This is our most challenging tour and thus we require participants to have prior kayaking experience. As these tours are more expeditionary in nature, we operate as a smaller group (six guests, two guides), paddle longer each day, and leave the itinerary flexible to deal with the dynamic environment we will be traveling in.
Day 1: Plan to be in Port McNeil the night before the trip departs, as there is an 8:00 pm pre-trip meeting with your guides at the Haida-Way Inn. We’ll provide you with an overview for your trip, distribute dry-bags to pack your gear in, and answer any questions you may have.
Day 2: Meeting at 8:00 am in the lobby of the Haida-Way Inn, we’ll load up our van and head out to meet our water taxi. The boat leaves promptly, so please ensure that you’ve checked out and had breakfast by this time. Vehicles and extra bags can be left at the motel – just ask at the front desk. It’s a quick 25-minute drive up to Port Hardy, where we’ll board our water taxi for transport.
The hour-long ride takes us to our campsite at Shelter Bay, where we’ll settle in. The guides will provide a site orientation and paddle briefing, and you’ll have time to set up your tents. The first day is generally spent getting familiarized with the camp, practicing your strokes in sheltered waters, and settling in before heading out for a short afternoon paddle.
Meals Included: Lunch - Dinner
Days 3 to 8: As this trip is run ‘expedition’ style, we leave our itinerary very open to ensure our flexibility. This is a beautiful area to paddle, but we must work with the conditions and remain open to adventure. Each day, your guides will assess the weather, tides, and sea state to determine the destination for the day. Flexibility is key.
We’ll explore the mainland coast for at least half the trip, heading up towards the sandy beaches of Burnett Bay and the rugged headland of Cape Caution. Along the way, we’ll try to paddle through Nakwakto Rapids (BC’s fastest tidal rapid) at slack tide when the water calms. Gray whales are commonly seen at the mouth of Schooner Channel, and colourful inter-tidal creatures abound.
Returning along the coast, we’ll check weather conditions and island hop across Queen Charlotte Strait to our final objective, the Gordon Group. Here, we can explore the myriad of islands, complete with first nations middens, historic homesteads, and fantastic intertidal life. Our water taxi will pick us up here.
As this is a nomadic tour, camp is usually moved each night. We may have an opportunity to stay in place for two nights, conditions allowing. On these ‘expedition style’ trips, we generally paddle several hours more each day than on our regular tours, and while we operate to the highest of safety standards, we will also paddle in more challenging conditions. Swell, wind, and open water crossings are common. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 9: Our voyage comes to an end; we linger over a leisurely breakfast, snap a few last photographs, and take a short paddle before packing up. After lunch, we load up the water taxi and head back to civilization. Arrival time at the Haida-Way Inn is approximately 4:00 PM.
We usually arrive back in Port McNeil in enough time for you to fly out of Port Hardy or catch a late ferry back to the mainland, but delays do happen. We suggest that our guests spend the last night in Port McNeil, enjoy the hot showers, and slowly transition out of vacation mode. Most guests choose this, and we often get together for a no-host farewell dinner at the Haida-Way Inn. Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch.
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Canada British Columbia Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting Wildlife Viewing
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