Haida Gwaii “Islands of the People”
Haida Gwaii experienced the impact of an imbalance caused by western man. In the 1800s sea otters were hunted almost to extinction. Their pelts were highly valued around the work and greed took over. In time the sea urchin population grew out of control without the sea otters to keep them in check. Later, the health of the kelp beds was affected by the overabundance of sea urchins. Nature’s balance was thrown off. Today the symbol of Haida Gwaii is the sea otter and sea urchin, a reminder to keep the ecosystem in balance. The sea otter population is now continuing to make a steady recovery.
Separated from mainland BC by Hecate Strait, and from Vancouver Island by Queen Charlotte Sound, getting to Haida Gwaii by boat requires crossing some of the Northwest’s most feared bodies of water.
Located 130 miles north of Vancouver Island and 65 miles west of the BC coast’s mainlands, Haida Gwaii offers some of the Northwest’s most spectacular cruising. Haida Gwaii, formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago of over 150 islands, best explored by boat.
Windy Bay, or Hlk’yah GaawGa, is a fair-weather anchorage used to visit the historic fishing village called Hlk’yah Llnagaay (Falcon Town). Near here in 1985, the Haida blocked logging roads in their protest to put an end to logging on Lyell Island and protect the area that became Gwaii Haanas.
Skedans (or K’uuna Llnagaay) is situated on the eastern tip of Louise Island. It faces south onto Skedans Bay from a crescent beach that forms the neck of a small peninsula. At the furthest north of all the Watchmen sites, its relative accessibility makes it one of the most often visited.
Anthony Island or SGang Gwaay, on the northwest side of Kunghit Island, is recognized worldwide as a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nan Sdins (also known as Ninstints) is a former Haida Village and a major attraction. Filled with the largest collection of original Haida heraldic and mortuary poles, Nan Sdins offers a remarkable look into the Haida culture.
Port Clements is a small town south of Masset. It has a grocery store, post office, health clinic, liquor store, restaurants, and a pub. A museum showcases the history of logging on Haida Gwaii. Local businesses offer sightseeing tours and fishing trips.
Sandspit Harbour Haida Gwaii
Open all year with guest moorage to 100 feet, pump-out, payphone, showers, washrooms, garbage drop, launch ramp and free Wi-Fi. Marina’s office hours are the same as the Fuel Dock hours listed below. This is the most modern marina in Haida Gwaii. Reservations are strongly recommended in the summer for vessels over 45 feet. Bridgeview marine for repairs is located across the road.
Tanu Island Haida Gwaii
The beautiful and haunting village of T’aanuu Llnagaay is located on the east shore of Tanu Island, on Laskeek Bay. T’aanuu means eelgrass, which commonly grows in shallow water around the village. T’aanuu Llnagaay follows the shoreline of two beaches divided by a rocky shoal.
During the summer months, Masset, the northernmost community on Haida Gwaii, is a hub of sportfishing operations. The local airport offers regular flights to Vancouver, and floatplanes run regularly from Prince Rupert.
The Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, a Protected Area, was created in 1987 and encompasses the southern third of the archipelago. The Reserve is jointly managed by the Haida and the government of Canada. It is unique in Canada, covering both inland and sea.
Thurston Harbour on Talunkwan Island is a well-protected anchorage conveniently located between the Skedans Watchmen site to the north and the Tanu Watchmen site to the south.
Queen Charlotte, on the south end of Graham Island, has many services and supplies. Groceries, restaurants, pubs, a liquor store, ATM, marine supplies, a hardware store, rental cars, lodging, a post office, and an internet cafe are available.
Hotspring Island Haida Gwaii
Hotspring Island has been one of the most popular stops in Haida Gwaii. The hot springs, located on the south side of the island, were some of the finest on the coast. A magnitude 7.7 earthquake shook the area in October of 2012 and appeared to change mother nature’s plumbing.