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 to 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 from coast to coast 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.