Location: British Columbia, Canada
Season: July through August
Trip Length: 8 days
A sparsely-populated archipelago off the northwest coast of British Columbia, about 40 km beneath the Alaska panhandle, Haida Gwaii has been called Canada’s Galapagos for its unique ecology. The southern islands are completely protected—a joint venture between the Government of Canada and the indigenous Council of the Haida Nation—as a national park, and are blanketed in old-growth temperate rainforest. Here, bald eagles and black bears mix with puffins and porpoises in the transition zone between forest and sea. Kayakers camp in protected coves, pitching tents just off the pebbled beaches in the soft, moss-covered forest floor beneath hundreds-year-old Sitka spruce. If the winds and tides are right, it’s possible to paddle to SG̱ang Gwaay, also known as Anthony Island, and view the remains of the ancient Haida village of SG̱ang Gwaay LInagaay, complete with monumental totem poles carved of red cedar.
Expert outfitter: Not everyone can guide the waters of Haida Gwaii. It sits on the edge of North America’s continental shelf, where the ocean floor drops off 2.5 kilometers, and is subject to unpredictable, violent seas, even in the summer. Tofino Expeditions is the veteran guide in the area, with more than 30 years of experience, and a flawless record.
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