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This trip focuses on reaching the UNESCO World Heritage Site, SGang Gwaay, located on a remote island that acted as a natural fortress to this formerly prominent Haida village. There now remain more than 15 beautifully carved poles, and several house pits, which continue to inspire awe in all those who witness them just as they did hundreds of years ago. Our chosen path to and from SGang Gwaay will be dictated by the weather and tidal conditions that nature provides during the trip. We hope to visit many secluded bays and inlets where black bears ramble the beaches for intertidal snacks, and eagles perch atop ancient trees just beyond. Ideal, yet untrammelled or developed, camp locations can be found throughout southern Gwaii Haanas making this region a world class paddling destination. Opportunity to view a wide range of sea birds and marine mammals that frequent the Pacific North West. Start/End Point – Raspberry Cove, Gwaii Haanas, or proximate locations within Houston Stewart Channel. We return to the same general area as we begin.

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Our 2018 Trip Schedule

For each expedition, imagine this. Hearty meals shared around the campfire - strangers becoming friends. Imagine stunning landscapes full of life - navigating protected inlets and exposed shorelines with the stroke of your paddle. Remember the sights, smells, and knowledge gained - and that perfect moment when the world just made sense. Our goal is simply to facilitate your connection with nature, fellow guests, and the Haida culture... that's what you can expect. 


Route 2018 Dates Price* Status
Southern Loop May 13 - 20 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Loop May 20 - 27 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Loop June 24 - July 1 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Route July 1 - 8 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Central Route July 8 - 15 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Northern Route July 15 - 22 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Northern Route July 22 - 29 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Central Route July 29 - Aug 5 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Route Aug 5 - 12 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Loop Aug 12 - 19 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Southern Route Aug 19 - 26 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Central Route Aug 26 - Sept 2 $2100 Space Available Book now!
Northern Route Sept 2 - 9 $2100 Space Available Book now!

All trips are 7 nights and 8 days, departing Queen Charlotte on day 1, and returning to Sandspit on day 8.

*Price includes all meals, guides, transportation to and from your hotels, and paddling equipment (kayak, paddle, PFD, skirt). You can bring your own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag/mat, dry bags) or rent a complete set of quality gear for an additional 300 CAD.

*Price does not include GST, travel to/from Haida Gwaii, and your accommodation before or after your trip. 


Thinking further ahead? Our 2019 Gwaii Haanas expedition schedule will be published mid-2018.

If you would like to discuss routes and opportunities in advance of then, please send us an e-mail. We'd be happy to factor your needs into our planning process. 

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This trip focuses on reaching the UNESCO World Heritage Site, SGang Gwaay, located on a remote island that acted as a natural fortress to this formerly prominent Haida village. There now remain more than 15 beautifully carved poles, and several house pits, which continue to inspire awe in all those who witness them just as they did hundreds of years ago. Our chosen path to and from SGang Gwaay will be dictated by the weather and tidal conditions that nature provides during the trip. We hope to visit many secluded bays and inlets where black bears ramble the beaches for intertidal snacks, and eagles perch atop ancient trees just beyond. Ideal, yet untrammelled or developed, camp locations can be found throughout southern Gwaii Haanas making this region a world class paddling destination. Opportunity to view a wide range of sea birds and marine mammals that frequent the Pacific North West. Start/End Point – Raspberry Cove, Gwaii Haanas, or proximate locations within Houston Stewart Channel. We return to the same general area as we begin.

 
Each day was a new paddling delight, from slow drifts through Burnaby Narrows to vigorous paddles out to SGang Gwaay. Each evening an opportunity to live lightly on the land, to practice paddling strokes and prepare marvelous meals together.
— Jackie. Gwaii Haanas Expedition.
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Where We Paddle

 

Northern Route

This route offers participants a full immersion in the cultural history of Gwaii Haanas with intended visits to 4 Haida Heritage sites: Hotspring Island, Windy Bay, Tanu, and Skedans. Soak in natural hot-springs captured in newly renovated pools previously rendered obsolete by an earthquake in 2007 -  a local construction team has done incredible work to re-establish this Heritage Site as a rejuvenating treat with beautiful vistas over Juan Perez Sound. Visit Windy Bay, a former Haida village site where the Legacy Pole was erected in 2013 to commemorate the creation of Gwaii Haanas and to honour those who protested nearby to bring the project into fruition. The moss covered village of Tanu provides an enriching peak into one of the largest historical communities of Haida people prior to the devastating impacts of colonialism in the late 1800s. This route also extends beyond the borders of Gwaii Haanas entering the K’uuna Gwaay Conservancy to visit Skedans – a Heritage Site where carved poles eroded by the elements provide yet another glimpse into the artistic prowess of the Haida people. Experience a variety of paddling conditions from exposed crossings to protected inlets, and revel in the mossy forests that we call home for the night. Excellent opportunities to view marine mammals and try your hand at fishing directly from the kayak.

Start/End Point – Hotspring Island to Skedans Bay (K'uuna Gwaay Conservancy, north of Gwaii Haanas), or proximate locations depending on the flow of the summer. The route could also be reversed if the fleet is moving Southward.


Central Route

Experience absolute solitude as we enter into the depths of Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site where few other paddlers endeavour explore. This route traverses several points and bays exposed to the Hecate Straight and then meanders inward through Skincuttle Inlet towards Burnaby Narrows – an ecological hot-spot known for it’s density and diversity of intertidal sea life which we carefully plan to examine at low tide when viewing opportunities are optimal. Enter the beautiful Island Bay where returning Risso’s Dolphins have recently established a summer feeding ground within the protected shallow waters. Our final destination is the newly renovated Hotspring Island - a Haida Heritage site which grants visitors the ultimate luxury of a warm soak and shower in natural hot-springs captured by pools newly crafted by a local construction team (the previous pools were rendered obsolete by an earthquake in 2007 that shifted the flow of hot water).  There are many excellent fishing spots throughout the expedition which often allow us to supplement the evening’s meal with some fresh protein. We recommend this Central Route for those people with a particular interest in the natural world.

Start/End Point – Carpenter Bay to Hotspring Island, or proximate locations depending on the natural flow of the summer. The route could also be reversed if the fleet is moving Southward.


SOuthern Route

We first aim for the infamous UNESCO World Heritage Site, SGang Gwaay, where intricately carved poles and sunken house pits still remain from the once prominent Haida village. This endeavour brings us to the fringe of the epic west coast of Haida Gwaii– a stunning landscape made all the more dramatic by the steep drop of the continental shelf into the Pacific Ocean, which also attracts a vast array of sea birds and marine mammals. Next we return east through Houston Stewart Channel and into the Hecate Straight, hugging the shoreline north towards our final destination of Carpenter Bay. Experience a variety of paddling conditions and vistas as we traverse Gwaii Haanas and make camp in pristine old growth forest reaching down to pebbled beaches. The precise route and timing of this expedition, as always, will depend on the weather and tidal conditions presented to us over the week. In some cases we may start in Carpenter Bay and therefore complete the route in the reverse order as described above.

Start/End Point - Raspberry Cove, Gwaii Haanas, or proximate locations within Houston Stewart Channel. We finish (or start depending on the direction of travel) in the more Northern Carpenter Bay.


Southern Loop

This trip focuses on reaching the UNESCO World Heritage Site, SGang Gwaay, located on a remote island that acted as a natural fortress to this formerly prominent Haida village. There now remain more than 15 beautifully carved poles, and several house pits, which continue to inspire awe in all those who witness them just as they did hundreds of years ago. Our chosen path to and from SGang Gwaay will be dictated by the weather and tidal conditions that nature provides during the trip. We hope to visit many secluded bays and inlets where black bears ramble the beaches for intertidal snacks, and eagles perch atop ancient trees just beyond. Ideal, yet untrammelled or developed, camp locations can be found throughout southern Gwaii Haanas making this region a world class paddling destination. Opportunity to view a wide range of sea birds and marine mammals that frequent the Pacific North West.

Start/End Point – Raspberry Cove, Gwaii Haanas, or proximate locations within Houston Stewart Channel. We return to the same general area as we begin.

 

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How Our Trips Work

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.

Skill Level

These trips are open to all levels of paddlers. We provide detailed instruction and feed-back to beginners which facilitates a quick learning curve. Experienced paddlers can seek enrichment with more advanced techniques.

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Meals and Water

We provide all meals throughout the trip made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Participants are responsible for bringing their own personal snacks which are generally consumed during brief break periods while paddling. Water is transported in approximately 10 x 10L dromedary bags (100L total) which we replenish at appropriate streams and rivers along the route and then treat against potential viruses and bacteria (that being said, the water in Gwaii Haanas is often pristine and could be consumed without treatment).

Transport

We pick you up in Queen Charlotte by van on the morning of departure, and then transfer the group into a zodiac to reach the starting point of the trip. You will be returned to your hotel of choice in Sandspit on the final day via the same process but in reverse.

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Accommodation

Participants can book their own accommodation in Queen Charlotte/Sandspit pre and post trip, or we can take care of this for you for a small additional fee.

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Expedition Kayaking 

By nature, extended kayak expeditions sometimes require rigorous exertion and participants should be in reasonable physical condition before signing up. We paddle between 2 to 5 hours per day and usually move camp on a daily basis. There are frequent rest opportunities to stretch your legs and fuel up throughout each day, but we will sometimes spend upwards of 2 hours in the kayaks at one time. We also try to incorporate rest days into the route plan where we base camp for a night or two and pause from moving camp. In our humble opinion, this form of travel affords the most organic and rewarding experience one can achieve within Gwaii Haanas made all the more vibrant by enduring the brief periods of discomfort inherit to expedition kayaking.

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Wildlife

With some luck we may observe the unique sub-species of black bear endemic to Haida Gwaii, bald eagles, otters, harbour seals, Stellar sea lions, humpback whales, gray whales, orcas, a variety of porpoises and dolphins, a vast array of seabirds, and many more animal species not previously mentioned. That being said, there are no guarantees when it comes to wildlife, and participants are encouraged to find beauty and gratitude in even the smallest wildlife encounter to achieve a fully enriching experience. Orcas don’t often jump through rainbows while eagles dance above, and even if you were to witness such a spectacle it could pail in comparison to a hummingbird briefly hovering over-head if you can open your mind to appreciate all that Gwaii Haanas has to offer. And of course, we always strive to keep a respectful distance from wildlife, allowing creatures to come our way if they choose.

Equipment

We have recently upgraded to all new Seaward fibreglass kayaks employing a mixed fleet of singles (Tyee) and doubles (Passat), which allows participants to challenge themselves paddling solo and rest in tandem. Our paddles, skirts and PFDs are also top quality to ensure a premier paddling experience. You can either bring your own camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag/mat, and dry bags) or rent quality gear from us for an additional fee.

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Gwaii Haanas

All of these routes travel within Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site, which represents a unique collaborative effort between the Canadian Federal Government and the Haida Nation to preserve this region of both considerable cultural and natural importance.

Haida Heritage Sites 

Each trip visits at least one Haida Heritage Site where participants will meet the Haida Watchmen employed to act as guardians and ambassadors to their ancestral grounds. We practice the utmost respect when visiting a Heritage Site, and remain mindful of the privilege afforded us by the Haida Nation in sharing these places with the rest of the world. We also acknowledge the trauma, pain, and loss created by colonialism throughout North America – educating ourselves as to the true history of the colonial era is just one simple step towards reconciliation that we can take while experiencing Gwaii Haanas.

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