One Place You Must Visit in Your Lifetime
Chosen as one of National Geographic‘s 20 Best Trips 2015, the serenity and cultural richness of Haida Gwaii make it a place like no other. There are ports on the east side of the islands and many protected anchorages on the west side, where you are likely to have all of that mystical silence to yourself, except for the creatures that live here.
One of the World’s Great Nature Preserves
Narrow passages, deep inlets and over 250 islands create an intimate sailing experience. Sail to Port Clements deep in the interior of Graham Island. It is easy to spend weeks here cruising uninhabited coasts and tiny islands. Go ashore to be dwarfed under giant cedars and Sitka spruce, moss hanging from their 1000 year-old crowns. If you want to be alone with the forests, beaches and whales, this is the place to go. Find your cove.
Together, the Government of Canada and the Council of the Haida Nation manage the ocean and lands of Gwaii Haanas. The name means “Islands of Beauty” in the Haida language. In the Haida worldview, everything is connected to everything else. Yahguudang is the Haida word that encompasses the idea of “Respect for all living things.” The Haida Gwaii Watchmen are keepers of important cultural sites including the standing poles at SGang Gwaay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let the Watchman teach you about the complex society, oral histories and artistic expressions of the Haida.
The farthest flung fishing location on our coast but well worth the travel and the first point of land that ocean bright salmon will encounter on their return journey back to natal streams all along our coast. Upwelling from the deep ocean attract halibut and all species of bottom fish. Wind and wave bashed shorelines face kelp lined points and provide a sense of the jagged and varied structure beneath the surface. Simply put, Haida Gwaii rewards those who make the trip. Marine life of all kinds is abundance and the activity near shore is spectacular.
Plan Your Adventure
Visit the heartbeat of the Haida culture in Old Massett and Skidegate. Meet world-renowned Haida artists and book a land tour to include cultural sites or visit the award winning Haida Heritage Centre and Museum. You will find hospitality and services in Queen Charlotte City, Skidgate, Port Clements, Masset, Old Masset and Sand Spit. There are marinas in Queen Charlotte City, Masset, Sand Spit and Port Clements.
Getting to Haida Gwaii from the north end of Vancouver Island requires sailing across open seas. You can sneak up the coastline archipelagos and cross the more confined Hecate Strait. The west side of Haida Gwaii is exposed to the full Pacific Ocean. Only seasoned skippers should make this trip. Perhaps the best way to explore this region is via an Adventure Tour Charter. A charter will introduce you to the ecology, inhabitants and the navigational challenges of very remote places.
You will want to be a steward of this pristine land. We invite you to acquaint yourself with the fishing regulations for the region and the Marine Stewardship Ethics which should be especially observed here. This is the land of the Haida. You may wish to consult the Travel in First Nations Traditional Territories page.
Main image at top of page: Kagan Bay, credit Mary Lou Von Niessen