Ross Campbell here, owner/operator of Mothership Adventures and skipper of the COLUMBIA III. Many of you are returning guests and you will also know me as the chief dishwasher and window cleaner.
I apologize in advance for the length of this missive, but I am willing to risk the impropriety because my entire business of the last 15 years, our retirement nest egg and your expensive deposits and potential holiday plans are at stake.
Of course you are all aware of the crazy and unpredictable 2020 summer, and I was at a complete loss as to how to communicate with you when circumstances were changing so quickly. In the end, we did not operate a single eco-tourism tour in 2020. After many, many emails and phone calls we canceled tours, and moved our 2020 reservations to the 2021 and 2022 seasons. We also issued some refunds in full and with the generosity of some guests we also issued some partial refunds.
Of course we have never experienced anything like this with our business before. With the help of our any repeat customers, we normally sell out well in advance and the 25% deposits paid in advance allow us to finance the preseason preparations. Operating a classic wooden ship is a cash intensive endeavour. Over the winter of 2019-2020 we completed a major main-engine rebuild, purchased several new kayaks, completed our extensive Ministry of Transport 4 year underwater inspection and of course had our crews sanding and painting the ship in April getting ready for the season that might not happen. Even though our season didn't run, the ship had to be insured, Transport Canada inspections had to be completed and our office had to function . . . all without cash flow. Which for a small family business means one simple thing: we are currently using up our retirement savings to maintain Mothership Adventures and the COLUMBIA III in a state of stasis.
And now, 2021 lies before me. My eager and loyal crews are ready and waiting as are you, my long suffering and patient guests. Many of you have traveled with us before and or have heard good things about our small ship and hope to join us for a first, of perhaps many, times.
But once again, I am reaching out to tell you the worst possible news: That I do not know how our 2021 season will unfold. There are many factors at play but a short list looks like this:
This much I know:
Obviously, if you know you do not want to join us this year please let us know. It simply removes one more variable from our long list!
In addition to all of the above, we are still hoping we can operate some tours this season with some or all of our guests. We will have COVID 19 preventative measures in place that will meet or exceed those mandated by our provincial Health Officer and the ship will be subjected to rigorous pre-tour, during-tour and post-tour cleaning procedures.
Thank you everyone for your patience and flexibility. Hopefully we will soon be able to relax on the COLMBIA III, enjoy the quiet of BC's remote coast and be glad that all "that COVID-19 stuff" is behind us.