Everyone who’s been to Haida Gwaii loves it, and everyone who knows of Haida Gwaii wants to go. Why? Because the land is spectacular, the people are friendly, and it’s not that easy to get to (in the best possible way).
Haida Gwaii’s remoteness makes it desirable; to get there you can either fly, or take a fifteen-hour ferry departing from Vancouver Island, or a seven-hour ferry from Prince Rupert. We made the trek from Prince Rupert, and even though it was cold and damp on the deck, we bundled up and headed outside. We saw a few whales, which looked tiny in comparison to the great expanses of grey-blue ocean.
The majority of people on Haida Gwaii live between Queen Charlotte City and Masset, with the southern, sacred islands of Gwaii Haanas accessible only by boat. The total population is less than 5000, and the people are laid back and welcoming. The communities on Haida Gwaii are small, at times a bit whimsical, and genuinely quaint; there are simply too few tourists for anyone to bother putting on a show.
The island is everything I love about the west coast – eagles overhead, endless views of the ocean, and plenty of rocky shores on which to clamber. We found ourselves a waterfront site at Haydn Turner Campground, just south of Queen Charlotte City.
It’s completely unsupervised - we were allowed to wander in, pick our site, and pay by dropping $10 into a wooden box at the entrance when we left. See? Laid back.
The day after we arrived, we went to the Farmers Market, a tiny yet impressive affair held on Saturday mornings.
There was plenty of fresh produce, lots of baking (my favourite part of any market), honey, fresh goat cheese, teas, and truckloads of firewood. Everything was produced by farmers or local artisans, and the market was busy with people shopping and socializing.
We spent four nights and three glorious days running around Haida Gwaii – watch for upcoming posts about our adventures!