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.
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.
Meals and Water
We provide all meals throughout the trip made with locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. In keeping with our roots in communal cooking - everyone will be assigned a day to star as the "group chef" and help prepare lunch/dinner with the recipes and ingredients that we provide. This is a fun way to share in the most essential and ritualistic activity on such an expedition, especially given that we are all gathered around the fire in the evenings anyways. 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).
We pick you up in Sandspit 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 in Sandspit on the final day via the same process but in reverse.
We have a block of rooms set aside at a hotel in Sandspit for our guests, to keep logistics simple. We will review your needs at the time of booking.
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.
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.
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.
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.