Cruise the islands of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) on this sailing tour off the coast of British Columbia. These islands offers an unparalleled natural history experience and this voyage aboard this sailing ketch will allow you to explore first hand the beauty of the Gwaii Haanas area. Haida Gwaii is an outstanding wilderness area, preserving large stands of 'old-growth' rainforest, natural hotsprings, and nesting sites for thousands of birds such as puffins, bald eagles, auklets and peregrine falcons. Called the 'Canadian Galapagos', the islands are isolated 60 miles off the coast and have developed unique plants and animals. The southern islands and their incredible diversity of life are now protected and jointly managed by the Haida Nation and Federal Parks Service.
The Haida name for the islands, Gwaii Haanas, translates as 'place of wonder'. During this voyage you will visit old Haida villages. There are more original standing totem poles remaining here than anywhere else on the coast. The feeling and magic of seeing the totem poles still in the old village site is incredible-completely different than in a museum. You will have the unique opportunity to meet Haida elders during the trip and learn about Haida culture and modern Haida life. The islands are located at the edge of the continental shelf, and the surrounding waters are rich with nutrients and life. It is a wonderful area to discover different species of whales, porpoise, and sea lion breeding rookeries.
Aboard the 68' sailing vessel, you will cruise the waters of this remote archipelago seeing ancient Haida villages, an incredible abundance of wildlife and outstanding wilderness scenery. The trips primarily explore the eastern and southern shores which lie within the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site.
Blue, sperm, minke, sei, gray, fin, humpback and killer whales (orca) all historically frequented these waters. Local whaling severely effected these populations in the 1900's. Now humpback and fin whale populations are rebounding; we will often encounter these fascinating creatures. In early summer, several thousand Steller sea lions also congregate at Cape St. James - at the southern tip of Haida Gwaii - to mate and give birth to their pups. It is quite a marvelous sight! You may also spot a few Queen Charlotte Islands black bears, the largest black bears in the world.