Our tours are an opportunity to escape to an uncrowded, peaceful setting, and to learn about Haida Gwaii and Gwaii Haanas from local residents with local knowledge and passion. We welcome individuals, couples, families, friends – anyone who wants an active, fun and hands-on experience. We also only book up to six guests and this means that we are more flexible and can design tours around what you want to do. We appreciate that beach walks, hikes and tours of village sites are more enjoyable in smaller groups.
On our tours there is no retracing your steps. We fly guests in or out of Rose Harbour (located at the southern tip of the archipelago), travelling on MV Atlas in one direction through Gwaii Haanas. As a result, there is more time to stop and explore, fish, visit and have adventures. You also see where you’ve been (or where you are going) by air – an amazing perspective and ideal way to begin or end your trip.
Atlas is fully stocked with tasty, scrumptious food for main meals and snacks. We enjoy fresh seafood, locally-grown produce, and delicious deserts prepared by island bakers. Guests often help catch and prepare food (sous-chef duties only) and clean-up. This participatory approach means that we all work as a team, and it regularly results in delicious dishes and great friendships.
One evening is spent ashore in Rose Harbour, site of a former whaling station on Kunghit Island, and the jumping off point for SGang Gwaay Llnagaay (Anthony Island, Ninstints). We are hosted in the cosy cottage of Susan Cohen for a dinner you will never forget. Susan’s garden impresses even the most accomplished gardeners and memorable meals at her home are always a culinary delight.
Our guests generally have a reasonable level of physical fitness and are agile enough to comfortably board a skiff and kayak. For those who are keen hikers, there are also opportunities for adventure in the Gwaii Haanas backcountry. There are very few established trails however, and hikes can be physically demanding because bushwhacking is generally required. Our approach is to tread lightly and adapt hikes based on local weather and forest conditions. We also gauge group interest in this kind of activity and plan accordingly.
We also love to fish. In Gwaii Haanas there are areas that are closed to protect sensitive habitats and protect fish stocks. In this way the land and sea are protected, and this is what makes Gwaii Haanas special in the world. It also helps maintain a healthy ocean ecosystem for all to enjoy and benefit from. Outside of these areas, however, there are many local spots where we can catch halibut, salmon, crabs, prawns or other ocean delicacies. We are happy to help guests learn how to catch seafood in a respectful and responsible manner.
For guests who are keen on freshly caught seafood, we ask that you bring a valid Fisheries and Oceans recreational (saltwater) fishing license. The cost of our trips does not include fish caught by Atlas crew due to Fisheries and Oceans regulations. But we’re happy to help you try your hand at fishing, and if you catch anything tasty, we can share it together.
Of course, vegetarians are always welcome and provided for. We able to accommodate most allergies and/or food preferences – please just let us know when you book with us. We also have a selection of white and red wine but our cellar is not endless. If you have a favourite wine (or enjoy beer or spirits) you are welcome to bring them along. Our policy is to allow alcohol consumption in moderation once the anchor is down and we are safely settled for the evening.
For quieter moments aboard MV Atlas, our onboard library will likely have something for you to enjoy. You will find numerous books on the natural and cultural history of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida art and stories, and fictional and non-fictional literature about the islands. We also have a number of field guides for birds, marine mammals and fish, intertidal species, and other plants and animals for your use and reference. And if you just want a little light holiday reading, we will dig up something for you to escape with.