Marine Debris and Micro Plastics

AH18 October 14, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Atlantic Canada Microplastics Research Project” Marine debris and micro plastics. Unpleasant for sure, but what does the research tell us? Ariel Smith, MEnv, is the Marine Debris Project Coordinator at Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation…

(Read More)

Conference 2017 – Sable Island Horse Research

AH18 October 13, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Population Ecology of the Sable Island Horses”  Sable Island’s most famous inhabitants are its horses. And here’s the man who may understand them the best.Philip D. McLoughlin is an Associate Professor…

(Read More)
1 2 3 13

Thank You Bill Freedman

October 28, 2015

It was sad to hear of the passing of Bill Freedman in late September 2015.…

AGM 2015 Recap

June 25, 2015

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2015 Annual General Meeting on June 24th at the…

Conference Thanks

June 2, 2015

One month ago today we opened the first Sable Island Conference. It was exciting to…

E-4: “Monitoring visitor experience aboard expedition cruises to Sable Island National Park Reserve” – Patrick T. Maher, Ph.D.


Expedition cruise ships visit many remote regions of the world. These smaller expedition vessels carry fewer passengers and offer an increased educational program with onboard teams of environmental and cultural guides (Walker & Moscardo, 2006). Expedition cruises are interested in “finding new unspoilt, previously unvisited locations with a strong natural or cultural appeal” (Ellis & Kriwoken, 2006, p. 251), and Sable Island certainly fits the bill.

In August 2013, CBC reported that Sable Island National Park Reserve would welcome a schedule of cruise visitors in the summer of 2014 (see CBC, 2013). This exploratory research was set up to collect data from this critical baseline season with hopes that it will assist in designing and implementing appropriate management strategies in the future.

Data was collected from both Adventure Canada voyages to the island in 2014. The project used a pre-and-post survey method on board the cruises asking questions that the tourists themselves were the knowledge holders (i.e. opinions and personal thoughts). Without a permanent, general public type of population on Sable Island this data was collected to provide insights into both expectations and initial reflections of the experience from that a general public-type of perspective. Contextual input, such as landing sites, weather patterns, etc. could be gained from the tour operator or Parks Canada.

Survey responses were 81 pre and 87 post trip, with a largely Canadian bias to the group. Initial analyses indicate that a very positive experience was encountered by these visitors, but that there is certainly room to improve with regards to education and management. Analysis of the data is ongoing and final results should be available in May.