Haida Gwaii Sea Kayak Trip 2011

Woman relaxes in hot spring at Hot Springs Island, Haida Gwaii, BC Canada

Woman relaxes in hot spring at Hot Springs Island, Haida Gwaii, BC Canada

In the summer of 2011 Larry Olson and I did a 3-week sea kayak trip along the shores of Haida Gwaii.  Larry's fascination with Haida Gwaii began more than 25 years ago when, as a young sea kayaker, he began to dream of paddling her waters. Remote, wild, and relatively undiscovered, the islands represent a lifetime destination for the experienced paddler. Haida Gwaii’s location in the North Pacific makes it difficult to reach so visitor numbers are relatively low as compared to other Canadian gems. Add to this dangerous waters, unpredictable weather and a very short summer season and we were among a small number of sea kayakers and sailboaters who made the effort to visit Haida Gwaii that summer.

Kayaker paddles through thick sea fog at Skincuttle Inlet.

Kayaker paddles through thick sea fog at Skincuttle Inlet.

A week into the trip we decided to attempt a 3-mile crossing of Skincuttle Inlet.  Stepping out of the tent that morning a thick sea fog and eerie silenced surrounded us. We could barely make out shoreline only 50 feet in the distance. As luck would have it, we had used our compass to set a bearing to our destination the night before. 130 degrees would get us to our desired destination. 10 degrees off this bearing and we’d be in danger of missing the point altogether and drifting into the dangerous waters of Hecate Strait.  An hour later, with no weather change in sight, we glued our eyes to the compass and pushed off into the milky abyss.

Gem-like green eel grass in a British Columbia , Pacific Ocean tide pool.

Gem-like green eel grass in a British Columbia , Pacific Ocean tide pool.

At Hot Springs Island, it came as no surprise that this island was a spiritual site of the Haida people. From our perch above the tide line we gazed toward snow-capped peaks cloaked in shifting fog layers and small islands graced the dappled water as far as one could see.

Excerpt from Celine Fitzmaurice's Haida Gwaii story. For more photographic adventures, visit my blog. Larry

Kayakers camp on the shores of Haida Gwaii.

Kayakers camp on the shores of Haida Gwaii.


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