HAIDA GWAII – Land of the People – is Canada’s most westerly point and includes more than 150 islands in the North Pacific Ocean west of Prince Rupert and 700 km north of Vancouver. Over 13,000 years the Haida people have inhabited more than 100 village sites. Named the Queen Charlotte Islands after colonial arrivals in the 1700s this beautiful archipelago was rightly named Haida Gwaii again in the past decade. Known as the Misty Islands they are on many personal travel bucket lists.
The two main islands – Moresby and Graham – are home to about 4,500 residents of which half are of Haida descent. The major communities include Sandspit, Queen Charlotte City, Skidegate, Tlell, Port Clements, Masset and Old Massett and we visit all of them on our tour. There are airports at both Sandspit and Masset.
The Haida are legendary for their well-developed and famous culture, love of their home, fierce defenders of their destiny, superb artisans and close relationship to the natural world. About half of the Haida live off the Islands in many places including Prince Rupert, Alaska, Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland.
Day 1 Monday Arrival Sandspit on Moresby Island
Our 5 Day Haida Gwaii tour starts with your arrival in Sandspit on Moresby Island on Monday on the Air Canada flight from Vancouver. After introductions, a briefing at the airport, and check-in at the community-owned Sandspit Inn, we tour the area and local sights in a comfortable van. The optional West Coast Sightseeing Flight will be in the afternoon. We make new friends at our Welcome Reception followed by supper and an engaging local history presentation.
Day 2 Tuesday Graham Island and Queen Charlotte City
The next day we take a short BC Ferry journey to Graham Island and Queen Charlotte City. We visit historic Skidegate and the spectacular Haida Gwaii Kay Linagaay Museum and Heritage Centre for a briefing, private pole tour and gift shop. We meet some colourful locals after lunch and tour the largest non-Haida community on the islands. That evening we enjoy the fabulous Haida cuisine and hospitality of Roberta Olsen at her Kennawaii kitchen.
Day 3 Wednesday Taan Forestry Operations Golden Spruce Trail
After breakfast, we visit the Taan Forest Office to learn about their certified forestry operations followed by a stop at Haida artist Ben Davidson’s All About U Gallery. We then head to the Golden Spruce Trail with its magnificent old growth forest adjacent to the Yakoun River, Haida Gwaii’s largest waterway. The great little Port Clements museum tops off the day. We then enjoy a full course supper at Haida House in Tlell and travel north to Massett for two nights.
Day 4 Thursday Massett – Sitka Gallery, Naikoon Park, North Beaches
On Thursday morning we visit the Sitka Gallery and Richardson farm and enjoy a gourmet lunch along the way to the spectacular views in Naikoon Provincial Park. We visit the awesome new Hiellen village pole by Christian White and take the boardwalk to the old volcano at Tow Hill where we can see Alaska and the beautiful North beaches.
That evening we enjoy our farewell reception at the Massett Hotel.
Day 5 Friday Old Massett and Depart to Vancouver
Our final day includes a visit to the Delkatla wildlife reserve, a famous Haida artist’s carving shed in Old Massett and a final gift shop before we fly home to Vancouver on the afternoon Pacific Coastal flight.
Our tour is led by Bill Dumont, a retired professional forester and experienced guide who lived on Haida Gwaii and maintains friendships there. Bill has completed many local and international tours including South Africa, California, Oregon, New Zealand, England and various locations in British Columbia. His guests consistently rate his tour at better than 9 out of 10 for content, arrangements and value of money.
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And have a look at some of the photos from our 2018 tours: Haida Gwaii 2018