Haida Gwaii Kayak Tours

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Haida Gwaii

Kayaking in the Haida Gwaii in Haida Gwaii, formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is a spectacular experience. The jewel of the islands, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site, provides the adventurous kayaker with stunning scenery, remote wilderness, fantastic wildlife, and the opportunity to visit important Haida cultural sites.



Off British Columbia's north coast lies an archipelago often referred to as "Canada's Galapagos": the Queen Charlotte Islands, or Haida Gwaii (Islands of the People). The archipelago comprises some 154 islands, which lie 80 kilometers off the BC coast and about 50 kilometers from the southern tip of Alaska. The Islands have been inhabited continually for 10,000 years and are the traditional home of the Haida nation, recognized as the prime culture at the time of the arrival of the Europeans. The arts of the Haida people - notably their totem poles and carvings in argillate (a black glass-like aggregate) are world famous. The Haida were fearsome warriors who dominated the west coast.

For those that choose to take any of the our three trips in the Queen Charlotte Islands, remoteness, coupled with the lure of this pristine land and aboriginal culture, combine to make this a kayaker's wilderness paradise. Our sea kayaking tours of Gwaii Haanas National Park and Haida Heritage Site paddle by some of the most spectacular terrain on the island: from the waters of Hecate Strait, to the open Pacific and then through areas of extraordinary biodiversity and cultural significance.

The areas we kayak range from the long house remains of T'aanuu Linagaay in the north to the gloriously colourful inter-tidal display at Burnaby Narrows in the center of the park. Combined with Kunghit Island and Anthony Island in the south, you will see witness some of the most extraordinary scenery and archaeological sites in the world. As well, each trip visits different Haida Heritage sites including T’aanuu Linagaay, Hotspring Island and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay Linagaay village on Anthony Island (Ninstints)

The three tours described above all operate in the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site:

Trip 1: Ultimate Gwaii Haanaste. At 15 days, this trip is our longest offering, and provides visitors to Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site with the opportunity to truly explore almost the entire protected area. This experience starts near the northern boundary of Gwaii Haanas, and culminates near the south end after a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay (Anthony Island, Ninstints). It includes all the highlights found in the other trips, including visits to T’aanuu Llnagaay (Tanu) and Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay) and Gandll K’in Gwaayaay (Hot Spring Island).

Given the length of the trip, it also offers the best opportunities to view wildlife as the longer you are in the field, the better your chances. Humpback whales, Steller sea lions, bald eagles, and black bears are all prolific in this area.

Gwaii Haanas is a wildlife viewer’s dream. There are 750,000 seabirds nesting in Gwaii Haanas, more bald eagle nests per kilometre of shoreline than anywhere else in Canada, and the highest breeding density of Peregrine falcons in the world. One third of British Columbia’s Steller sea lion population calls Haida Gwaii home and humpback whales may be seen throughout the area. Burnaby Narrows has some of the highest levels of living material of any intertidal zone in the world.

Trip 2: The Northern Gwaii Hannas Explorer kayak tour. 8 days. This trip 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. 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. Near the end of our journey, we kayak the waters surrounding Burnaby Island which are extremely rich in colourful intertidal life. Burnaby Narrows has some of the highest levels of living material of any intertidal zone in the world. Floating through the narrows in our kayaks at low tide is a remarkable experience. 


Trip 3: The Southern Gwaii Haanas Explorer kayak tour. 8 days. This tour travels between Burnaby Island and Ninstints toward the southern end of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site. Our route along this rugged coastline offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, remarkable scenery, wonderful campsite locations, and culminates with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ninstints (SGang Gwaay Linagaay) with its long house remains and carved memorial and mortuary poles. As we head south we are on the lookout for whales. Humpback whales are often seen feeding in Skincuttle Inlet and around many of the headlands we pass. Both harbour seals and Steller sea lions haul out on the many rocky islets, always weary of an ambush from transient (marine mammal-eating) killer whales. Along the beaches deer and black bears are a common sight.

Weather permitting we move to a new campsite each day. We may choose to camp on pebble beaches, moss-carpeted forest, or small offshore islands. Many of our favourite campsites are surrounded by lush old growth rainforest and have nearby streams allowing for freshwater bathing.

Near the end of our journey we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ninstints (SGang Gwaay Linagaay), home to over two dozen mortuary and memorial poles and the remains of cedar long houses. The waters surrounding Anthony Island are home to a wide variety of sea birds, such as rhinoceros auklets, pigeon guillemots, and tufted and horned puffins, plus many more species are often seen.

With all that Gwaii Hanaas has to offer, it is understandable why many of our guests consider Trip 3 to be the best trip of their lives and why National Geographic rated Gwaii Haanas the #1 wilderness park destination in North America.



North America: 1.800.255.5057 - UK: 0.800.051.6364 - Australia: 1.800.143.454

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From Our Blog

Getting Busy

Saturday, February 16 2019

Here in Victoria the snow is dissipating which we hope is a sign that spring is around the corner. While many others remain locked in winter's grasp, most everyone (except for the die-hard skiers) are thinking of warmer weather. And from my corner of the world, this translates to kayak vacations. In particular, our trips to Haida Gwaii, Johnstone Strait and Broken Group are gathering speed, with a number of departures sold out and some others having one or two seats remaining. Please use our search engine to select a date and trip - if the departure you want is booked please let me know.  If the demand is there, I might be able to put on another departure. 

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