Just how fit do I need to be for these boat trips?
While you don't have to be an athlete to go on our tours, these are wilderness adventures on small open boats, so there are a few key points to consider - like boat travel, unpredictable weather and walking on unmaintained trails - that will help you to be sure that this mode of travel is right for you. If you have doubts about your ability to participate in any aspect of the tour, we suggest that you consider the day tour instead of the multi-day options. Also feel free to contact us, and we can help you decide if this is right for you or give you other options. Remember that Gwaii Haanas is a wilderness area far from any hospital, so be honest with yourself and with us about any health conditions or fitness concerns that you might have.
On the Zodiac, as on any speedboat, there can be bouncing and jarring depending on weather conditions. The bumpy ride can go on for an hour or more. Imagine yourself riding a horse, or sitting in a vehicle with poor suspension as it goes down a bumpy road. Are your back and neck up to the challenge?
Regardless of which tour you are on, each day typically includes a few walks over rough, unmaintained trails or gravelly, rocky beaches. There are many tripping hazards and slippery spots. We don't do any major hiking, but walks can be a few kilometers long. To test out your ability to do these walks, try going for a 2 km walk over a un-hardened trail or through a field. If you find this very tiring, you may not enjoy the tour.
Getting on and off the boat
Getting on and off the boat: One of the biggest challenges of each day is getting on and off the boat. Getting off requires some agility and arm strength as you lower yourself over the bow until your feet touch down. To get back on, we provide a step or a boost, but you will need to be able to step up with all your weight on one leg and clamber onto the bow, at waist- to chest-level.
Here is a test to see how hard it will be to get on the boat: Find a sturdy kitchen chair and have someone steady it. Place one foot on the chair and, holding your assistant's shoulder for support, stand up onto the chair using just the strength of one leg. If you find this easy, the boat shouldn't be a problem. If you need some help, or find it difficult, you will still be able to manage the boat but it may be somewhat challenging. If you are not able to stand up (either because of lack of leg strength or inflexible joints) we do not recommend a Zodiac trip, as you will probably find it exhausting and somewhat embarrassing to be hauled on and off the boat by your guide and fellow passengers.
Temperatures: The ride on the Zodiac can be very cold, since you are sitting (not generating much body heat) and there is a constant cold wind, and often rain, blowing by you. If you have circulatory disorders or conditions that are aggravated by cold, you should consider whether you will enjoy a tour that takes place in an open boat. Also check out the instructions on how to dress and what to bring in the tour package.
We offer three different styles of zodiac tours over the course of the summer.
This full-day trip takes you all the way around Louise Island, and includes a visit to the ancient Haida village site of K'uuna (Skedans). Louise Island is rich with history, and is also a great area to learn about the ecology and environment of Haida Gwaii, both terrestrial and marine.
This tour explores the northern half of Gwaii Haanas and the Louise Island area, with an overnight at our floating lodge. We stop at several important Haida cultural sites, and fill out our days with a mix of Haida cultural history, pioneer history, marine ecology, and beautiful scenery.
This tour takes you all the way to the remote southern end of Gwaii Haanas, and includes a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of SGaang Gwaay (Ninstints). We also explore other cultural sites, visit hidden bays and inlets, and search for wildlife. Overnights at our floating lodge and Rose Harbour Guesthouse make for a relaxing pace.