Access to Haida Gwaii is only available through licensed tour operators. We had a catalog from Tofino Expeditions from a number of years back after we had visited the Galapagos. I wanted to find a tour operator to go with in case we wished to return. In the catalog there was a photo of a bay with colorful sea stars on the bottom of the shallow water. For the next eleven years, we held on to that catalog and finally our trip became reality.
The paddling was sometimes in soft calm water and sometimes in rough waves. Some of the days were long days and others were an afternoon exploration. Every day that we were on the water we encountered sea birds and occasionally we saw sea lions or seals. One day there were several of the people in our group that saw orcas in the distance. The weather was colder than I had expected for July but we had brought many layers. Only two of the days did we get to paddle part of the day without a paddling jacket. In the rougher water the jacket served its purpose of keeping us dry for the most part.
The landscape reminded us of Acadia Park in Maine. The rough rocky coastline grew quickly into forested hills and mountains. Once on land, the differences between the two places were apparent but if you enjoy Acadia, we believe you would love Gwaii Haanas.
The route for the tour we went on travels north to south one week, then south to north the next week, and continues to go back and forth for the season. For this reason alone it is best not to take the itinerary in the catalog too seriously. It gives an overall adventure including poles at Ninstints and Burnaby Narrows which are two places the trip strives to visit, but the way the days are broken up as well as the order of them may vary due to weather as well as which direction your tour takes. The trip was more than we could have ever expected and it was an absolute joy to visit Gwaii Haanas with Tofino Expeditions.