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Gwaii Haanas National Park
and Haida Heritage Site

Islands at the Edge

June  August 2017  •  7-days / 7-nights  •  6 guests  •  $5,695 CAD
May  August 2018  •  9-days / 8-nights  •  6 guests  •  $5,995 CAD

In a country teeming with spectacular wilderness areas, Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) stands alone. This remote island archipelago offers unmatched wildlife viewing paired with an indigenous cultural heritage dating back more than 14,000 years.

Our Gwaii Haanas  Islands at the Edge expedition explores the remote island archipelago of Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. Situated approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the northwest coast of British Columbia and often described as “the Canadian Galapagos,” this is truly a unique world. Giant, moss-laden trees tower above ancient villages, and the abundant marine life includes puffins, albatrosses, sunfish, jellyfish, killer whales, and humpback whales.

Through sailing, shore excursions, inflatable boat tours, and kayaks, we’ll explore Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area, and Haida Heritage Site, collectively referred to as Gwaii Haanas. We’ll enjoy spectacular wildlife viewing and learn about the deep cultural history of the Haida people from the Haida Watchmen who safeguard the most significant archaeological sites, including the haunting mortuary poles and longhouse remains of the ancient village of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

With large distances and so much to see, we’re pleased to operate this expedition as a one-way itinerary that allows for less travel time and a more immersive experience. In 2017, this means that every expedition begins and ends with a breathtaking float plane flight over Gwaii Haanas. We hope you’ll join us!

We just returned from the expedition through Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve with Outer Shores Expeditions. We were overwhelmed by the beauty of the area, the wildlife we saw, and the historic Haida culture we were exposed to. That would have been enough, but the knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm from Russ, Joel, and Cate was infectious. This expedition rates a 27 on a scale of 1 to 10. This expedition, and I’m sure all of their others, are not to be missed. We look forward to the next one.

– Jonathan and Ellen, British Columbia, CANADA

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Highlights

Haida villages, poles, house remains, stone fish traps, and clam gardens

Diverse wildlife, including humpback, fin, and killer whales, black bears, puffins, albatrosses, and ocean sunfish

Interpretive explorations of islands, beaches, forests, and estuaries led by our expedition specialists

Itinerary Overview

Days 13: Queen Charlotte, Keenawai’s Kitchen, Haida Heritage Centre, Ancient Haida Villages

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 favourite, and the best coffee on 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.

Days 46: Wildlife viewing, Sailing, Burnaby Narrows, Cape St. James

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 snorkelling gear and check out giant predatory sunflower stars, multicoloured bat stars, massive moon snails, decorator crabs, and nudibranchs (sea slugs). Our southward journey continues to Kunghit Island, 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.

Days 7–9:  SGang Gwaay, Totem Poles, Sea Kayaking, Queen Charlotte 

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.

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Departs From/ Returns To

Queen Charlotte City, BC

Cruise Distances

150 nautical miles (~275 km), or 25 nm (~46 km)/day

Duration

9 days / 8 nights

Physical Requirements

Moderate

2017 Expedition Dates and Availability

June  August 2017  •  7-days / 7-nights  •  6 guests  •  $5,695 CAD

Date

June 9-16

Price

$6,175 CAD

Available

Departed

Starts/Ends

Sandspit

Notes

Photo Tour

Date

June 16-23

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

Departed

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Southbound

Date

June 23-30

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

Departed

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Southbound

Date

June 30-July 7

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

Departed

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Northbound

Date

July 7-14

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

Departed

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Southbound

Date

July 14-21

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

SOLD OUT

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Northbound

Date

July 21-28

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

SOLD OUT

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Southbound

Date

July 28-Aug 4

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

SOLD OUT

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Northbound

Date

Aug 4-11

Price

$5,695 CAD 

Available

SOLD OUT

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/QCC

Notes

Southbound

NOTES ON PRICING
Our prices are based on double occupancy, quoted in Canadian dollars, and subject to 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). All payments must be made in Canadian dollars, by cheque or credit card. All prices are subject to change without notice/

2018 Expedition Dates and Availability

May  August 2018  •  9-days / 8-nights  •  6 guests  •  $5,995 CAD

Date

May 24-June 1

Price

$5,995

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

June 1 – 9

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

June 9 – 17

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces
1 Waitlist

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Date

June 17 – 25

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

June 25-July 3

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

July 3 – 11

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

July 12 – 20

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

July 20 – 28

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

July 28-Aug 5

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

4 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

Aug 5 – 13

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

6 Spaces

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

Date

Aug 13 – 21

Price

$5,995 CAD 

Available

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Queen Charlotte

Notes

NOTES ON PRICING
Our prices are based on double occupancy, quoted in Canadian dollars, and subject to 5% Federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). All payments must be made in Canadian dollars, by cheque or credit card. All prices are subject to change without notice/

Check out what our guests have to say about this expedition!

“Thanks so much for the wonderful journey aboard Passing Cloud, a fantastic ship, an excellent Captain and Crew, spectacular wildlife sightings, the ancient feel of the village sites. I had been wanting to visit SGang Gwaay for about 20 years and it was very satisfying to finally have the chance to do so, and to imagine what it was like in the distant past as a living community.”

— Theresa, ON, CANADA

“As a Nova Scotian, having the opportunity to take the helm of a classic Roué schooner under full sail was an experience I will remember forever. Our passage on Passing Cloud was exceptional in all respects – the natural environment, history, culture, and most importantly the people who we shared this experience with.”

— Jim, NS, CANADA

“During one of the glorious days at sea, I was listening to 10 humpback whales, 2 fin whales, the wind on the land, and waves lapping against Passing Cloud. I suddenly realized I heard Haida Gwaii calling me. We arrived as guests but we leave as friends. Who could ask for more?”

— Rick, ON, CANADA

“I couldn’t stop saying WOW and each WOW was bigger than the last. You really know where to take guests to see absolutely stunning wildlife. Still wondering what you paid that humpback whale to do that performance. The sea lions, puffins, the sandhill crane, eagles, bears, the list goes one. After these wonderful experiences we were every day and every moment treated like Royalty. The Captain and Crew are outstanding.”

— Charles, BC, CANADA

“Many, many thanks for a very special week on a fantastic boat with the best crew ever! All the best and for sure we’ll meet again.”

— Herman, Matthew and Robert, NETHERLANDS

“Awesome! Overwhelming! Will be ‘processing’ the experience for many days, months! A privilege to see accomplished seamen at work, the transition of ancient Haida culture to the new generation, and the majestic scenery and wildlife.”

— Ian and Joyce, ON, CANADA

“The Pacific Northwest is home for us and learning about and experiencing the richness of the history of Haida Gwaii is truly a remarkable thing. The experience on Passing Cloud was an extension of the welcoming spirit we felt on Haida Gwaii. It pervades the environment and makes our time here that much more special. I feel like I’ve just barely tapped the surface of the richness of the land, the sea, the people, and the culture. An adventure that exceeded our expectations!”

— Mac and Penny, WA, USA

“Thank you so much for an amazing trip! Your attention to detail and fantastic personalities made this adventure the trip of a lifetime!”

— John, BC, CANADA

“What a gift this has been. Beyond expectations, impossible to do justice to in words. You’ve created an amazing experience that we’ll all cherish for the rest of our lives. A thousand “Howas!”

— Susan, BC, CANADA

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