Northern Gwai Haanas Explorer, 8 days
Sea kayaking in Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is a spectacular experience. Isolated from British Columbia by Hecate Strait, Haida Gwaii are ecologically unique. The 100 kilometres of open water has isolated the archipelago from the BC mainland, to the extent that there are at least 39 distinct subspecies of plants and animals that are found no place else in the world. The jewel of the islands, Gwaii Haanas, provides the adventurous kayaker with stunning scenery, remote wilderness, fantastic wildlife, and the opportunity to visit important Haida cultural sites.
Our Northern Gwaii Haanas Explorer kayak tours operate within Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. The Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation cooperatively manage Gwaii Haanas through the Archipelago Management Board.
- Price: $2.895 CAD per person plus 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Group Size: Maximum of eight guests and two guides
- Participants: This tour is adult-oriented but participants as young as 15 may be accepted
- Suitability: Intermediate to advanced kayakers
- Departs: Sandspit, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)
The Northern Gwaii Haanas Explorer tours travel between Tanu Island and Burnaby Island in the northern half of Gwaii Haanas. This section of Gwaii Haanas provides numerous kayaking routes to choose between, and we may paddle sheltered channels, secluded bays, and exposed coastline. Highlights of this tour often include visiting the Haida cultural sites of T’aanuu Llnagaay (Tanu) and Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay), soaking in the natural pools at Gandll K’in Gwaayaay (Hot Spring Island), and kayaking the wildlife rich waters of Juan Perez Sound and Burnaby (Dolomite) Narrows.
T’aanuu Llnagaay (Tanu) is an ancient village site that used to have more than 25 big houses. None of the big houses stand today but as we walk through the moss covered forest the rectangular house pits and the posts and beams are still visible.
As we kayak south we plan to visit Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay) and the big house style cabin named "Looking Around and Blinking House". The cabin honours the Haida’s 1985 blockade of logging roads in the struggle to put an end to logging on Lyell Island and to protect the area that is now Gwaii Haanas. In 2013 the "Legacy Pole" was raised in Windy Bay — the first monumental pole raised in Gwaii Haanas in 130 years. The pole’s "Land, Sea, People" theme is inspired by the connections between the Haida Nation and all those who take care of Gwaii Haanas from mountain-top to seafloor.
Gandll K’in Gwaayaay (Hot Spring Island) has traditionally provided food in abundance and waters that would comfort, heal and nourish body and soul. The hot spring water stopped flowing after a major earthquake struck off the west coast of Haida Gwaii in 2012. A year later, the Gwaii Haanas staff noticed some springs were beginning to flow again, and in the years since, several new ones have emerged at lower elevations, closer to the shore. In 2017, three new pools were built and the hot springs can once again be enjoyed by all visitors.
Wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant throughout Gwaii Haanas. Kayaking quietly along the shore we may come across deer, black bears, and pine martens. Humpback whales may be seen throughout Gwaii Haanas and are often seen feeding in Juan Perez Sound. With 750.000 nesting seabirds and more bald eagle nests per kilometre of shoreline than anywhere else in Canada, Gwaii Haanas is a birder’s dream.
Includes: We provide you with all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jackets, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags (you may bring your own). All meals during the kayak trip are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Sandspit by our network of vans and water taxis. Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site Fees.
What is not included:
- Transport from your home to Sandspit
- Airport transfers
- Accommodation in Sandspit
- Any meals outside the kayak portion of the tour are your responsibility.
- Travel insurance
- The trip price does not include guide gratuities; should you feel that the service was exemplary, it is always appreciated