What its like to join our Gwaii Haanas kayak expeditions
Much like the small communities of Haida Gwaii, a kayak group works best when its individual members combine their skills to attain goals and withstand adversity. In this sense, the whole is quite literally greater than the sum of its parts as we all share in camp duties and pack around items that a single person could never carry, therefore allowing for a higher standard of living for all. The strength of our groups is what allows us to push through nature’s challenges and enjoy each day to the fullest.
Sense of community, co-operation, and sharing are what bring each group together to unite strangers as friends. On our trips, guides and guests alike learn from one another creating a warm environment in which we grow and explore together.
There are a limited number of kayak tour operators leading trips in Gwaii Haanas, and they are all unique and commendable for their own reasons. We have yet to meet a guide who is not experienced, knowledgeable, and friendly, and it really is wonderful to be a part of this kayaking community. For you, the trick is to find the company whose style of touring best fits your needs and desires.
What is so special about Green Coast Kayaking's style?
We're the only kayak guiding company that doesn't offer a fully catered trip. Our guests are each responsible for planning, buying and preparing 1 meal each (usually a dinner) that will be shared with the whole group. Our experience shows that this brings people together, results in spectacular meals and allows us to reduce trip prices accordingly.
In addition to sharing the cooking process, we also encourage guests to participate in fire-building, navigation, wild food gathering, and all the other fun challenges associated with a kayak trip. These tasks are by no means a requirement, but readily available to anyone who expresses an interest.
We find that groups quickly find a groove in setting up a new campsite, and when everybody lends a hand, the whole becomes so much greater than the sum of its parts. There will always be time to quietly and individually bask in the glory of Mother Nature (we highly recommend it), but active participation in the adventure is what makes our trips unique.
Kayaking Skills Instruction and Development
While you're tripping with us, we want you to become a stronger and more competent sea kayaker. What we love about kayaking is that it is easy to learn - yet forever challenging. Every person joins our group with a different set of skills, and we make space for each person to improve both paddling techniques and skills for traveling safely as a group.
What this means is...
- We provide detailed instructions on a variety of paddling strokes and give ongoing correctional feedback.
- We listen to weather updates together as a group, helping you understand and interpret wind and weather predictions for the day.
- We explain the tides and currents and how they affect our decisions of when and where to go.
- We bring along extra charts and compasses and help anyone interested in developing their navigational skills.
- We explain any decisions we make, give the group options whenever possible, and encourage your input.
We're a small company on a small island. Our employees, partners, and suppliers are almost entirely from Haida Gwaii, and we pride ourselves in creating opportunities for local youth and adults to get out in a kayak.
Owner and guide – Bryce Klee – lives in Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii full time where he works as a paramedic and leads an after-school kayak program. We pride ourselves in giving back to the place that allows us such incredible opportunities by being active within the community and supporting local businesses as much as we can.
We travel as a mixed fleet of 6 single and 2 double kayaks allowing for a total of 8 guests and 2 guides. Everybody will have the opportunity to paddle in a single and a double regardless of skill level. The arrangement on any given day will depend on a variety of factors such as weather, distance to be covered, energy levels and personal interests. Guides also switch between singles and doubles.
There are big advantages to travelling in a mixed fleet, especially when adverse conditions arise. Doubles naturally move at a higher velocity compared to singles, which means that one or both paddlers can reduce their energy output and still keep up with the group. Even the strongest guests appreciate the ability to rest for a day or two without slowing the pace, and others might depend on it, which is fine too.