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Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve,
National Marine Conservation Area Reserve,
and Haida Heritage Site

Islands at the Edge

June  August 2020  •  9-days / 8-nights  •  6 guests  •  $6,495 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 Reserve, 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.

We look forward to welcoming you aboard!

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 1–2: Skidegate, Haida Gwaii Museum, Keenawai’s Kitchen, Floatplane, Ancient Haida Villages

We’ll begin our Gwaii Haanas expedition with a private tour of the Haida Gwaii Museum, for an immersive introduction to the cultural history of Haida Gwaii. Tonight, we’ll be treated to a traditional Haida feast at Keenawai’s Kitchen in Skidegate. The next morning we’ll enjoy a short, scenic floatplane flight from Queen Charlotte to Cumshewa Inlet where we’ll meet the schooner, Passing Cloud to set sail for the ancient village of K’uuna Llnagaay (Skedans). Haida Watchmen will guide us through the cultural history of this ancient Haida village and introduce us to mortuary and memorial poles. We’ll continue our voyage south to the village of Taanuu Llnagaay (Tanu) and tour the remaining house depressions from this once-bustling community that was a gathering place for many villages.

Days 3–4: 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 for a chance to view marine wildlife, such as pelagic seabirds, sharks, giant ocean sunfish, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and humpback whales. 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, multicoloured bat stars, massive moon snails, decorator crabs, and nudibranchs (sea slugs). 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 5–6:  SGang Gwaay, Mortuary and Memorial Poles, Gordon Islands

We’ll visit the World UNESCO Heritage Site of SGang Gwaay, the jewel of Gwaii Haanas. Here we’ll walk through the ancient village site amongst remains of massive longhouses, and a stunning grove of standing mortuary and memorial poles. We’ll also explore the beaches, tide pools, and spectacular vistas of the Gordon Islands. Our days will be spent exploring moss-laden coastal rainforests, intricate river estuaries, intertidal zones, and coastal bog ecosystems. We’ll discover the remnants of wooden-stake fish traps dating from more than a thousand years ago, and contemplate the interconnectedness of salmon, bears, coastal rainforests, and people.

Days 7-9: Coastal Rainforest, Ancient Fish Traps, Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay), Queen Charlotte

We’ll continue on to Hlk’yah GaawGa (Windy Bay), where we’ll walk through the old-growth forest of massive cedar and spruce trees that ultimately led to the creation of Gwaii Haanas. The Haida Watchman here will share with us the story of Gwaii Haanas as told by the Legacy Pole. We cap off our day by enjoying a late afternoon sail before dinner. Make sure to keep a sharp lookout for the mammal-eating killer whales that frequent this area. This evening, our last night aboard Passing Cloud, we’ll share our highlights and reflect on all that we’ve experienced and learned over the past week. On our final day, we’ll say farewell to the Passing Cloud and crew and enjoy another short floatplane ride back to Queen Charlotte, where our expedition officially comes to an end.

Departs From/ Returns To

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte, BC

Cruise Distances

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

Duration

9 days / 8 nights

Physical Requirements

Moderate

2020 Expedition Dates and Availability

June August 2020  •  9-days / 8-nights  •  6 guests

Date

June 9-17

Price

*$6,495 CAD
10% OFF

Availability

2 Berths

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

June 17-25

Price

*$6,495 CAD
10% OFF

Availability

2 Berths

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

June 26-July 4
West Coast Explorer Series

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

July 5-13

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

July 13-21

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

2 Berths

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

July 21-29

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

July 29-August 6

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

Date

August 6-14

Price

*$6,495 CAD

Availability

WAITLIST

Starts/Ends

Sandspit/Queen Charlotte

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.

*A floatplane surcharge of $500 CAD/person will be added to select Gwaii Haanas expeditions for our fly-in/fly-out scenic De Havilland Beaver floatplane portion of the expedition.

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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