Kayak Rentals, Transportation and Outfitting
If you are planning a kayak trip in Gwaii Haanas, this is a great place to start. After twenty years of transporting independent kayakers around the Gwaii Haanas area, we have put together what we think are the four best itineraries. These are not guided tours, they are only suggested trips. For details click on the links below. For useful trip planning information and transport schedule, scroll down.Northern Half - 8 Days
Southern Half - 8 Days
Southern Two Thirds - 10 Days
Gwaii Haanas End to End - 15 Days
Please read all the information below the schedule. This will help you understand how to get to the islands, transport your camp stoves on Air Canada, understand the weather, tides, camping arrangements, register with Parks Canada, and other useful information.
During July and August, we have no minimums on our Tuesday and Friday scheduled runs! In May, June and September there will be a 5 person minimum. If there are less than 5 people in your group we will try our best to match others to your dates. Flexibility and booking early always helps. For other dates not listed below, please Contact Us.
2013 Transport PricesAll prices are one-way and in Canadian Dollars
Transit times listed below are approximate and do not include stops for wildlife, loading/unloading guests and gear along the way or weather/tide delays. Actual travel time may be much longer.
2013 Transportation Schedule
How to get to SandspitBy Ferry
There is ferry service from Prince Rupert (a 20 hour drive from Vancouver) to the Queen Charlottes (6 hours) as well as ferry service from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert (15 hours). These ferries get very busy so try to book as far in advance as possible, especialy if you are taking a vehicle. Visit www.BCFerries.ca for more information.
After you arrive on the Charlottes, you will need to take another small ferry from Skidegate Landing (where the ferry from Prince Rupert docks) to Alliford Bay (20 minutes) where you will need to drive for about 15 minutes to Sandspit. If you are walking on the ferry you will need to call a taxi to meet you at Alliford Bay. Sandspit Taxi's phone number is 250-637-5655.
West Coast Resorts
Air Canada Jazz
Camping Stoves on Air Canada Jazz ....Fuel Tanks / Cells
Phone the Gwaii Haanas office in Skidegate (1-877-559-8818) (from overseas 1-250-559-8818) and make a reservation. In the busy season (July and August) spaces are limited so make the booking as soon as possible. The system opens April 01. They may also collect the user fee at this time. Because the system opens so late this year, you can phone them early and be put on a priority list. Six walk in spaces are made available daily for those that don't have reservations. Fees are subject to change but should be similar to those listed in the following table.
They will ask you when you would like to do the mandatory Orientation session. Anybody who hasn't done the orientation in the last three years must do it. If you will be in Queen Charlotte/Skidegate area (Graham Island) you can take the orientation at the Parks office in Skidegate. If you are staying in Sandspit, you can take the orientation free of charge at our office (Moresby Explorers, 365 Beach Rd., Sandspit). Please be sure to book the orientation in advance.
Experience is nessesary - Although some trips are more sheltered than others, you must have prior experience with kayak expeditions on the ocean. Gwaii Haanas, as well as the rest of the Queen Charlottes, are not a beginner kayaker destination. These waters are some of the most advanced in Canada. If you don't feel like you are ready for this type of trip, you may want to join a guided kayak tour.
Weather - Weather on the Queen Charlottes is very unpredictable. We have no prevailing wind direction and there is no particular time of day which is usually windy or calm. In the summer, about 40% of the wind comes from the South East (low pressure system) bringing rain, about 40% comes from the North West (high pressure system) bringing sun, and about 20% comes from other directions between systems. Because of all the bays and inlets the wind seems to come from all directions no matter what the weather report tells you. Environment Canada gives a marine weather report every 6 hours with a 24 hour forecast and a guess at the next few days. Here is a link to Environment Canada's weather for the Queen Charlottes. One of the biggest weather hazards is the speed with which the weather changes. It can be flat calm and in a few minutes the wind and waves pick up to dangerous levels. It can be flat on one side of a point and quite rough on the other.
Tides - The Queen Charlottes have some of the biggest tides in the world. In 6 hours the tide can change up to 7.5 meters or 25 feet. Large tide differences mean you must be careful your gear is above the high tide (usually higher at night than in the day) when you camp. In general the tide rises from South to North (or in Huston Stuart Channel from West to East) and falls from North to South (East to West in Huston Stewart), but in inlets and channels direction can change even at mid flow. Currents will be strongest where the water has to go around a point, over a shallow section or through a narrow channel. Most of the dangerous current situations arise around an exposed point when the wind and tide are going in opposite directions, creating standing waves. A few of worst areas to watch out for are (from North to South): Dodge and Fuller Points, Scudder Point, Deluge Point, Benjamin Point and all of the Huston Stuart Channel.
Camping - Camping in the park is generally unrestricted and will remain so if we look after the sites. No camping is allowed at Skedans, Tanu, Hot Springs, in the vicinity of Burnaby Narrows, or on Anthony Island (Skaang Gwaii). Several ecological reserves are off limit also. This information will be included in the Parks Orientation. There are lots of good sites throughout the area.
Water - Water is generally available on Moresby Island but can be scarce out on the smaller islands. Look for the small creeks on the charts; usually there will be water but you may have to walk up the creek a bit. It is recommended that you filter, boil or treat the water, although many people take their chances and just drink it. The choice is yours.
Groceries - Sandspit has a good grocery store, usually open from 9:30am to 6pm Mon to Sat, and short hours on Sunday. They have a reasonable selection but it is quite a bit more expensive than Vancouver. Fresh produce comes in once a week - selection and freshness decrease through the week. Specialty items might not be available. You can call them at (250) 637-2249 if you wish to check their stock.
Further Information - If you have read all the information above as well as the details for the trip you want to take and you still have unanswered questions, don't hesitate to Contact Us.
Now you're ready to go - Moresby Explorers will pick you up at your accommodations (we suggest the Seaport!) at about 7:30am, weather permitting, and drive for an hour to a rec site called Moresby Camp at the head of Cumshewa Inlet. Here we load the gear into our Zodiacs and head south. Enjoy!!
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