Haida Gwaii /Queen Charlotte Islands (8 or 9 days)
Small boat cruise aboard Island Roamer/Odyssey
The Island Roamer is a custom 68-foot ketch, launched in 1983. The boat's design, safety and comfort make her perfect for these trips. She features 8 private cabins (double occupancy), 3 heads with hot showers, a large comfortable lounge with an extensive library, and a well-equipped galley. On deck, the large covered seating area provides protection in all types of weather. The Island Roamer is large enough for comfort, privacy and safety, and small enough to create a good rapport among passengers and crew. A certified Canadian Ministry of Transport passenger vessel, Island Roamer has all of the safety equipment, electronic navigation aids, and features you would expect from a vessel of her standard. All of our cabins have adequate storage space for your bags, personal items and jackets. Coat hangers and life jackets are stowed in every cabin for your convenience. There is electricity in each room, so you can charge your camera batteries and enjoy a reading light in the evening.
Haida Gwaii is home to some remarkable 'old-growth' forests with giant stands of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, red and yellow cedar. The coastal rain forests of the Pacific Northwest hold the largest accumulation of biomass (living matter) on the planet, even more than tropical rain forests. The forest floors are deeply carpeted with hundreds of species of mosses, salal bushes, huckleberry, and ferns. One of the fascinating ecological aspects is that the alpine zone almost reaches the ocean in many areas here.
This is a fabulous area with over 100 islands, beautiful forested creek walks, rugged exposed headlands, and protected passageways between towering mountains. Theories suggest that parts of Haida Gwaii escaped the last ice age, forming a glacier refuge for certain forms of plant and animal life. How else to explain the presence of plant species found nowhere else in the world, and noticeably different sub-species of bird, fish and mammal? The Charlottes provide a remarkable evolutionary showcase - thus, their description as the “Canadian Galapagos”. A small-ship cruise through the Queen Charlotte Islands allows guests to get up close to nature. Haida Gwaii is home to some remarkable 'old-growth' forests with giant stands of Sitka spruce, western hemlock, red and yellow cedar. The coastal rain forests of the Pacific Northwest - reaching a zenith in these islands - hold the largest accumulation of biomass (living matter) on the planet, even more than tropical rain forests. The forest floors are deeply carpeted with hundreds of species of mosses, salal bushes, huckleberry, and ferns. One of the fascinating ecological aspects is that the alpine zone almost reaches the ocean in many areas here.
Tidal changes of up to 23 feet between high and low tide create remarkably rich shoreline marine life. A highlight of the Gwaii Haanas/ South Moresby region is Burnaby Narrows, a 150 foot wide channel connecting the waters of Juan Perez Sound and Skincuttle Inlet. With our naturalist we explore intertidal areas to find many varieties of sea stars, giant barnacles, mussels, clams, snails, urchins, crabs, sponges, chitons, sea cucumbers, nudibranchs and a wealth of other colourful and interesting creatures. We often float through the shallow waters observing the variety of life just beneath the surface. Sail the Queen Charlotte Islands and tour the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. These 8 or 9 day eco-tour adventures in British Columbia through Gwaii Haanas are emotional journeys through a past full of rich history.
The ancient Haida sites are powerful places, and the wildlife showcases how truly unique and diverse the BC coast is. Come aboard on the Island Roamer for an adventure through the isles of Gwaii Haanas and experience diverse wilderness and wildlife on our nature cruise.
You will be met at Sandspit Airport by your trip guide. After dropping your bags at the Sandspit Inn, and having rooms assigned you will be taken by charter bus to the ferry landing and across to Skidegate on Graham Island. Please make sure you have appropriate items for the afternoon activities, including sturdy footwear, a water bottle and a rain jacket, if necessary. Activities for the day include a visit to the Haida Gwaii Museum, renowned for its collection of Haida artifacts, and the new Qay’llnagaay Centre with its six new totem poles. You may walk a local trail to learn about local flora and their native use. On the first evening you will be hosted by a Skidegate family to a traditional Haida dinner. After dinner, return to Sandspit and overnight at a local Bed & Breakfast.
After breakfast , a taxi will pick you up at 10:00 am to transport you to Moresby Camp, where you board ‘Island Roamer’. Upon boarding there will be introductions, a safety orientation and cabin assignment before venturing into the Gwaii Haanas/South Moresby wilderness.
Days 3 to 8
Spend time exploring the eastern and southern shores of Moresby Island. Daily activities include wildlife watching, shore excursions to explore beautiful forested creek walks, ancient Haida villages and perhaps exploring the shoreline by kayak. Visit SGaang Gwaii (Ninstints) which has been designated as a United Nations World Heritage Site. Stop at Hotspring Island for a warm, soothing, relaxing dip. Each evening you will anchor in a different secluded spot in time for slide shows and discussions on the wildlife sightings encountered during the day. The daily itinerary is flexible to meet group interests, weather patterns and to take full advantage of wildlife sightings.
Guests will disembark at approximately 8:00 am from 'Island Roamer' at Moresby Camp and be transferred by charter bus to Sandspit Airport. The trip by bus takes about one hour. You can expect to be in Sandspit in time to take the morning departing flight to Vancouver. If you are not flying to Vancouver you can make easy connections to ferries or rent a car and continue your holiday in the Queen Charlotte Islands.