Immerse yourself in the spectacular wilderness of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) while exploring their fascinating First Nations history on this 10-day kayaking adventure. Slowly paddle through the marine species-rich waters, soak up the breathtaking views and indigenous heritage sites, and spend the evenings relaxing around the campfire at wild base camps.
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Arrive into the tiny community of Sandspit on British Columbia’s Moresby Island and check in with Moresby Explorers to confirm your tour departure the following day. After you’ve settled into the hotel of your choice (not included in trip price), the rest of the day is free to explore the town at your leisure. Sandspit is the only town on the island and the gateway to Gwaii Haanas, with picturesque views and a scattering of artisan stores to browse.
Moresby Island and Introduction to Sea Kayaking
We’ll begin the day bright and early, with your guides from Moresby Explorers picking you up and transporting the group to Cumshuwa Inlet. It’s here that the real adventure begins with a 2 1/2 hour zodiac cruise along the scenic coastline of Moresby Island towards your first campsite in Swan Islands’ Skincuttle Inlet.
After settling into the camp, your guides will give an introductory briefing, touching on paddling techniques and safety measures which you can test out in the calm waters of Swan Bay.
Paddle Burnaby Narrows
After a restful night’s sleep in the wilderness and a hearty breakfast, we’ll launch the kayaks and paddle towards the southern tip of Burnaby Island. Soak up the breathtaking views of Yatza Mountain as you venture into the Burnaby Narrows to explore the colorful marine life in its shallow waters, including more than 300 different marine invertebrates.
Then slowly return to your campsite in the Swan Islands for a relaxing evening around the campfire and dinner prepared by your guides.
Explore Skincuttle Inlet and Copper Islands Ecological Reserve
Wake with the sunrise for an early breakfast, before packing up the kayaks and heading across the waters of Skincuttle Inlet. Today you’ll paddle past the ancient Haida village of Hagi on Bolkus Island and witness the Copper Islands Ecological Reserve. It was here that the Jedway copper mine operated in the early 20th century and was put back into use during the 1960s, although today it lies abandoned as part of the region's human history.
In the afternoon we will arrive at our campsite for the night, just to the south of Deluge Point, and settle in for the evening.
Collison Bay and Bird Watching at Rankine Island
We’ll continue heading south today as we cross Collison Bay and paddle past the Rankine Island Ecological Reserve. Collison Bay was one of the first European settlements to be established in the territory of the Haida people and artifacts detailing the human history of this area are still being discovered in its intertidal zone.
Rankine Island provides an important refuge for breeding colonies of ancient murrelets, Cassin’s auklets, fork-tailed storm petrels and Leach’s storm petrels, together with being a nesting site for a number of other seabirds. After birdwatching along its shores, we'll head to our campsite for the evening near the historic site of the old village of Kaidju.
Paddle Hecate Strait and Ross Island
Today we will kayak through the Hecate Strait around Kunghit Island on our way to our campsite on Ross Island. We will be traveling through the territory of Ninstints (or "Nan Sdins") who was the last and most powerful chief of the Kunghit Haida and ruled these lands during the mid-19th century.
Explore the Rich History of Gwaii Haanas National Park
This morning we will kayak west through the Houston Steward Channel and slowly paddle towards our camp for the evening at Louscoone Point. It’s here that you will have your first glimpse of Anthony Island which is home to the ruins of Skun Gwaii and the famed totem poles of Ninstints. It forms part of the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site which was designated by the Haida Nation in 1985 to prevent logging in the region.
Tour Skun Gwaii
Today we will paddle past Adam Rocks and land on the west side of Anthony Island to explore the ancient site of Ninstints. Guided by local caretakers, you’ll have plenty of time to wander this ancient site which was abandoned in the late 19th century by the people of Kunghit Haida. The name of the village, Skun Gwaii, comes from the wailing sound made when the wind passes through the rocks here and if the tide is right, you might bear witness to this natural phenomenon.
After your visit, we’ll paddle back to our camp at Ross Island for a relaxing evening around the campfire.
Return to Moresby Island
After a relaxing breakfast and morning at camp, it’s time to pack up your belongings for the return trip to Moresby Island. Moresby Explorers will pick you up from Ross Island and ferry you back to Sandspit where you will arrive in the late afternoon. Along the way, soak up your final views of this magnificent wilderness area and stop to indulge in a natural spa in the pools of Hot Springs Islands.
We recommend you spend the night at a B&B in Sandspit (not included in the tour price) before flying out the following day.
It’s time to depart Sandspit, so make your way to the airport for your return flight home.
Dates & Rates
- Full service of our Adventure Consultants
- All transportation while on tour
- All meals and beverages while on tour
- All necessary kayaking and camping equipment
- Professional, certified guides
- $120 USD Gwaii Haanas National Park user fee
- Items of a personal nature
- 5% Canadian GST
All PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
FAQ & More
Professional guides with experience in the area Transportation in and out of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve Expedition kayaks, tents, PFD’s (life jackets) and safety equipment (including satellite phone) All camp meals prepared by your guides Group camping equipment Comprehensive library
Airfares, accommodation in Sandspit, taxes, insurance of any kind, Dry Bags, Sleeping gear (sleeping bag, pillows, sleep pads), gratuities, town meals and beverages or items of a personal nature.
Only tandems are used on the Haida Gwaii trip.
Guests will typically paddle 4-5 hours per day on this itinerary. This is broken up between floating rests, lunch, hiking and other specific activities each day.
The farthest distance you will paddle in one day for this itinerary is about 10 km.
Yes with extended advance warning. The store in Sandspit is very small so not much “specialty” food is available. A late booking might be asked to bring some key food items.
The maximum number of guests on the Haida Gwaii trips is 10 people- this is set by Parks Canada