About our Trips: Mothership Kayaking Adventure Tours in Gwaii Haanas Park, Haida Gwaii
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Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve & Haida Heritage Site
Six-Day Wilderness Voyage
The trips are physically active, participatory, and flexible. Although there is a general itinerary as outlined below, we will go when and where the winds, tides and our spirits take us. There will be lots of opportunity for paddling and for hiking as well as touring through ancient Haida village sites. To participate in the activities, participants should have a moderate level of physical fitness. Good balance and reasonable agility are required to get in and out of the skiff and kayaks. Other than a good spirit and a willingness to contribute where you can, nothing is mandatory on my trips. Relaxing aboard while others kayak or go ashore is certainly not a bad option sometimes.
Aside from the physical demands, a cooperative and flexible spirit is required. The trips are not at all 'catered' - everyone is involved in all aspects of daily living on board. We share in the tasks of meal preparation, tidying up, launching kayaks, setting up camp, entertaining and taking care of each other. The building of a cohesive group is often one of the serendipitous rewards of the experience. In many ways it's the journey not the destination that makes the trip.
Although we paddle in the vicinity of the sheltered bays and inlets of our anchorages, participants should have previous paddling experience. There are courses offered in most urban centres that will provide you with the basics required to navigate your craft with safety, comfort and confidence. Although a different kettle of fish, many of the skills involved in canoeing are similar to those required to operate a kayak. Both craft require a sense of balance and a confident spirit around the water. You must always have a partner when kayaking beyond sight of the vessel. In other words, you may kayak alone, but only within sight of the mothership. Parks Canada has introduced new regulations governing mothership kayaking activities. In a nutshell:
- All kayaks must meet Transport Canada regulations.
- Each group of kayakers travelling together will carry a radio transceiver in good working order which is equipped with marine emergency channels.
- Each group will carry marine charts of the area of travel.
- Each group will carry a first aid kit.
- A communications protocol will be in place to ensure that the clients are aware of check-in and emergency communications procedures.
- The Captain of the mothership will be responsible for instructing the clients in the location and appropriate use of emergency equipment, including radio.
- The Captain of the mothership will be responsible for ensuring provision for responding to a client in distress.
See more on our kayaking page.
Hiking possibilities vary from a short three hour return trip to pristine lakes to an all day excursion into the alpine meadows of the St. Christoval Range. I must admit I haven't been able to drum up much interest in the latter in the last few years although the rewards on a clear day are well worth the effort.
Brief descriptions of the Haida heritage sites and others jewels in the Gwaii Haanas treasure chest are provided in our Gwaii Haanas page (specifically Heritage Sites and Attractions ).
Outside of the village sites there are few trails. Although some bushwhacking is required the hiking destination sites, carefully chosen to suit the interest and ability of guests, are always well worth the effort. Although I hope that everybody will enjoy the focus on physical activities, relaxing on board is not a bad option! In the abandoned villages we are required to stay on well-defined trails in order to maintain the integrity of the sites.
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