Situated approximately 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the northwest coast of British Columbia and often described as “the Canadian Galapagos” in reference to its endemic species found nowhere else on earth, this is truly a unique world. Giant, moss-laden trees tower above ancient Haida village sites, and the abundant marine life includes puffins, albatrosses, sunfish, jellyfish, killer whales, and humpback whales.
Through sailing, small boat excursions, interpretive walks, and kayaking, 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 some of the most significant cultural and archaeological sites, including the mortuary poles and longhouse depressions of the village of SGang Gwaay Llnagaay, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
We look forward to having you join us!
Our Gwaii Haanas expeditions take our guests on a 9-day/8-night journey through the remarkable ecosystems and wildlife, deep cultural history, and global significance of Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Protected Area, and Haida Heritage Site. Because this is such a large region, our expeditions here feature eight full days onboard to reduce our daily travel times and maximize our opportunities to explore, sail, and enjoy this globally significant protected area.
We’ll begin our Gwaii Haanas expedition when we pick you up at your accommodation in Sandspit. You will be transported by passenger van to Moresby Camp, where you’ll join up with Passing Cloud and the crew prior to setting sail for the ancient village of K’uuna Llnagaay (Skedans). There, 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.
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.
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.
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 before disembarking and travelling to Sandspit by passenger van where our expedition officially comes to an end.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 on. After these wonderful experiences, we were every day and every moment treated like Royalty. The Captain and Crew are outstanding.