Reply To: Haida gwaii

Nick Heath

I concur with others here. In approx 2005 I and 3 intermediate level companions paddled for 12 days in SE Moresby I. My info is likely out of date.  Moresby Explorers were excellent – dropped us at Ross I and picked us up at Kunga I. Since then, the company has changed hands, but I’ve heard they are still v. good. Their rental gear is fine and unless you drive there (a time waster) you’ll need some of their gear in addition to a boat – such as stove fuel, flares & bear spray, which cannot go on a plane.

Assuming that orientation is still mandatory, you should do the Parks Canada orientation here in the lower mainland – offerings for yachties in spring usually – rather than waste a day while there.  A trip of less than a week seems insufficient time.

Camping opportunities are excellent. Unless you join the mob at Raspberry Cove, you probably won’t need to share any campsite.  Haida Watchmen in the various former village sites are v good but they are not tour guides so do you own preparation to better understand what you are looking at. I recommend pre-reading and copying bits from Haida Monumental Art: Villages of the Queen Charlotte Islands Paperback – Jan. 1 1983 by George F. MacDonald. It’s too big and expensive to carry in a kayak.

VHF radio communication is essential to establish landing permissions and to communicate with your pickup crew. To be reasonably sure of them working, each crew member should carry one, plus a PLB for emergencies. I wouldn’t trust the VHF for an emergency there – I got no outside contact in many locations and the Parks Canada much-touted repeaters did not work.

Water conditions will vary. We had unexpected rough conditions in Houston Stewart Channel, plus the usual wind, fog etc. In early July, it rained heavily every day except one and there were 4 separate storm fronts transiting from the SW, but your weather could be lovely and it will be mostly a matter of luck. All we carried became rather damp after 5 days or so…

Every paddler should do this trip!