Adventure tours of Canada, Haida Gwaii Mini-Safari, 8 Days. Itinerary.

Haida Gwaii Mini-Safari, 8 Days

This cultural trip to Haida Gwaii visits villages on Graham and Morseby islands, explores the splendour of Naikoon Park and includes a zodiac trip to remote Louise Island.

ITINERARY:

  1. Vancouver to Sandspit (Queen Charlotte City, British Columbia)
    Our travel begins at Vancouver South Terminal Airport when we board our flight to Sandspit. The two-hour fight skirts the Coastal Mountains, swings north-west over Hecate Strait and then crosses over Gwaii Haanis National Park and Reserve.
    At Sandspit Airport, your Midnight Sun Driver/ Guide will load your luggage and then escort the group to Ailford Bay where we’ll take the 20 minute crossing to Skidegate on Graham Island. A stop the Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre will give us “the big picture” and we’ll load up on local maps. From here we’ll check into our bed and breakfast and tour the village of Queen Charlotte.
    In the evening we experience a taste of Haida culture and lifestyle by dining in a truly unforgettable way. At Keenwaiis Kitchen our Haida Chef, Roberta Olson who specializes in traditional Haida and local foods, will prepare an authentic three course dinner for our group. From her home, Roberta, whose Haida name is Keenawaii, has served dignitaries, government officials and celebrities. The seafood and venison are locally harvested as are the berries, mushrooms and other wild edibles.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Dinner.
  2. Queen Charlotte City, British Columbia
    After an early breakfast we’ll make our way down to the float dock and get ready for our full day of adventure. The float plane flight from Queen Charlotte City will take us to Rose Bay, a former whaling station where we’ll meet up with our local tour boat operator and don our survival suits for the 20 minute ride to Anthony Island.br/ A Haida Watchman will meet the group to provide an interpretative tour of some of the best preserved ancient villages on Haida Gwaii. Ninstints/ S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay embodies the rugged Pacific beauty and rich ecology of the coast and the 10,000 year Haida connection with the land and sea. You will see original totem poles, many of them toppled or tilted, and the remains of longhouses. This site evokes strong feelings of the past and spiritual life of the Haida People. At mid-afternoon we return by boat to our floatplane and the dock at Graham Island. Later we’ll head down to the local watering hole and enjoy a refreshing libation and reminisce about the adventures of the day. In cases of inclement weather we will visit the villages of Skedans and Tanu instead. These villages are often more accessible when the weather is not co-operating.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast, lunch.
  3. Tlell, B.C.
    This morning we head to the village of Skidegate and the Haida Culture Centre at Kay Llnagaay. More ambitious passengers may want to walk the six k’s along the coastal road to the Centre.
    Here at the Centre, guests will get a guided tour of this award winning aboriginal cultural tourism attraction. The Centre sits on the ancient site of Kay Llnagaay or “Sea Lion Town,” and is designed to resemble the traditional Oceanside Haida Village that once stood in its place. The Centre houses a museum which contains thousands of Haida artifacts including the largest argillite collection in the world. We’ll also see poles, traditional and ceremonial clothing as well as everyday household objects.
    At the Performance House stories, drumming and traditional dances are performed. We’ll also visit the carving house/ Gyaa K’id Naay and Tluu Naay Canoe Shed / Skaajang Naay. The large open-walled building of the carving house is designed to hold monumental poles, canoes and any other work that would be too large to fit in the enclosed space of the carving shed. Guests are invited to walk around and tour artists at work in this work space. Currently, the Skidegate Pole carved by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid is housed in the Carving House until it is ready to be raised again inside the walls of the Haida Gwaii Museum.
    At the canoe shed, learn about the Haida mode of travel, transportation, food/resource gathering and trade by exploring the history and importance of canoes in Haida lives.
    Haidas were fierce warriors and well-known coastal travellers, having ventured to Victoria for trading purposes in earlier times during the 1800s. Critical to the sustainability of Haida culture was the canoe which the Haida depended on to trade with neighbouring coast First Nations and travel between communities.
    Those guests feeling in need to get out and stretch their legs elect to take a walk around Spirit Lake. The trail is hard packed and well maintained rated easy to moderate with some steep parts at the beginning.
    After lunch at the local bistro we’ll head north on the Yellowhead Highway. Along the way, nestled behind a stand of tall cedars, a narrow trail leads to the ocean and one of the most mysterious and uniquely photographed sites in all of Haida Gwaii: Balance Rock. Here we’ll stop and explore the area known to the Haida as a spiritual site. Enroute to Tlell we’ll stop at the Jungle Beach and St Mary’s Spring where those who take a sip are destined to come back to Haida Gwaii. We check into our local B&B and enjoy dinner at the local restaurant.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast.
  4. Tlell, B.C.
    Enjoy a quiet morning, take a walk on the beach, watch the sun rise. After a leisurely breakfast we head out to the village of Port Clements, and the protected lands of Yaaguun Gandlaay. Here we’ll visit the site of Kiidk'yaas, also known as the Golden Spruce. An easy hard packed trail takes us to the banks of the Yakoun River where this mighty tree once stood. The Golden Spruce was a Sitka spruce tree that had a rare genetic mutation that caused its needles to be golden in colour. This tree was considered sacred by the Haida people. On the trail you will learn about the tragic end of this tree and the efforts today to save and create a new Golden Spruce, as well as visit the new Golden Spruce growing in Port Clements.
    After lunch we’ll head out to the Crystal Cabin, a small gift shop founded by the Dutheil family of jewelers 25 years ago. This shop is home to the Tlell Stone Circle, an outdoor exhibit of Haida Gwaii’s Geological Past. These stones, which are arranged in a medicine wheel, mark the intersection of two harmonic leylines and an entryway for light into the universe. We can stand in the middle of the circle to become more spiritually connected to Haida Gwaii.
    Inside guests can discover local and international selection of crystals, and gemstone jewelry. Be sure to pick up the Dutheil Family local signature specimens, including the Serenity Stone, Star Spirit Thunder Eggs, or Island Mist Agates. At the end of the day, guests have the option to return to their relax at their accommodation or take a hike to near Misty Meadows in Naikoon National Park. This hike leads to the Pesuta Shipwreck and takes three to four hours, there and back..
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast.
  5. Masset, Tow Hill B.C.
    After breakfast we continue with another big adventure day. We head to the village of Masset where we’ll meet our local guide for a marine tour to the village of Yan or Kung (depending on weather conditions).
    Unlike Ninstints/ S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay, in the south, there is not much left of these villages but the giant most covered poles of the long houses. Yan was once one of the larger villages of the north in Haida Gwaii and had up to seventeen long houses but was abandoned in the late 1800s. Kung was also once a thriving village of fifteen long houses with a rich history. We’ll have time to visit one of these places with our local guide and enjoy the stories, surroundings and atmosphere. Later we check into our local bed and breakfast and enjoy a delicious dinner.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast, dinner.
  6. Masset, Tow Hill B.C.
    Everyone needs a chill day and today is it. After a relaxing morning we’ll check the tides and head out to explore Tow Hill and Naikoon National Park. We’ll walk along the boardwalk trail up Tow Hill with panoramic views of the sandy beaches and Masset Inlet. Naikoon National Park encompasses 72,640 hectares along the Northeast tip of Graham Island with 97 kilometres of sandy beaches, making it a beachcomber’s delight. The park is mostly lowland forest with stunted lodge pole pine, red and yellow cedar, sitka spruce and helmlock.
    After our visit to Tow Hill we’ll walk along North Beach and sink out toes into the soft sand and do some beachcombing. We take refreshment at a funky local bakery set in the forest. In the afternoon passengers can visit the Dixon Maritime Museum and Delkatla Nature Sanctuary.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast, dinner.
  7. Masset, Tow Hill B.C.
    Our last full day on Haida Gwaii is spent touring the village of Old Masset. We visit the local chiefs’ Big House are guided by a local through the canoe shed. For a first hand and personal understanding of the Haida People we visit local carvers of argelitte, cedar and painters in their homes.
    We’ll tour the more recent poles put up in the village and enjoy lunch with the locals at their favourite eating place. Other stops will include Sarahs ‘Gift House and the Raven Gallery. We’ll stop for pictures of the local sites whenever and wherever possible, watch the eagles ride the wind along the shoreline or enjoy the treats thrown out to them by local fishermen.
    By the end of this week you will have slowed down and become tuned to the unique rhythm of this place, of the peace and quiet that is Haida Gwaii. Your spirit will be renewed and love of nature awakened once again.
    Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom.
    Meals: Breakfast, dinner.
  8. Fly Out
    After breakfast we get an early morning start and load our luggage and checkout of our accommodation. Your driver/guide will drive us to meet up with the airport shuttle back to Sandspit. Check in at the Sandspit Airport and fly back to Vancouver, B.C.
    Meals: Breakfast.

 

NOTE: Even during the summer, the weather in Haida Gwaii is changeable. Consequently, the itinerary may be altered to accommodate floatplane and boat tour departures. If for any reason a floatplane or boat tour is cancelled due to inclement weather we will endeavor to re-organize the tour to accommodate the change. Failing this, funds be refunded for floatplane and boat tours that are cancelled.