2009: Departure for Haida Gwaii
26 June 2009
Photo: Map of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands)
Our 2009 journey north is to the Queen Charlotte Islands, an archipelago located on the very edge of the continental shelf, north of Vancouver Island.
Tell an American that you're sailing to the Queen Charlotte Islands and we often hear, "Where are they?" Tell a Canadian, and they'll look wistful and say, "I've always wanted to go there."
Although the name on the chart is the Queen Charlotte Islands, Canadians now call the islands Haida Gwaii, land of the Haida in Haida, (the once warlike and still very artistic tribe that lives there.) The site of the Gwaii Haanas National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sgun Gwaii, people go there to see old totem poles, wildlife, sea life, and moss-draped forests of cedar and spruce. The islands' distance from civilization and the permit that's required by the Canadian Park Service ensures deserted anchorages and a true wilderness experience.
We plan to go north up east side of Vancouver Island, then around Cape Caution to the Inside Passage. Somewhere north of Bella Bella, depending on the weather, we'll turn west and head across Hecate Strait, approximately 60 miles, to reach the islands.