British Columbia's

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve

Skungwaii - Red Cod Island



The southern isles of the Queen Charlottes abound in colourful marine and bird life, and are endowed with ancient forests and a rich Haida cultural legacy.

When long days of sunlight induce great plankton blooms, a reaction triggers down the food chain, leading to a feeding frenzy which begins with huge schools of herring and other fish that gather to feast on the plankton. This, in turn, attracts migrating and resident whales and a high concentration of bald eagles. Bears forage along the shoreline.

The itinerary listed below is subject to change due to weather and tide conditions, and the specific interests of you and your shipmates.

8 days: C $2895 or US $2495
Day 1: Arrive Sandspit on afternoon flight, transfer to Copper Sky at Queen Charlotte City
Day 2 - 7 cruise Gwaii Haanas wilderness
Day 7, we arrive at our last anchorage in the early evening.
Day 8: disembark after breakfast for transfer to Sandspit airport.

9 days: $2895 for cruise.
Optional unguided extra day costs about C $160 - $200 per person.

Day 1: Arrive Sandspit on afternoon flight, transfer to B & B; visit Haida Museum in Skidegate; Haida dinner at Roberta Olson's.

Day 2 - Transfer to Copper Sky, begin cruise of Gwaii Haanas, Day 7 arrive at our last anchorage in the early evening.
Day 8, disembark for transfer to airport.

A typical itinerary will take us to the 'can't miss' places such as the principal villages, and Burnaby Narrows. But our voyages are also explorations of this vast area, and we always look for, and often find on each trip, at least one or another remarkable new place of wonder, where humans may not have tread for over a hundred years.

 

We cast off early for Skedans, a long abandoned village highlighted by colourful wildflowers, with deer browsing in knee deep grasses, and lush mosses slowly engulfing the remaining totems.  In the herring-rich waters beyond Skedans we go to view and photograph a sea lion haul-out before anchoring for the evening in a peaceful cove.

Next morning, we keep a lookout for swift peregrine falcons nesting on the sea cliffs in this area, before reaching our next destination, the Haida village Tanu (or "Seagrass Town"), a favourite of renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr. It features low, lush mosses engulfing the remains of a silent, deserted village, and a small graveyard, where artist Bill Reid was laid to rest.

A sprinkling of islands with seal rookeries known as the Tar Islets dot the way from Windy Bay into the biologically rich Juan Perez Sound, which incorporates a dozen scenic inlets and islets. We anchor off one called Hot Springs Island, for a wonderful soak in the steaming natural waters. Our exploration of the Sound can occupy several days of our itinerary, with plenty of time alloted to viewing and photographing the large resident eagle population, playful escorts of porpoises, and the stunning scenery. The area also offers us excellent fishing, swimming, and snorkelling.

Each evening's unique anchorage will take us closer to Burnaby Narrows which features an incredibly rich display of intertidal life. During low tides, we go into the Narrows and examine the myriad of diversity found at our feet with the help of glass viewing buckets. Nearby Island Bay, another fine anchorage, is where we often disembark again and hike to lush alpine meadows and Bonsai bogs.

At Houston-Stewart Channel, we leave the east coast of the Islands, passing the old whaling station site at Rose Harbor. Our next stop is Skungwaii. Formerly known as Anthony Island, it has been designated as a U.N. Heritage Site for its outstanding array of Haida totems at the long abandoned village of Ninstints. On one of our trips to Ninstints, the diminutive deer of these islands grazed in our midst, adding to the special aura of spiritual ambience of this peaceful site. Like many of our previous guests, you will likely leave Ninstints feeling humbled by its powerful past.

Our return voyage takes the inside passage into beautiful Darwin Sound, with its steep-sided mountains and scenic anchorages. Named in honor of Charles Darwin, this area has some of the highest concentrations of bald eagles in North America.

We usually travel about 4 hours each day, broken up by shore excursions with our inflatable zodiac boats two or three times a day. This wilderness area provides us with many options for safe and scenic anchorages that we rarely have to share with other vessels.
cruise
These islands truly are a place of wonder, and for those fortunate enough to see it for themselves, an unforgettable experience.

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Canadian Nature Cruises in British Columbia, nature tours and cruises in British Columbia, Canada.