Sailing Tour

Sailing through Haida Gwaii & Gwaii Haanas National Park | CA-OS902

Explore one of the most spectacular places on the planet aboard a 70' schooner

Overview

Explore one of the most spectacular places on the planet aboard a 70' schooner and learn about the local Haida culture on this sailing tour. Haida Gwaii (“Islands of the People” in the Haida language) is a remote island archipelago located 70 km off the northwest coast of British Columbia.

Tour Highlights

  • Haida Gwaii Archipelago
  • Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
  • Haida Heritage Site
  • National Marine Conservation Area
  • SGang Gwaay Llnagaay
  • K’uuna Llagaay (Skedans)

This is a world where giant moss-laden spruce and cedar trees tower over enchanted salmon streams, and productive kelp forests and colorful intertidal communities fringe the interface between land and sea. The unparalleled diversity of marine life includes everything from puffins to albatrosses, sunfish to jellyfish, and killer whales to blue whales. Enmeshed in this rich ecological tapestry are more than 10,000 years of the cultural heritage of the indigenous Haida Nation, renowned for their prosperity, artistry, and seamanship.

This 9-day expedition is dedicated to exploring and learning about the ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural heritage of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida Heritage Site, and National Marine Conservation Area. You will visit ancient Haida villages and learn about their histories and people from the Haida Watchmen who protect them. Most famous is SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, abandoned in the late 19th century and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Here, a collection of haunting mortuary poles and the wooden house remains to stand testament to the traditional ways of the Haida Nation.

Meeting point: This tour departs from Queen Charlotte City, on Graham Island in British Columbia.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Available May - Aug
Duration 9 days
Departs From Graham Island, BC
Difficulty Level Easy / Moderate
Group maximum 6
Minimum age No limit
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No

From

6 495 CAD

Per Adult

  • Best Price Guarantee
  • Toll Free number in N. America: +1 888 285 1676
  • International number: +1 780 414 1676

Availability (2020): June - July
Based on double occupancy

  • June 01-09
  • June 09-17
  • July 13-21
  • July 21-29

Loading

What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.

Included

  • Use of all onboard gear and resources
  • Rubber boots
  • User fees
  • Land tour including the Haida Heritage Center, floatplane flight over Gwaii Haanas
  • Accommodation
  • All meals aboard the ship are included

Suggested Clothing

  • Clothing to suit a variety of coastal weather
  • Warm jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Hiking boots
  • Fleece or wool sweaters
  • A full packing list will be provided upon booking

Suggested Items

  • Camera
  • Daypack
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • A full packing list will be provided upon booking

Contact us for more Information about this tour

TOLL FREE NUMBER IN N. AMERICA: +1 888 285 1676
INTERNATIONAL NUMBER: +1 780 414 1676

You can also send an email to info@adventures.com, or use the contact form here below.

Itinerary

Find out more details about the tour and its highlights

Information

During frequent shore excursions and zodiac tours, you’ll explore old-growth forests, estuaries, white-sand beaches, rocky shores, and all the ecological treasures they hold for us. As you sail the schooner through the inlets, fiords, and passages of this island archipelago we’ll encounter the myriad populations of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and seabirds that inhabit these waters.

Guide information: Your crew is a team of enthusiastic, fun and exceptional individuals who work both onboard and behind the scenes to provide the best possible experiences and care for the guests. As professional guides, mariners, marine ecologists, and fisheries biologists, marine mammal experts, archaeologists and anthropologists, photographers, and avid naturalists, your crew will give you behind-the-scenes insights into the natural wonders and cultural intrigue of the BC Coast and take great care of you along the way.

Transportation: Trips begin in Sandspit and end in Queen Charlotte City, BC. Sandspit is accessible by air from Vancouver.

Weather: Summer weather along the north coast of BC can range from warm and sunny to rainy, windy or foggy. Prepare for all types of weather.

Our Gwaii Haanas adventure begins when you arrive in Sandspit. We will arrange your shuttle to Queen Charlotte where you will settle into your accommodation on land, before our traditional Haida dinner at Keenawai’s Kitchen. The next morning, we’ll enjoy breakfast at Jag’s Bistro – a local favorite, and the best coffee on the island – before heading to the Haida Heritage Centre at Kay Llnagaay. Our tour of this award-winning institution is the perfect primer for our journey through Gwaii Haanas. We’ll also receive our Parks Canada visitor orientation here, mandatory for all visitors to this globally unique protected area. After lunch at the Kaay Bistro, we’ll travel the short distance to Queen Charlotte, where our floatplane is waiting to fly us to our expedition vessel, the schooner Passing Cloud, located at the northern boundaries of Gwaii Haanas.

After meeting the crew, we’ll set sail for the ancient village of K’uuna Llagaay (Skedans), where we’ll have a guided tour of this ancient Haida village. The following day we’ll also visit the ancient villages of Taanuu Llnagaay (Tanu), and Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay). At Windy Bay, we’ll walk through an old-growth forest of massive cedar and spruce trees and a Haida Watchman will share with us the story of the Gwaii Haanas as told by the Legacy Pole.

As we work our way south, we hope to sail a few miles from shore into the pelagic zone. This area is the perfect place to search for marine wildlife, such as pelagic seabirds, sharks, giant ocean sunfish, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and humpback whales. Anchored in a protected bay or inlet, we’ll go ashore to explore a small river system and old-growth rainforest. We’ll examine the remnants of wooden-stake fish traps dating from more than a thousand years ago. Another highlight of Gwaii Haanas is the incredible marine biodiversity of world-famous Burnaby Narrows. Using our kayaks and inflatable skiff, we’ll follow one of our crew in snorkeling gear and check out giant predatory sunflower stars, multicolored bat stars, massive moon snails, decorator crabs, and nudibranchs (sea slugs).

Our southward journey continues to Kunghit Island, the traditional territory of the Kunghit Haida. Weather permitting, we’ll visit Cape St. James at the southernmost extremity of the Haida Gwaii archipelago. With ocean currents meeting from the east and west, this area is alive with marine life, including tufted and horned puffins, sea lions, and killer whales on the hunt for their next meal.

The jewel of Gwaii Haanas is the ancient village of SGang Gwaay, also known as Ninstints. This village was inhabited until approximately 1880, and in 1981 was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its globally significant cultural heritage. Here we’ll see the remains of massive long houses, and a stunning grove of standing mortuary and memorial poles. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of the village with Haida Watchmen and learn about the traditional Haida way of life and social systems. Later that same day, we’ll explore the beaches, tide pools, and spectacular vistas of the Gordon Islands before sailing to our overnight anchorage.

On our final day, we’ll enjoy a morning of sea kayaking, beach walking, or standing amongst ancient spruce and cedar trees, and have time to reflect on all that we’ve experienced and learned over the past week. After lunch, you’ll enjoy another breathtakingly beautiful scenic flight back to Queen Charlotte, where our journey officially comes to an end.

Accommodations are aboard a 70' schooner designed by William James Roué, famous for designing the legendary schooner Bluenose. Built in Victoria, BC, in 1974, this vessel has a rich history on the BC coast, renowned for her elegant design, exceptional accommodation, robust construction, and remarkable sailing abilities.

The ship is a Transport Canada certified passenger vessel and meets the highest standards of safety and construction. She is fully equipped with modern safety and navigation equipment including radar, GPS, VHF radios, EPIRB, and digital chart plotter and satellite telephone. Among her many features are four private staterooms, gorgeous main salon, traditional wheelhouse, generous deck space, and exceptional sailing abilities.

The main salon is her centerpiece below deck. Two large settees provide spacious seating for reading or socializing around her luxurious dining table. The surrounding shelves are the home to the extensive cultural and natural history, marine science, and maritime libraries. Finally, a cast iron oil-burning heater radiates an embracing warmth throughout the entire vessel.

Guest accommodation is in four private staterooms. The three forward staterooms each have two spacious single berths complete with fluffy duvets and wool blankets, a private vanity with sink, mirror, and hot and cold running water, a skylight or deck prism, brass reading lamps, and drawers and a hanging locker for personal effects. The aft stateroom is accessed from the wheelhouse and boasts a large skylight, two double berths, private vanity with hot and cold water, and a small head (marine toilet). The spacious head and shower are accessed from the main salon.

All meals aboard the ship are included. The food philosophy holds that the cultivation, distribution, preparation, and appreciation of the food you eat are critical to your individual and cultural well-being. Whenever possible, your host's source and serve foods that are sustainably, locally, and organically grown, produced, raised, or caught in BC.

They provide a diversity of foods prepared by culinary experts, ranging from homemade granola, to fresh greens, to sustainably caught wild salmon and halibut, while accommodating guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions. The chefs and crew take great pride in preparing and serving guests delicious meals that are healthy, plentiful, and beautiful, and immersed in the ecosystems and cultural traditions of coastal BC.

A $300/person floatplane surcharge will be added to all Gwaii Haanas expeditions for our fly-in/fly-out scenic De Havilland Beaver floatplane portion of the expedition.

Philosophy & Environmental Practices

These small-ship expeditions provide extraordinary and intimate opportunities for being immersed in the ancient cultures and stunning wildlife of Canada’s Pacific Coast. Your hosts have a mission of contributing to the conservation and well-being of the ecosystems, cultures, and communities of coastal British Columbia. They believe that helping guests experience first-hand and understand some of the most spectacular wildlife and ecosystems on the planet is key to their protection and preservation.

At the heart of this business is a desire to reduce the footprint on the planet. As such, your hosts integrate responsible ecotourism practices into the daily activities. The source and serve foods that are locally and sustainably grown, produced, raised or caught. They design itineraries that allow you to spend more time sailing in order to reduce fuel consumption. The onboard recycling and composting programs help to divert waste from landfills. The promotional materials and transactions are mainly done over the Internet, and when necessary they use 100% recycled post-consumer paper, saving trees, water, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy.

In each of the communities and cultures they visit, they partner with local people. They have protocol agreements with First Nations whose territories you visit and hire local guides and businesses. They partner with parks, conservation areas, and governments and obtain permits for all limited-use areas they visit.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
  • A $1000.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 120 days before trip commencement.

 

CANCELLATION POLICY & DETAILS

Cancellation greater than 120 days prior to departure: Payment refundable less cancellation fee.

Cancellation less than 120 days prior to departure: Payment NON-REFUNDABLE (unless replacement found, see below).

Cancellation fee: $300 CAD/person.
If you cancel fewer than 120 days prior to the trip, then only if we succeed in filling your space on the trip and in so doing you are replaced with another Passenger that is in all respects as advantageous to us as the canceling Passenger, shall the Deposit and Fare be repaid. If the Passenger needs to cancel their trip within 120 days of the departure date, the fare can be transferred to another person, or onto another trip. We highly recommend that you purchase cancellation insurance, which must be purchased through a travel agency at the time of booking.